When the Ferger Place neighborhood was developed in the early 1900s, the Main Street area just east of Holtzclaw Avenue actually was considered rural.

An advertisement in a Chattanooga newspaper on May 15, 1910, invited potential residents "back to the sunshine and air of a country home."

Today, residents of Ferger Place are preparing to celebrate the 100th birthday of their historic neighborhood.

Residents will open their homes for a Christmas tour next weekend in preparation for the neighborhood's 100-year anniversary next year. The Christmas tour of homes will take place Dec. 12 from 5 to 8 p.m. Proceeds from ticket sales for the home tour will benefit the centennial celebration in May 2010.

"I think it is a wonderful neighborhood, and it has such a neat history to it," said Jenny Shugart, historic preservation planner for the city.

Ms. Shugart has worked with Ferger Place residents over the years as they update or make changes to their homes.

Of the 68 homes in the neighborhood, 12 will be open for the tour, including some of the older ones from the early 1900s to the more modern residences built in recent decades.

Tami Harrison has lived in Ferger Place for 12 years. She lives in one of the original homes featured in advertisements for the neighborhood. Her sister and mother also live in Ferger Place.

"This is the first time the neighborhood has ever been open to the public," Mrs. Harrison said. "People drive through, but they have never been able to come inside the homes."

Ferger Place is on the National Register of Historic Places as the first planned subdivision south of the Mason-Dixon line.

It also was the first subdivision to offer sewage and electricity, indoor plumbing, central heat and asphalt streets and sidewalks.

In its day, Ferger Place was an exclusive neighborhood with gates marking the entrances to Morningside and Eveningside drives. Homes had luxurious features like ballrooms and fountains inside.

"This home tour is a wonderful way to start to celebrating the 100 years," Ms. Shugart said. "It is a unique opportunity for people in Chattanooga to take a look at the little neighborhood."


Buy tickets for Ferger Place Tour of Homes at

Chattanooga Florist, 1701 E. Main St.