urban_renewal (2007-11)

Have clubs, will travel? Try Holston Hills

Gone Golfing

by Matt Edens

In a lot of Knoxville neighborhoods "overgrown weeds and broken beer bottles" next door are par for the course, not a reason to stop the presses. So I have to admit I chuckled the other day after the daily paper ran, not one or even two, but three articles about the controversy caused by that rundown house in Sequoyah Hills. Sure, it's tough on the Montessori school next door, but I suspect some inner-city homeowners would feel fortunate if it were only frat boys next door. And before you think I'm singling out Sequoyah, I've given my Fourth and Gill friends grief when they go on and on about the horror of having college kids for neighbors. After all, it could be worse; that SUV parked in the front yard could have a bullet hole or two.

Still, I suppose one doesn't expect to put up with such things in Sequoyah Hills. After all, prices in the neighborhood are nudging over $200 a square foot in places--not the prestigious boulevard and waterfront locations, either. Price-wise, that's downtown loft territory.

Now the fact that downtown lofts are comparable in cost to homes in Sequoyah Hills is an interesting development in its own right. But it is also understandable: Downtown lofts are a fairly unique product that can't really be found anywhere else in town. The same isn't entirely true of Sequoyah. Status aside, there are several neighborhoods in Knoxville where a buyer can find housing stock fairly similar to Sequoyah's Jazz Age architecture. Lindbergh Forest (named for the famous aviator, can't get much more '20s than that), Forest Heights and Westwood or North Hills all have their share of Cotswold Cottage, Tudor and Italian Villa inspired homes. And then there's the east side's answer to Sequoyah: Holston Hills.

Originally laid out in 1926, the neighborhood centers around its eponymous country club complete with an original Barber and McMurry clubhouse. Also original is the Holston Hills Country Club's 18-hole golf course, designed in 1927 by the legendary Donald Ross. Left largely unaltered ever since, the course ranked No. 56 in Golf Week 's 2006 listing of the nation's top 100 classic courses. (Cherokee Country Club, also originally laid out by Ross, didn't make the cut).

Why remodel a classic? That's certainly true of this house on Crestwood Drive, one of Holston Hills' original homes. Built in 1927, it's every bit as elegant today as it was 80 years ago. With original oak floors and gum wood trim accentuating a lovely staircase, French doors and loads more original details, it's the same sort of house people are shelling out serious money for over in Sequoyah. But in Holston Hills, it'll barely set you back two-thirds what Sequoyah's cachet costs.

5504 Crestwood Drive