I was very excited when I read Eleanor Scott's article on May 26th about the abandoned Standard Knitting mill lot in Old North ["Beginnings," A Living World], and I fully support her idea of turning the lot into a place that can be of use to the surrounding community, whether it is an artist's co-op, a food market, or anything. I just had to pass on my compliments to her, especially for composing such a beautiful phrase to describe the area—"a state of beautiful decay."
I grew up on North 4th Avenue (not the fun side, though, with Sassy Ann's!) and instantly recognized her directions from her apartment in Old North, over the Glenwood overpass, right past the dead end street I grew up on, and down to 5th Avenue. Like Eleanor said, it can seem "scary and uncomfortable" to take that walk, especially stumbling "down a hill with broken sidewalks" and plunging "into a dark underpass" on 5th. But I had to smile because it brought back memories of when I was growing up, trick-or-treating and riding my bike down Luttrell Street (falling over whenever my jeans would get caught in the bike chain); or in my early 20s in 2003 helping my family move out of the family house before the interstate had to take the old bungalow home that my grandparents had lived in when they worked at Standard Knitting mill; and even the days visiting my girlfriend at-the-time in her elegant house on Luttrell.
My grandfather met my grandmother working at that mill, and my family remained in the neighborhood until the interstate construction began. It's been hard to live away from the old neighborhood (and I intend to return one day soon), but it's great to see the interest and excitement of others who want to continue instilling life in Old North, Parkridge, and the surrounding areas. I hope others soon realize the beauty and history of that part of Knoxville and help to continue in its revitalization