From farmland to historic homes: Old North Knoxville

By Mike Steely

Senior Writer

Back in 1889, the growing streetcar suburb of North Knoxville had developed as its own community complete with paved streets, a fire station and city hall, a school and sidewalks. The neighborhood was taken into the city in 1897.

Today the neighborhood boosts itself as “Historic Old North Knoxville” and for good reason. The fine homes are examples of 1880 to 1920 architectural styles and the owners renovate and keep up the distinct appearance of each dwelling.

Victorian-type porches appear to welcome visitors to enjoy a leisurely evening to this day.

In 1978 neighbors joined to create Old North Knoxville, Inc. and their area is on the National Register of Historic Districts. Each year Old North Knoxville welcomes visitors to the Victorian Holiday Home Tour. The association also features monthly potluck dinners, greenway and park clean-ups, a neighborhood watch program, an orchard and garden event and an annual ice cream social

Ruben Creel, president of Old North Knoxville, is proud that the place is the “largest Historic Neighborhood in the city.”

“We are located between Broadway, Central and Woodland and from East Glenwood to 6th and from Grainger and along the creek. Anyone who lives in our neighborhood is a member, either renter or homeowner. We have a board of directors and president, vice president, secretary and treasurer,” Creel said.

“We meet the 4th Monday of the month at St James Episcopal Church and our goals are to preserve the integrity of our historic homes,” Creel told The Focus.

“We have a home tour each year on the first weekend of December where we open several homes and businesses and churches and it is our annual fundraiser. We also participate in National Night Out with Knoxville Police Department,” he said.

“We use funds to support our park, have an ice cream social, a porch crawl, etc. We also contribute dollars to Beaumont Elementary School, Christenberry Elementary, Fulton High School and Mobile Meals,” Creel continued.

The neighborhood has Lauren Rider as its city council member and she and her husband, Dr. Steven Rider, live on East Scott Ave.

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