Highland Park was developed in the late 1800’s after the great floods and was named 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 1800’s to the 1930’s.
The Victorian style is one of the oldest and most decorative and elaborate building styles. While there are no elaborate Queen Anne Victorians in Highland Park there are several good examples of other Victorian styles discussed on this website: http://users.rcn.com/scndempr/dave/school.html.
The Four Square style was one of the most popular American building styles. These were usually built exactly square, usually with four square rooms above three square rooms, an entrance hall and a stairway built to the side to make the best use of space.
The Bungalow style became popular during the early 1900’s as a smaller, more affordable type of home. However, while the outside may look small, the inside of a bungalow often has many original details and features. During this era Sears Kit Homes also became popular. Visit this interesting website with historical information and pictures:http://www.searsarchives.com/homes/index.htm.
Highland Park was a lovely family neighborhood which thrived until the 1950’s when many families, as was typical of that era and the growth of the ubitquitious subdivision, moved to the suburbs. As a result, the neighborhood slowly fell into decay and abandonment with many of the glorious homes falling victim to the saw and hammer of slumlords who carved up homes into apartments. However, even during these years there were neighborhood residents who didn’t give up, who stayed in their homes determined to return the neighborhood to its long-ago splendor despite the drug dealers and prostitutes.
In August of 1990 Ginnie Tatum had had enough and went door to door with a handmade flyer inviting concerned citizens to meet together and discuss the situation in the neighborhood. The Highland Park Neighborhood Watch Association was born and a first meeting was attended by nine people. The group met in various places including the Lion’s Club and the Girl’s Club on Greenwood Avenue. In March of 1991 the first election was held and Judith Schorr was elected president. The neighborhood group became more active and collected 700 signatures to present to the city to obtain R-1 zoning. A large group began attending City Council meetings wearing red, white, and blue t-shirts stating "I support Highland Park Neighborhood Watch." These shirts became well known throughout the city!
As the neighborhood group grew to 50 members, one Saturday a month the group would walk through the neighborhood to let the criminal element know they were here to stay and reassuring the neighborhood residents that they were there to help them. In 1994, the group obtained a lot for a small park which later became Tatum Park. During the next few years the neighborhood group sponsored a Holiday Christmas Lighting event, several fundraisers, an annual Thanksgiving Dinner, and a Parade of Homes. In May of 1995 the group obtained the neighborhood center on the corner of Duncan and Hawthorne; there were 140 people on the membership list.
In 1999, a census of the neighborhood was taken by Community Impact Fund (CIF) to determine the vision of the neighborhood and to provide funding to make that vision a reality. Funding supported renovations on the neighborhood center including the purchase of computers. Sign toppers for all the streets in the neighborhood were handcrafted by a local artisan. A large lot on the corner of Holly and Union was leased to be a passive park and has now been developed into Tatum Park, named in honor of Ginny Tatum. This park is enjoyed by the entire neighborhood.
During recent years, Highland Park is experiencing a renewal as part of a plan to return the neighborhood to a place of community where all residents can enjoy a healthy, active, and productive life. Homes are being renovated at a fast pace and people from all over the South are hearing and reading about the positive progress of Highland Park.