urban (2007-52)

Hybrid 'Hood

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Urban Renewal

Finding a suburban retreat in Oakwood-Lincoln Park

by Matt Edens

Any time someone starts poor-mouthing downtownâ’s resurgence or 4th and Gillâ’s gentrification, Iâ’ll point them towards one of the neighborhoods around downtown that still has gobs of affordably priced housing. Oakwood-Lincoln Park is always on the list. The areaâ’s a great place to find a modest-sized Victorian cottage or bungalow at an affordable priceâ"in part because thatâ’s how the neighborhood got its start.

Oakwood, off Central, owes its blue-collar beginnings to the Coster Shops and the furniture and mantle company of C.B. Atkin. One of Knoxvilleâ’s leading citizens at the start of the 20th century, Atkin dabbled in real estate, laying off an â“additionâ” (as subdivisions were then referred to) in 1903 on land adjacent to his factory. A neighborhood of small cottages, it was one of the many â“mill villagesâ” that once made up greater Knoxville.

Lincoln Parkâ’s origins are a little more prosaic. Laid out along the â“Dummy Line,â” as the steam-powered interurban connecting downtown Knoxville and Fountain City was known, the area was originally marketed as a suburban retreat. Like Fountain City and nearby Whittle Springs, Lincoln Park possessed several mineral springs that bubbled out of the bedrock at the base of Sharpâ’s Ridge. There was no hotel, but there was a small springhouse on what are now the grounds of Lincoln Park Elementary. Architecturally, the neighborhoodâ’s similar to Oakwood, mostly smaller cottages (some designed by Knoxvilleâ’s George Barber), bungalows, and larger Victorians.

With three bedrooms and two full baths, this story-and-a-half house on Chickamauga is one of Lincoln Parkâ’s larger homes. Itâ’s also among the areaâ’s most lovingly restored, with hardwood floors, hardware and trim, and period light fixturesâ" much of it, original to the house. But the most stunning details may be the dining roomâ’s built-in china cabinet and the three gorgeous fireplaces, all with beautifully restored tile, and cast-iron grates. Thereâ’s even that rarest of historic house luxuries: a walk-in closet.

Out back, thereâ’s off-street parking and a well-landscaped yard with privacy fence and fish pond. An amazing deal at under $70 per square foot (which includes a home warranty and money towards closing), you donâ’t have to do anything except move in. Although I would be tempted to peek behind those mantles and look for the C.B. Atkin Co. trademark.

933 Chickamauga 1,903 sq. ft. 3 bdrm, 2 bath $129,900 Contact: Stephanie Romer Century 21: 382-5054 www.easttnagent.com

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