A Rich History of Hospitality

During the Civil War our corner of East 10th Street was home not to a hotel, but to Fort James, a large stone fort that protected Chattanoogans in those years of strife.

Decades later, during the city’s Dynamo of Dixie boom, German immigrant L.A. Hirtzfield was commissioned to design a 16-bed hotel. The Colonial Hotel opened in 1909, and later became the Stone Fort Inn, harkening back to its historical past.

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A Rich History of Hospitality

While the name has changed over the course of a century, the brick-and-limestone structure stood through the Roaring 20s and the Great Depression, Civil Rights movements and Cultural Revolutions, hippies and disco. And, of course, Chattanooga’s struggles and successes and very own renaissance.

As the hotel has changed hands, its face has changed too, along with the furniture, décor, curtains and rugs. What has remained are the spirit and character, the charming quirks and creaky floors. Our mid-century modern reinterpretation of the space has ushered in color and life, with a touch of old Hollywood glam, to playfully mingle and contrast with its historic allure. While we’ve reimagined the old hotel, its foundation is still here, beautifully intact, and we plan to keep it that way.

Meet Our Staff

  • Seija Ojanpera

    Seija Ojanpera


    Seija is a traveler at heart, and she fulfilled a lifelong dream when she opened The Dwell Hotel in 2016. Driven by a profound appreciation for luxurious comfort and functional, beautiful design, she single-handedly reimagined one of Chattanooga's most charming and historic spaces. The result: a hotel, restaurant and cocktail bar that set a new standard for sophisticated hospitality.

    Seija has worked in the service industry, in one capacity or another, since she was 15. Her professional background spans many roles and many regions,  from Costa Rica to New York to Italy. Her love of adventure is equal only to her love of Chattanooga, and she's thrilled to invest her experience and passion into this corner of the city for many years to come.

  • L'Erin Chidester

    L'Erin Chidester

    Hotel Manager

    Affectionately known as the "house mom," L'Erin oversees the operations of The Dwell Hotel and is here to make your stay a memorable one.   She has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, including eight years spent at the former Stone Fort Inn. L'Erin is an expert event planner and a manager in the truest sense of the word, ensuring that our staff and services exceed the expectations of every guest, every day.  This place would not be the same without her love and passion for this business, and specifically this place.  

  • Hardin Wade Cowan, Jr.

    Hardin Wade Cowan, Jr.


    A native Chattanoogan with a worldly palate, Chef Hardin brings years of culinary experience to diners at Terra Mae. After studying at New York City's International Culinary Center, he worked for almost a decade in the city. He has served as the Chef at Terra Mae since the restaurant's inception in 2012, and he led the development of every recipe on the current menu, which will shift seasonally. His style: hip classic French with a Southern flare and a knack for pushing the envelope.

  • Emily Cornish

    Emily Cornish

    Restaurant & Event Manager


    Food and wine can transport your mind to an exotic location without leaving your hometown. Emily believes a meal with good friends, laughter, and fine wine is the best way to celebrate life. From New York City to the Beverly Hills Hotel, she has spent her life refining her craft for service and palate for wine. As Sommolier and General Manager of the restaurant, Emily's goal is to lead Terra Máe into the future with impeccable service and style.  As our event manager, she awaits your call to curate your memorable occasion through food, drink, and ambience.  


Our Brands

Find Us

120 E. 10th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402


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