Thursday, June 17, 2021 / by Randy Durham
Chattanooga Historic Districts
Anyone familiar with the history of Chattanooga knows that downtown was notorious for flooding. While this city was developing, the rocky bluffs by the Tennessee river provided high ground that protected wealthy residents from the flooding and disease outbreaks plaguing the town. Today, this area is known as Battery Place, adjacent to the popular Bluff View Art District, and scores high for anyone seeking a walkable neighborhood. The Tennessee Riverwalk runs through this area and connects pedestrians and cyclists to even more areas of Chattanooga. Many of the historic homes are nestled away from the tourists and local traffic, often offering a gorgeous waterfront view of the North Shore. Like the Southside, many big box stores will often require a short drive to neighboring areas of the city. Battery Place is conveniently located near Riverside Drive, which connects to Amnicola Highway that leads to Hixson for more amenities. If a large historic estate (often racking up millions of dollars in purchase price) is not your first choice, the area offers several upscale condominiums and apartment rentals.
Geographically, the Battery Place area is bordered by the Veterans Bridge and Tennessee River to the north, and East 4th Street and Riverside Drive near Siskin Hospital to the South. It includes the single-family homes in architectural styles of Tudor Revivals, American Foursquares, and Craftsman style. Battery Place and Lindsay Extension, and later developments like Waterchase Condos on Douglas Street.
This small neighborhood consists of only two streets off Main Street. The area was developed in 1910 by the Ferger Brothers Real Estate Firm and features post-Victorian architectural styles. Many of these homes have large front porches, open floor plans, and large sunrooms. The fence that still exists was originally constructed to keep cattle out, as the neighborhood was still on the outskirts of the city. The 240-acre area is unique due to its U-shaped street of 69 homes, all constructed from the 1910s to the 1930s. The neighborhood also has a private park for the residents.
This neighborhood is located just outside Chattanooga’s original 1838 boundaries, and once served as a stronghold during the Civil War. The land was auctioned off in the 1880s. Residential construction began in the late 1800s in Victorian and Colonial Revival architectural styles. The area is known for its turn-of-the-century mansions and large shade trees. The neighborhood declined in the 1950s but has since been rehabilitated to become the city’s first historic district. Noted structures include The Warner House, a Byzantine Revival that was rehabilitated by the Landmarks Chattanooga Corporation. The Watkins House is a limestone Romanesque style located at the entrance into the neighborhood. Today, the home is the Adams Hilborne Inn and offers tours. There are several other noteworthy homes, including the Z.C. Patten Music Hall, the Mizpah Congregation synagogue, and the Sigma Chi Fraternity House.
This neighborhood is one of the earliest suburbs constructed in the community. This resulted from a yellow fever outbreak in the late 1870s, pushing wealthier residents to nestle into the areas bordering the foot of Lookout Mountain. In 1905, St. Elmo was incorporated as its own town to fund its own school. The school is still standing and has been converted into an apartment complex. In 1926, the main road was constructed to provide access from Chattanooga to St. Elmo and Lookout Mountain. Today, this area is one of the best examples of Victorian and bungalow architecture in the city and oozes the yesteryear charm with wraparound porches, large shade trees, and sidewalks. Saint Elmo is also close to the South Chattanooga Complex, which includes an indoor pool, gym, computer lab, outdoor walking track, ball field, and arts center. Saint Elmo is fairly walkable and includes restaurants such as Mr. T’s, The Purple Daisy, Mojo Burrito, and 1885.