Fourth and Gill Is for Settling Down

The annual Fourth and Gill tour reveals diverse housing options

Read an article the other day about how, in today's wobbly economy, more people are choosing to stay put than they have in the past. Mostly, that's because they have little choice in the matter, the housing market being what it is. The economic downtown isn't the only reason folks in Fourth and Gill are putting down roots, however. The trend of Fourth and Gillers settling in long term predates the present slump in home sales by several years. In fact, a significant number of the homes sold in the neighborhood over the last decade consisted of neighborhood residents trading up to a bigger house after the birth of a child or simply taking on a new fixer-upper once the previous one was finished.

It's no coincidence that many, if not most of the Fourth and Gill folks I first met almost 15 years ago are still there, even if they're not in the same house. When you find a neighborhood you like, naturally you'll want to stay. The nice thing about Fourth and Gill, with everything from apartments and two-bedroom bungalows to massive six-bedroom mansions, is that it's easier to find something that fits. Assuming you can find a vacancy.

To get a handle on Fourth and Gill's diverse housing stock, swing by the neighborhood's annual historic home tour from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. this Sunday, April 19. The nine homes on tour offer a pretty thorough sampler of what the neighborhood, just north of downtown, has to offer. No apartments are on the tour, but there are two newly built homes, a testament to how successful this neighborhood has been. You can also browse through Brownlow Lofts, the condo conversion of the old neighborhood elementary school

Should you like what you see, some lofts are still available. Or take a short detour off the tour to this George F. Barber designed house on north Fourth. Design #36 in Barber's Cottage Souvenir No. 2, I've seen carbon copies of this circa 1888 Victorian in several cities. One step inside the double-door entry and it's easy to see why it was such a popular plan. Not only does it feature the usual handsome fireplaces and hardwood floors, there's also an impressive set of pocket doors separating the parlor from living room and a stunning leaded-glass window in the crook of the stair. Best of all, unlike the homes on the tour, it could be yours.