Augustin Gattinger was born in Munich, Bavaria in 1825. After he attended the University of Munich to study medicine, he was asked to leave the university and the country because of his involvement with a student organization inspired by George Washington that asked for a more liberal government. With his wife, who was an artist, he fled to America where he lived in East Tennessee as a surgeon. On the eve of the Civil War, Gattinger, a supporter of a united country, traveled to Cleveland and became an assistant surgeon for the United States Army. After his term as an army surgeon ended, Gattinger was appointed the Tennessee State Librarian and worked from 1864-69, adding many works of botany, geology, and philosophy. Gattinger used the Tennessee Railroad, which permitted him to use it for travel anywhere in the state, to research botany and form plant collections. After the 1877 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science he began writing publications, including Flora of the Southern States, published in 1901, and Flora of Tennessee, published 1887, based off of his collections. He collected enough plants to fill the largest herbarium in the South at the time before he died in 1899.
The name of Gattinger was awarded to Mountain Lake’s designated Tennessee cottage. A large group of people recommended the name, including L. R. Hesler, a Professor of Botany from The University of Tennessee, Wilbur K. Butts and Eleanor McGilliard from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, H. M. Jennison, Professor of Botany from The University of Tennessee, and Jeannette Moore King, an old family friend, from Fanning Orphan School in Nashville.