Why you'd want to live in Hill City
The area of Chattanooga north of the Tennessee River consists of several distinct neighborhoods, with the oldest being Hill City. It was one of the first developed towns in Chattanooga’s history, and at the time was separate from the city proper. The area has a reputation for being fearless in continuously reinventing itself, from a small frontier trading post to an eclectic neighborhood of historic bungalows nestled in the tangled (often steep) streets. Like the rest of the city, this community was impacted by the manufacturing bust and economic slump of the 1970s and 1980s. Hill City and other older neighborhoods like Highland Park, Glenwood, and Saint Elmo fell into disrepair. During this time, it was like a Haight Ashbury of the city, full of drug houses, hippies, and other spoils of the party scene. In the early 1990s, before the Tennessee Aquarium was constructed across the river, the demographic was most apparent. Homes were cheap, but the area was considered by many locals as dangerous, and the quirky shops, upscale boutiques, and luxury mixed-use condo developments were nonexistent. One of the events fueling the area’s revival was the renovation of the Walnut Street Bridge. This launched a steady flow of pedestrian foot traffic to the area, and once again became an important artery for exploring tourists. This was the key to launching new business ventures. The neighborhood’s past reputation for being one of the seedier neighborhoods of the Chattanooga metro area transformed into a current mecca for liberal and progressive residents. Slowly, the historic homes were renovated by families seeking more affordable accommodations near Downtown and investors who saw rental income potential for college students and young professionals. Another booster in this area’s revival was Coolidge Park, an urban renewal project that reclaimed undeveloped riverfront property into a public park.