Old North Knoxville is a great neighborhood for those who appreciate community involvement, historic architecture, and want to to be part of something exciting. Its housing stock is diverse as the people that call ONK home. Revitalization has been taking place since the 1970s, but there’s still the opportunity to land a diamond in the rough. On the other hand, a meticulously restored 1890s mansion comes on the market that would make Queen Victoria call for her smelling salts. And did we mention the singing pavement?
Naturally, ONK is just north of downtown Knoxville (about 2 miles), and was itself a separate city until being swallowed up annexation. It has its origins in the 1880s as a streetcar suburb, with its coterie of upper class residents (doctors, lawyers, business types) hopping the trolley every morning for the commute downtown. This pre-automobile mindset lent itself to a more walkable neighborhood plan, with sidewalks plentiful and driveways and garages pushed to the back. The professional class built to impress, and the results still awe passerby. Not every house is especially large, but the styles were up to date for the time. Ones to look out for are Queen Anne, Folk Victorian, Craftsman, Foursquare, Tudor Revival, Neoclassical, and Colonial Revival.
The neighborhood’s favorable position waned after WWII, when Knoxville was heavily expanding north and west. Long time residents moved out, and many homes were chopped up into apartments. The 1970s saw the establishment of the Old North Knoxville Neighborhood Association, and the deterioration trend slowly started to reverse. Historic district status was granted in 1992, and that too encouraged investment and restoration. Every second Monday of each month a potluck meeting is held by ONK Inc. that gives neighbors a chance to voice their concerns and mingle. Residents of Old North Knoxville enjoy easy access to downtown and the University of Tennessee campus, and the Sharp Ridge Memorial Park isn’t far. The nearby “Downtown North” corridor is constantly evolving with trendy shops and restaurants.
You can search for ONK listings here. Prices typically range from $100,000 to $400,0000. The neighborhood is zoned for Christenberry Elementary School, Whittle Springs Middle School, and Fulton High School.