Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Focus on Highland Park/Ridgedale: Chattanooga's Historic Neighborhoods

Bounded by Holtzclaw and Willow, McCallie and Main, Highland Park surrounds Tennessee Temple University. Several Temple Alumni and home restorers have been fixing up these houses over the late 1990's and early 2000's. The bulk of the homes on Chamberlain and Duncan have been renovated, nearly as many on Bailey and Union have been restored. These homes command a premium price, particularly those with original historic details. The Highland Park Neighborhood Association sponsors a tour of homes each year. The neighborhoods of Highland Park, Ridgedale, Oak Grove, Orchard Knob & Bushtown are often collectively referred to by Chattanoogans as Highland Park.

Bordered by Willow, Missionary Ridge, McCallie & Main, Ridgedale was originally conceived as an addition to Highland Park but it has now evolved into its own individual neighborhood complete with its own nighborhood association. The residential area between Dodds Avenue, Missionary Ridge, Main & 23rd Streets are also part of Ridgedale.

Tentative plans for a new park at the border between Highland Park & Ridgedale neighborhoods are currently being considered.

Although the Victorian was the most popular design for much of Highland Park's building period, the Four Square and Bungalow designs are the hallmarks of the Highland Park neighborhood. Many homes share a Craftsman or what I call a "transitional Craftsman" style, meaning that there are Craftsman elements without necessarily having all the elements of a true Craftsman home.

The heyday of this area was between its original development in the late 1800's, early 1900's and the 1950's. Urban blight and the demographic move to the suburbs claimed the Highland Park area as a victim. Crime increased and many of the once proud homes were subdivided into multi-family rentals. In the early 1990's, as many Chattanoogans started to become aware of Chattanooga's rich architectural history, several Highland Park residents - most notably Ginnie Tatum - decided to take back their neighborhood and formed a neighborhood watch from which the Highland Park Neighborhood Association was born.

Ginnie Tatum recently passed away and while she may be gone, the work she began is certainly continuing with the addition of more and more renovated historical gems and a thriving neighborhood.

No comments:

Post a Comment