Neighborhood: Highland Park

Neighborhood: Highland Park

March 27th, 2011 in Chattanooganow2011

Tyrell Wilson, left, tries to fi nd a way past volunteer Erica Ray, in blue, and Iyonna Stafford during musical tag at the Boys and Girls Club in Highland Park.

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.

* Rough borders/geographic area: East side of South Holtzclaw Avenue to west side of South Willow and from the south side of McCallie Avenue to the north side of East Main Street.

* Date founded/organized: Highland Park was developed in the late 1800s.

* Landmarks or geographic features: The St. Andrews Center, previously the St. Andrews Methodist Church, which was completed in 1916 and closed in 2004, when it became a faith-based multicultural center; Tennessee Temple University, a Christian liberal arts university founded in 1946.

* Unique characteristics: The neighborhood is within walking distance of the Chattanooga Zoo and Warner Park.

* Famous residents: Chief Ralph Cothran was the first black police chief of Chattanooga, holding the post during the 1990s until he died of cancer in 1995 at 57.

Robert Sparks Walker, a world-renowned naturalist and writer, lived in the 800 block of South Greenwood Avenue. He founded the Chattanooga Audubon Society and was instrumental in transforming Maclellan Island into "a wilderness experience in the heart of Chattanooga." In addition, he wrote a nature column for The Chattanooga Times for more than a quarter of a century and by his own count sold more than 1,000 poems and 500 articles. Most of them were on nature themes.

* Historic info: The neighborhood was developed after the great floods of 1886 on 72 acres of farmland and was named Highland Park because it sits on a slightly higher elevation than downtown Chattanooga. The varying house styles in the neighborhood are representative of the era from the late 1800s to the 1930s. Trolley lines used to run to the heart of Highland Park.

* Odd/unique traditions: Neighbors participate in National Night Out, a crime/drug prevention event in which the community and police work together.

* Schools: East Side Elementary, Orchard Knob Middle and Howard School of Academics and Technology.

* Best-kept secret: The neighborhood is like a small town where everyone knows one another and going for a walk is not necessarily for exercise but to socialize with the neighbors.

* Fun fact: Downy woodpeckers, the smallest of all North American woodpeckers, are a familiar sight at backyard feeders.