Neighborhood is bordered by U.S. 280 to the east, Highland Golf Club to the west, Clairmont Avenue to the north and, to the south, Niazuma Avenue and 26th Street South.
The State of Alabama's most densely populated neighborhood, Highland Park has long faced development pressures. Weary of battling each proposed development, residents in 2010 built on the rich planning legacy of Highland Park's visionary founders and partnered with planners to craft Jefferson County's first form-based code to will guide future growth and protect community character.
Originally envisioned as a resort area accessible via streetcar, the 240-acre neighborhood became home to prominent Birmingham families. Its central artery, Highland Avenue, was planned and designed by former Birmingham Mayor Henry Caldwell and Willis Milner, an engineer and developer, to follow the contours of the hilly landscape. Development, beginning in 1884, embraced the challenging topography, resulting in a curvilinear street pattern with parks nestled into curves below street level. The streetscape, while reflecting the emerging importance of motorized transportation, welcomed pedestrians and bicyclists.
The neighborhood, itself a local historic district, is a collection of five national historic districts. Some 20 architectural styles, including Queen Anne, American Foursquare, and Prairie, are represented along with more modest Craftsman, bungalow, and ranch houses.
Highland Park's historic multifamily structures reflected the growing popularity of apartment living in the early 20th century. Although just a quarter of the homes are owner-occupied today, the charming yet adaptable neighborhood is recognized for its active and engaged citizens and neighborhood association.
- Impressive assemblage of more than 20 architectural styles popular during first half of the 20th century
- Prairie-style houses, many designed by S. Scott Joy of Wheelock Joy & Wheelock of Birmingham, are hallmark of neighborhood's Hanover Circle Historic District
- Neighborhood supports historic surveys that lead to listing of five separate historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places: Rhodes Park/Highland Avenue (1982), Chestnut Hill (1987), Country Club (2003), Hanover Circle (2003), Milner Heights 2003)
Reliance on Planning
- First conscious effort in Birmingham to utilize picturesque landscape planning and design
- Inappropriate zoning fought at administrative, legislative, judicial levels; 5-1 decision by Alabama Supreme Court in Pollard v. Unus Properties, LLC and City of Birmingham v. Unus Properties, LLC (2004) favors neighborhood desire to retain single-family zoning
- Highland Park named local historic district (2003), allowing it to initiate preservation activities and provide input into city's design review process
- Highland Park Neighborhood Association and Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham develop neighborhood plan (2008-2009)
- City amends zoning map (2010) to incorporate form-based overlay district, contained in neighborhood plan; identifies acceptable range of development fitting historic character
Sense of place
- Featuring a raised landscaped median, Highland Avenue meanders through the neighborhood; city's first example of traffic calming (from the 1970s) with single lanes, widened sidewalks, and bulbouts. Three sets of unique stone steps allowed original residents to reach streetcar line
- Curvilinear street pattern with variously sloped circles and crescents adds charm and visual appeal; tree canopy enhances streetscape
- Scenic views abound; Highland Avenue offers striking vistas of the below street-grade parks. Looking across Rushton Park, the Independent Presbyterian Church rises like a great English cathedral with its beautiful aged stone, stained glass windows
- Popular for weddings, reunions, and birthdays, the three public parks — Caldwell, Rhodes, and Rushton — are social and recreation centers. WPA–era stone walkways and walls complement landscaping and furnishings
- Land use mix limits commutes, encourages foot traffic, adds to neighborhood vitality; mix occurs vertically and horizontally as apartment buildings host ground-floor retail, restaurants
- Necessities of daily living and amenities within walking distance: shopping, restaurants, theater, churches, professional offices; medical, recreational, and senior facilities
- Variety of housing options promotes neighborhood diversity; purchase prices range from $42,500-$785,000; monthly rent ranges from $400-$2,500. Section 8 apartments, units for low-income and disabled seniors; also a home for women recovering from substance abuse
- Two bus routes serve neighborhood; bicycle racks throughout neighborhood
- Residents planted 2,500 trees and shrubs over 18 years, emphasizing native species; porous pavement used in Caldwell Park renovation to aid water retention (2007)
Active and Engaged Residents
- Residents lead downzoning effort 1999-2000) to protect 50-plus single-family residences
- Highland Park Neighborhood Association (1975) active in planning, zoning, design review, and beautification; organizes tree plantings, clean-ups; installs benches, waste receptacles
- Annual events attract Highland Park and city residents; Caldwell Park hosts Do Dah Day, state's largest single-day event, and Magic City Smooth Jazz Festival. Gumbo Gala held as fundraiser for low-income senior programs; also Halloween block party, spring and fall children's festivals
Built around swales and ridges at the foot of Red Mountain, picturesque Highland Park continues to attract generation after generation of new residents with its enduring and distinctive public spaces, diversity of uses, proximity to downtown, University of Alabama's Birmingham campus, medical facilities, popular businesses, and entertainment districts.
The neighborhood is bounded by Solano Avenue to the north, Eunice and Hopkins Streets to the south, Spruce Street to the east, and the Albany city limits to the west.
With some 15,000 San Franciscans descending on Berkeley following the 1906 earthquake and commuter rail beginning to advance into the countryside, McDuffie and his partner Joseph Mason formed the Mason-McDuffie Co. and purchased 700 acres for a subdivision.
Initial plans were influenced by designers trained in the garden suburbs and Beaux-Arts tradition and a local Chamber of Commerce proposal to move the state capitol to Berkeley. Stone pillars, identifying streets named for California counties, and a majestic public circle with classical balustrade and fountain, which was restored in 1996, remain as testaments to that effort.
The circle's Fountain Walk connected to a train station at the end of a tunnel where shops are clustered. Links to rail and other amenities were provided by a network of paths and stairs carved into the hills throughout the neighborhood.
Magnificent rocks and boulders, central to the landscape, were part of the initial allure. Houses — primarily bungalows — were built atop and adjacent to these rocks, known as Northbrae rhyolite. Composed primarily of quartz, the rhyolite is evident in Indian Rock Park, a gift to the city from Mason-McDuffie.
Situated in a triangular park, the landmark North Branch Berkeley Library is a community gateway. This Spanish Revival building, now under renovation, has a low-pitched red tile roof, central tower, and deeply inset arched windows. Adjacent to the library is a traffic triangle that was designed and landscaped by the neighborhood.
On the neighborhood's southern edge is a bustling shopping area, the Martin Luther King Middle School and the King School Park complete with tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool, and school garden. Along the northern edge of Northbrae is an active business district that joins Berkeley and Albany.
Natural features shape design
- Situated in the Berkeley hills, Northbrae's character derived from rolling terrain, steep hills; curvilinear streets follow topography, existing trees, volcanic rock outcroppings
- Deposited by volcanic eruptions nine to 11 million years ago, Northbrae rhyolite is a beautiful composite rock with high amounts of quartz; found throughout neighborhood and incorporated into garden walls, other design elements
- Street pattern flows in northerly and southerly directions to provide most homes with views of both San Francisco Bay and Berkeley hills
- Houses blend with hillsides; predominantly Craftsman and California bungalows
- Landmark public improvements district (1907) with public circle, stairways, benches and stone pillars designed by University of California architect John Galen Howard
- Fountain Circle (1911) with classical balustrade is a unifying design element; fountain features four grizzly bear cubs by renowned animal sculptor Arthur Putnam
- Fountain Walk originally provided access to rail station; now part of paths and steps network crisscrossing Berkeley and connecting parks, schools, rail line
- Other Northbrae paths: Black Path, Terrace Walk, The Short Cut, Eunice Steps, Indian Rock; latter path links Indian Rock Park to Upper Solano Avenue commercial area
- Neighborhood's best views of San Francisco Bay from Indian Rock Park; park donated to city by the Mason-McDuffie Co.
- North Branch Berkeley Public Library (1936) designed by James W. Plachek in Spanish Revival style; renovations to restore lobby and rotunda, expand space, improve access
- Traffic triangle adjacent to library originally a memorial and gathering place after Sept. 11; Sonoma/Hopkins neighborhood transformed it into mini park with drought-resistant succulents and a pedestrian path to library
Transportation connections, business-retail areas
- Original Northbrae subdivision — classified as exclusive single-family home district under city's 1916 zoning law — designed so every lot was convenient to a train; today, Central Avenue station, 1.5 miles away, connected to neighborhood by two local bus routes
- Two bicycle boulevards, continuous routes traveling the length of the city, run south from Northbrae; three neighborhood streets have bicycle lanes
- Two commercial districts; Hopkins Street retail district along southern boundary has Monterey Market, fish and poultry markets, bakery; Solano Avenue businesses to the north include restaurants, clothing stores, banks
- Martin Luther King Middle School hosts the Edible Schoolyard, a one-acre student-farmed garden; draws more than 1,000 visitors annually
- Friends of the Fountain and Walk (1993) raised over $100,000 to restore fountain destroyed in a 1958 vehicle accident
- Solano Avenue Association (1974), a business improvement district, represents 400 businesses; association's annual Solano Avenue Stroll attracts 250,000 attendees
- Berkeley Path Wanderers Association (1997) maintains and improves pathways and steps; group has done walking surface repairs, installed railings, repaired fences
- Friends of King Park painting mural along a King Park retaining wall; intended to beautify park and educate viewers about the water cycle and environmental connections
Nestled in the rolling foothills amidst outcroppings of volcanic rock, Northbrae stands out for its spectacular vistas of San Francisco Bay, environmentally sensitive design, connections to a unique network of 136 paths and steps crisscrossing Berkeley, and two nearby commercial areas for shopping and entertainment. Built on land used for grazing cattle, Northbrae was developed by Duncan McDuffie, who envisioned a park-like neighborhood of single-family houses nestled on lots facing tree-lined streets.
Boundaries are the Beverly Road and Spring-Buford Connector to the north, Piedmont Avenue and the railroad to east, Peachtree Circle NE to the west, and 15th Street NE and Lafayette Drive to the south.
Originally designed for the horse and carriage, today the wide streets are used by motorists as cut-thrus. A 2011 streetscape program will improve pedestrian safety, add tree cover, and facilitate traffic flow.
Ansley Park has only one non-residential building — a church — within its borders, but the neighborhood is only a short walk from numerous institutions, districts, and amenities. MARTA bus and rail serve the neighborhood, and an AMTRAK station is nearby. When the Atlanta Beltline is complete, light rail and a 33-mile multi-use trail system will be accessible along part of the neighborhood's eastern edge.
A National Register Historic District, Ansley Park features an eclectic mix of architecture. Apartments, condominiums, and townhouses have made the neighborhood's density one of the highest in Atlanta. Public housing, initially resisted, has been welcomed in this higher-income, history-rich community.
Suburbia's rise fueled Ansley Park's decline after World War II. In the 1960s, young families seeking large, inexpensive homes were drawn to the area, though obtaining mortgage and repair loans was hard. A local bank, concerned about its mortgage portfolio, offered to partially fund a neighborhood restoration plan. That 1964 plan, which spurred revitalization, continues to shape Ansley Park.
After the 1964 Civil Rights Act made it illegal to deny anyone the right to rent, buy, or sell housing on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin, some Atlanta residents abandoned the city. Residents of Ansley Park adopted a statement welcoming all to their neighborhood.
- Primarily residential, neighborhood within easy walk to shopping, arts districts
- MARTA bus and rail serve Ansley Park at perimeter; Amtrak station nearby. Atlanta Beltline will connect residents to light rail and pedestrian and bicycle trails
- Extensive park system provides shade, reduces urban heat-island effect
- Beautification Foundation monitors water bodies, ensuring health of creeks, streams
- New streetscape project reduces impervious surface areas and stormwater runoff
Role of planning
- Original plan (1904) crafted by landscape designer Solon Z. Ruff based on principles employed in the Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., plan for New York City's Central Park
- Ansley Park Civic Association (APCA) hires Eric Hill Associates and Leon Eplan, AICP, to draft neighborhood plan (1964), which seeks to preserve and defend community character
- Throughout 1960s residents attend public hearings, waving copies of APCA plan, urging rejection of proposals undermining their vision; influence of 1964 APCA plan continues today
- APCA secures $3.3 million from government agencies for plan and implementation (2008-2011) of traffic calming initiatives. Improvements seeks to reduce vehicle speeds and required stops, increase safety, discourage cut-through traffic, improve pedestrian connectivity
- Fourteen-park linear greenway system makes up 30 percent of Ansley Park's footprint; many homes have gracious front yards, wooded backyards
- Parks are adorned with old-growth trees, hearty plants, colorful flowers; stone benches serve as contemplative stopping points; large stepping stones lead to unique creek bridges; tennis courts, children's playgrounds, baseball diamonds, and gazebo found in various parks
- Piedmont Park — 189 acres that is home to Atlanta Botanical Gardens, aquatic center, and dog park — sits on neighborhood's southeastern border; undergoing 53-acre expansion
- Private, 45-acre Ansley Golf Club is northeastern boundary; nine-hole course known for graceful curves and dips, and skyline views of Midtown Business District
- Curvilinear streets meander along gently rolling hills
- Mix of housing (grand to modest), setbacks and type (garage apartments, apartment and condo buildings, townhouses) add visual and economic diversity to neighborhood
- Added to National Register of Historic Places (1979); diverse architecture including Modern, Baroque, Craftsman, Tudor, Queen Anne, Italianate, Prairie School
- Granite found throughout neighborhood; original granite blocks, used for mounting horses, are situated along curbs. Ansley Park Beautification Foundation (1982) utilizes the igneous rock to create permanent markers at all entry ways; granite entrance is being crafted for Eubanks Park
- Formed as social club (1915), during 1950s Ansley Park Civic Association becomes an activist organization to improve neighborhood integrity, sense of community; APCA supports planning initiatives, administers weekly security patrols; plans annual tour of homes, July 4th parade, community yard sale
- Bucking prevailing attitudes, 15 Ansley Park residents craft statement (1968) welcoming all to reside there, regardless of race or color. Most residents sign and APCA board endorses
- Despite initial reservations, Ansley Park welcomes public housing (1974); neighborhood is model for successful integration of lower-income housing into affluent area
- Beautification Foundation is steward of parks, islands, and water features; has improved 95 percent of unusable space, clearing overgrowth, planting flowers, placing furnishings. Island sprinklers and playground equipment among successful fundraising ventures
Large expanses of lush green parks are the hallmark of this 107-year-old garden suburb, which reflects design principles espoused by Frederick Law Olmsted. The brainchild of attorney and real estate developer Edwin P. Ansley, the 275-acre neighborhood was designed so that no home is more than a 10-minute walk from one of 14 parks, five of which create a continuous link from northeast to southwest. Curvilinear streets with landscaped promenades are flanked by sidewalks, and the neighborhood offers striking skyline views of Atlanta's vibrant Midtown Business District.
The Pullman Neighborhood
Boundaries extend from E. 115th Street to the south, E. 107th Street to the north, South Cottage Grove Avenue to the west, and parts of South Ellis Street and East 114th Street bordering the railroad tracks to the east.
The idea of a company town wasn't new 131 years ago, but George Pullman's execution of the concept was arguably the most successful. Owner of the luxury railroad passenger-car manufacturing company bearing his name, Pullman believed the built environment could contribute to a worker's productivity. He purchased 4,000 acres on the shore of Lake Calumet, 12 miles south of Chicago, and created an $8 million community with features — indoor plumbing, gas lighting, and cross ventilation — not commonly found in working-class neighborhoods.
The town was designed to resemble a suburban park, a radical notion for a blue-collar development. A winding carriage path and circular flower beds softened the town's formal street grid. Brick was used extensively for houses, which reflected Queen Anne designs. Contrasts of color and texture, as well as variations in ornamentation of facades, rooflines, chimneys, and finishing materials, were used to create architectural interest and reflect the owner's status.
A train depot separated the residential and industrial districts. The industrial complex, now a state historic site undergoing restoration, included an upscale hotel, market, shopping arcade, library, and other amenities. Several parks provided recreational opportunities. Thirty thousand trees graced the village, which was served by private water and sanitary sewer systems.
The neighborhood flourished — 12,000 people lived there in 1893 — until an 1898 court order resulting from a worker strike forced the Pullman Palace Car Co. to sell its residential assets. Home upkeep and landscaping fell to individual owners. In 1889 Pullman was annexed by the City of Chicago.
Demolition was proposed in 1960 and spurred residents to action. The area was declared a state historic district in 1969 and added to the National Register two years later. Despite setbacks, including a 1998 fire that destroyed the iconic clock tower, the state, city, and neighbors have restored much of the district and continue to make improvements, including reconstruction of the clock tower.
- Town modeled on Essen, Germany, and Saltaire, England; voted world's most perfect town at 1896 Prague International Hygienic and Pharmaceutical Exposition
- Located near Lake Calumet for proximity to major markets, railroad connection, availability of land; Pullman spent $800,000 to buy 4,000 acres from 75 land owners
- Plan guided by garden park ideal, unheard of in blue collar districts; serpentine carriage paths, circular flower beds soften street grid; two parks enhance setting
- Houses constructed from bricks using clay from Lake Calumet; contrasting colors and textures, architectural embellishments circumvent monotony, denote resident status
- Architect Solon Beman included cross ventilation, natural lighting in house designs
- Pioneering sanitary sewer, water systems; water tower fed from intakes in Lake Michigan, far from shore-side pollution. Compost from sewer system fertilizes garden used to raise produce for village's Market Hall. Pullman Urban Gardeners now operate organic community garden — built using reclaimed materials — on site of former factory
- Initial landscape design by Nathan Barrett resulted in planting of 30,000 trees and 100,000 flowering plants; significant canopy remains because of city tree replacement program
- Original town plan includes train depot; now served by Metra commuter rail, buses
- Proposed demolition of residences (1960) spurred neighborhood action; Pullman Civic Organization reactivated, led efforts to obtain historic designations conferred by state (1969), U.S. Department of the Interior (1971), City of Chicago (1972)
- Historic Pullman Foundation (1973) saved Hotel Florence; opened visitor center (1993) on site of former arcade; created self-guided walking tour and leads First Sunday Walking Tour
- First restoration projects used Federal Community Development Block Grant funds (1976)
- City restored Arcade Park, town's original central garden
- Illinois Historic Preservation Agency purchased (1991) Hotel Florence, factory, and clock tower. Reconstructed signature clock tower (2005) and restored factory administration building exterior (2007) following devastating fire in 1998
- In 2008, the City of Chicago streetscape program reconstructed Market Square sidewalks, streets, utilities, and lighting to reflect historic origins; previous city and state funds helped stabilize for phased restoration the Classical-Romanesque style Market Hall
- Pullman Civic Organization published extensive homeowner guide in 2011; documented design specifications for facade elements original to each Pullman residence.
- Numerous volunteer-driven events: candlelight house tour, garden walk, Labor Day bike ride, Victorian tea, Mexican Independence Day festival, Black History Month programs
- Neighborhood groups develop around specific interests; include The Pullman Beekeepers, Pullman Urban Gardeners, Pullman Juniors and Seniors Group, Pullman Morris Dance Team, Lady's Luncheon Group
- Historic Pullman Garden Club maintains flower beds in Arcade and Pullman Parks, local gateways, and church; club, other organizations, and city worked to develop new park on former two-acre industrial site at 114th Street and Langley Avenue
Pullman's timeless features have contributed to the renaissance of this handsome former company town. An experiment in industrial order and community planning, the neighborhood features a design that was intelligent in 1880 and "smart" today. The mix of land uses, diversity of dwellings, and proximity to schools, shops, parks, and public transportation attract those who appreciate a historic, urban community with a small-town feel — a place voted the world's most perfect town more than a century ago.
Gold Coast & Hamburg Historic District
Bounded by West 5th Street to the south, West 9 1/2 Street to the north, Vine Street to the west and Ripley Street to the east.
Gold Coast-Hamburg residents, among the city's most active, have earned a reputation for volunteerism and leadership. Their collective donation of thousands of volunteer hours, which led to the rescue of dozens of historic buildings, contributed to the area's selection for development of Davenport's first neighborhood plan.
Comprising 1,060 acres, the Hamburg Historic District went through a long period of disinvestment in the mid-20th century. As the cost of maintaining large homes increased and the popularity of city living declined, houses were converted to multi-unit rentals. Urban pioneers gravitated to the district in the 1980s when the neighborhood began a period of recovery. In 1983, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
It was at this time that many rental houses were restored to their original single-family grandeur through grassroots efforts and local incentives. Although some of the historic houses have been lost, nonprofits, individuals, and the city have worked to preserve the streetscape by limiting demolitions, funding renovations and landscaping vacant lots.
Recognizing that reuse is a cornerstone of smart growth, residents have diverted tons of materials from landfills. A recently rehabbed store serves as an architectural salvage shop. Sustainability drives choices, such as the recent decision to use energy-efficient, period lighting along Gaines Street, a main thoroughfare linking downtown and St. Ambrose University.
- Many architectural styles includeing Greek Revival, New Orleans French Quarter cottage, Italianate, Second Empire, Colonial Revival, Queen Anne, American Foursquare
- Palatial homes incorporate high-end amenities such as towers, turrets, wraparound porches, porticoes; several structures recognized as local and national landmarks
- Numerous vernacular houses incorporating Greek Revival and Italianate features — exclusive to Davenport — built by prolific builder and contractor Thomas McClelland
Planning and Preservation
- Street names grounded in past; those running north-south bear the names of prominent local military figures from the early 1800s
- City's comprehensive historic survey (1978-1983) of neighborhoods, districts, and architecture led to National Register listing of 25-square block Hamburg Historic District (1983). Residents successfully petitioned for local historic district status for smaller, 13 block area (1999)
- Davenport's Design Center published Hamburg Historic District Pattern Book to guide new construction and renovation (2007)
- Local neighborhood association effectively lobbied for neighborhood downzoning (1993), eliminating modification of single-family homes to multi-family use
- City funded three programs — grants, tax credits, low-interest mortgages — to increase affordability and feasibility of restoring historic homes
- Neighborhood association endorsed pending amendment to historic preservation ordinance clarifying demolition requirements (2011)
- Strong interest and involvement in planning issues led city to target neighborhood and surrounding environs for development of first sub-area plan (2010)
Committed residents and organizations
- Sense of community pervades mixed-income neighborhood; residents come together for cook-outs, ice cream socials, beautification activities, other events
- Volunteers maintain and improve Gold Coast Park and rehab district structures; 3,000-plus volunteer hours logged in restoration of Christian Jipp Home & Grocery
- Gold Coast and Hamburg Historic District Association (1988) sponsors annual summer garden tour, fall home tour (110 structures), winter high tea; funds used for neighborhood beautification
- Edmund Gaines Group, established in 2006, beautifies Gaines Street, plants flower beds, installs energy-efficient LED lighting
- Gateway Redevelopment Group, established in 2004, reclaimed abandoned historic structures and renovated two buildings; both received Preservation Iowa awards. Group holds workshops on financing options for historic property restoration; markets neighborhood
- To enhance enjoyment and improve accessibility of bluffs, neighborhood association installed decorative lighting, faux limestone entry, period railing, wrought-iron arch, park bench, and educational kiosk at city-owned Western Avenue steps
- Within walking distance of downtown shops, businesses, government services
- Citibus route 22 runs along Gaines Street, connecting district to downtown and outlying areas
- Restorations keep tons of debris out of landfills — estimated 150 tons alone in the renovation of Jipp property; to encourage reuse, Jipp store opens as architectural salvage shop
Spectacular vistas, superb architecture, and active residents distinguish the Gold Coast-Hamburg Historic District, among Iowa's oldest residential neighborhoods. Bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River afford unsurpassed views of the water, Davenport's downtown, and the Illinois side of the Quad Cities. Lining the neighborhood's streets are some of the city's largest and most opulent houses, built between 1840 and 1910 by prominent citizens, many of them German.
Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood
Neighborhood is bordered by Gordon's Creek to the north, Williams Street and the abandoned Kansas City Southern rail line to the east, Hall Avenue to the south, and the Illinois Central and Norfolk Southern rail lines to the west.
The neighborhood has one of the best collections of Victorian-era houses in Mississippi. It was founded just a few years after Captain William H. Hardy, sent by a rail company to survey the area, was struck by the region's lush forests. He established Hattiesburg as a timber harvesting and shipping center. Originally part of the 1884 Kamper-Whinery Subdivision, the neighborhood was expanded when the E. Katzenstein and Maria Mars subdivisions were platted in 1896 and 1897.
While a sense of neighborliness has long distinguished this community, today it is known also for its activism. The Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood Association (HHNA), in an attempt to stabilize the neighborhood, has purchased and renovated several properties, including a former school that is now a condominium. Efforts to protect the neighborhood's character have led HHNA to seek redress both at city hall and in the courts.
While Hurricane Katrina devastated much of Hattiesburg's tree cover, this neighborhood fared better. The regular replacement of aging trees left the canopy in Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood largely intact. Water oaks, initially planted along every street and right-of-way, were afforded protection, along with all other trees on private property, when the area was declared a local historic district in 1986.
The neighborhood's esprit de corps was never more evident than in the aftermath of Katrina. Residents — some of who worked in or owned downtown restaurants — opened freezers to their neighbors. Others transformed patios and porches into open-air dining halls.
Emphasis on natural environment
- First homebuilders plant water oaks along streets and rights-of-way and on private property
- Bay Street, designed as wide boulevard with double rows of watermelon-colored crape myrtles, restored in 1997; modified median is abundant with flowering trees, planted by HHNA
- Local historic district status (1986) prohibits homeowners from removing or altering trees without evaluation by city arborist and review by Historic Conservation Commission
- The 3.2-mile-long Gordon's Creek Linear Park, under development, will connect neighborhood to Leaf River, large city park, zoo, and Longleaf Trace, a 43-mile rails-to-trails project
- Walthall Grounds, site of school repurposed as condos, named state landmark (1988); dedicated as permanent green space. HHNA develops, implements landscape plan (1998)
Planning and preservation
- Neighborhood's 450 structures sited across 23 blocks (115 acres); city's first neighborhood added to National Register of Historic Places (1980); slightly larger area receives local historic district designation (1986)
- More than 90 percent of houses substantially renovated or continuously maintained
- HNNA sues city to require public notice of zoning change requests (1981); settlement calls for posting of conspicuous signs on properties when zoning modifications proposed
- HNNA partners with city to update zoning (1989), eliminating inappropriate multi-family zoning of large, significant houses to prevent intrusion of misplaced commercial and businesses uses
- Residents participate in Hattiesburg Comprehensive Plan 2020 initiative (1998-2000) to ensure inclusion of neighborhood's goals, objectives
- Colonial and Classical Revivals dominate district, along with Queen Anne cottages. Italianate, Mission, Tudor, Late Gothic Revival, International Style, and Art Moderne
- Bungalows, found throughout, used to fill in early open spaces. Juxtaposition of large and small houses enhances district's continuity, character and range of pricing options (sale and rent)
- Most houses on raised piers, feature wide covered porches — some that wrap the entire house — and tall windows and doors; original houses constructed from irreplaceable virgin pine timber
Walkable, close to downtown
- Developed on flat terrain using a traditional grid (1884), neighborhood within easy walk of downtown and train depot
- Wide, well-maintained sidewalks throughout neighborhood
- Traffic calming circles on Walnut Street (1997) and reduction in lanes from four to two on Bay Street (1997) enhance pedestrian safety, encourage foot traffic
- Town Square Park connects neighborhood to historic downtown; hosts events, farmers market
Engaged residents, institutions
- HHNA formed and hosted city's first neighborhood public event — Victorian Candlelit Christmas — to draw attention to home renovations (1976). Neighborhood hosts annual Thanksgiving Potluck, Downtown Crawfish Jam, Night Out Against Crime
- System adopted to report housing code violations; code officer meets periodically with HHNA.
- HHNA purchases and restores properties to stabilize neighborhood; instrumental in redevelopment of former Walthall Elementary School as condominiums (2010)
- Sacred Heart Catholic School, first desegregated school in city, purchased abandoned property (2010) in neighborhood for high school expansion
Recognized for its Southern charm, the picturesque Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood retains many of the bucolic features that helped shape this urban treasure 127 years ago. Streets are lined with mature oaks and crape myrtles, sidewalks connect houses, and porch sitters wave to children on their way to school and engage passersby in conversation.
The neighborhood is bounded by Western Avenue and Hamilton Street to the north; North and South 48th Street to the east; Howard and Leavenworth Streets to the south; and South Happy Hollow Boulevard, North 61st Street, Parkwood Lane and North 60th Street to the west.
Dating back 140 years, Dundee-Memorial Park has retained its charm and much of its historic architecture while accommodating new development. Its proximity to educational institutions and a major medical center add to its character.
Omaha's first street-car suburb, Dundee attracted upscale homes through developer covenants that required a specified minimum investment in the neighborhood's houses. The area also benefited from recommendations and suggestions of noted landscape architect Horace Cleveland, who developed an 1889 parks and boulevard plan for Omaha that included Happy Hollow Boulevard, the neighborhood's western border.
Other special features of the neighborhood include Memorial and Elmwood parks and two shopping corridors, one of which — at the southwest corner of 50th and Underwood — draws residents from all over Omaha.
Reliance on planning
- Dundee platted as an independent, streetcar suburb (1880s), later annexed by the City of Omaha (1915)
- The neighborhood's western border, Happy Hollow Boulevard, was one of the streets included in Horace Cleveland's 1889 parks and boulevard plan for Omaha
- Dundee Historic District listed on National Register of Historic Places (2005)
- Original downtown Dundee offers a unique shopping and dining experience as many businesses exist within intact, historic commercial structures. Merchants installed benches, planters, trees, four-sided chiming street clock, and hanging flower baskets (1997)
- City allocates $550,000 of $2.2 million needed to implement merchant-funded streetscape master plan (2009) to improve traffic flow, increase parking, and add amenities
- Dundee Neighborhood Conservation-Enhancement District Plan adopted for two-block commercial area (2010) in order to preserve unique characteristics and qualities
Active and engaged citizens
- Adopt-a-streetlight program of the Dundee-Memorial Park Association (est. 1989) now a full-fledged restoration effort. More than 200 of 328 historic cast-iron poles have been sandblasted and repainted or replaced. Residents planted some 475 flower baskets; many hang from streetlamps
- Residents commission Memorial Park sculpture (2009); Streetcar Wall (2002) celebrating early streetcar line; and plaque (1992) commemorating World War II dropping of a Japanese balloon bomb
- Dundee Day, spring clean up, holiday lights contest, and guided trolley-driven history tour are among numerous events that residents plan, administer, and staff
- Resident-created walking tour included in Omaha by Design's "Nine in '09 Great Walks;" tour features several cultural sites, including the childhood home of actor Henry Fonda
- Single-family homes from wood, brick, stone, and concrete run gamut from modest to extravagant. Dundee residences include Period Revivals — especially Colonial, Georgian and Tudor — on tree-lined lots; original covenants required $2,500 minimum cost and use of an architect
- Many locally distinguished architectural firms left their mark in this unique neighborhood
- Multi-dwelling structures along the historic streetcar route remain intact; apartments, duplexes and row houses reflect Italian Renaissance, Prairie School, and Spanish Colonial styles
- Multifamily housing includes low-rise apartments, condos, duplexes, and row houses, allowing residents of more moderate means
- The 216-acre Elmwood Park (1889), one of the parks renowned landscape architect Horace Cleveland suggested to the city, includes golf course, swimming pool, picnic area, and hiking trails; separates the neighborhood from the University of Nebraska, Omaha, campus
- The 67-acre Memorial Park, originally proposed by a local resident, was dedicated in 1948 by President Harry S. Truman; includes war memorial and rose garden. An annual concert at the park attracts more than 50,000 each year
- The 107-year-old Dundee Elementary School receives a $5.2 million makeover in 1994. The Brownell-Talbot School (1863) is Nebraska's only private, independent, co-ed, college-prep day school; 17-acre site part of original estate of Dundee founder John Nelson Patrick Hayes
- Two vintage commercial districts in neighborhood feature mom-and-pop shops, other stores; southwest corner of 50th and Underwood one of city's top 10 public spaces, "a great place to sit back and watch the events of the day unfold," according to the nonprofit Omaha by Design
- Neighborhood connected by bus to Midtown, Downtown, and Westroads Transit Centers
- Dundee Food Community reinvented how residents get food by coordinating community vegetable garden, yard sharing, seed and seedling swap, food swap, and fruit registry; received a $1,155 grant (2011) from city to plant a community orchard in Memorial Park
A sense of community is palpable in the Dundee-Memorial Park neighborhood, where residents and merchants have sought National Register status, funded a streetscape plan, restored historic street lamps, and pushed to be declared a neighborhood conservation and enhancement district. A mix of uses, from quaint shops and restaurants to lovely early 20th century homes and inviting parks, infuses the neighborhood with vitality.
The neighborhood is bordered by Livingston Avenue to the north; Lathrop, Grant, Jaeger and Blackberry to the east; Nursery Lane to the south; and Pearl Street to the west.
The first immigrants to move here arrived in the 1830s. By the 1850 German Village was so popular that half of all new construction in Columbus occurred there. The neighborhood's good fortune and prosperity began to change, however, with social and political shifts that stirred anti-German sentiment during World War I. In 1917, Congress shut down beer breweries, a source of employment for many in the village.
Six years later the situation worsened when the area was zoned for manufacturing and commercial use, further hastening residential deterioration. Suburban development following World War II and the razing of a third of the neighborhood in the 1950s to make way for I-70 further fueled the exodus.
Taking the first step to reverse the village's downward spiral was Frank Fetch, who purchased one house in the village with the goal of rebuilding the entire neighborhood. He founded the German Village Society in 1960, and his subsequent efforts led to establishment of a local architectural review panel and local and national historic district designations in 1963 and 1974.
Eventually 1,600 structures in the village were renovated, making German Village the largest, privately funded historic district in the U.S. Today preservation of the neighborhood continues to be a priority for residents, who hold numerous events to build camaraderie and raise funds for improvements.
Planning and Revitalization
- German Village Commission architectural review board established in 1963
- German Village Society lobbied for rezoning (1972) to protect neighborhood's residential quality; R-2F classification limits residential development to single- and two-family units
- German Village Historic District added to National Register (1974); boundaries expanded (1980), bringing number of structures to more than 1,860
- $1 million fundraising campaign (1990) by society led to Meeting Haus renovation and implementation of the Schiller Park Master Plan. Park improvements included new street lamps, benches, waste receptacles, lake restoration, tree plantings
- Society and residents partner with city on Third Street Master Plan (2010) to enhance streetscape, promote traffic calming, green methods for stormwater treatment, reuse of materials, and use of local, regional, and recycled materials
Sense of Place
- Rectangular street grid makes village easily navigable on foot; neighborhood defined by small lots, close spacing of buildings, narrow streets, and alleyways
- 23-acre Schiller Park houses gardens, public art, outdoor amphitheater, recreation center, and lake; Frank Fetch Park, a Munich-style pocket park, hosts Christmas tree lighting
- Proximity to downtown offers unique views of Columbus skyline; Central Ohio Transit Authority serves neighborhood; buses provide access to downtown and outlying areas
- Restaurants, grocery store, pharmacy, pet shop, bookstore, wine shop, salons, banks, churches, and schools scattered organically throughout district; lack of vacant lots creates intact, uninterrupted streetscape
Residents' commitment and involvement
- Frank Fetch, gambling that his vision of reversing urban blight through preservation and rehabilitation will take root, purchases house on Wall Street (1959)
- Fetch and 183 charter members established German Village Society (1960) to lobby City Hall, serve as a clearinghouse for ideas, and work to retain community character
- Annual Haus und Garten Tour (1960) inspires village residents and raises funds for neighborhood improvements
- Volunteers promote and maintain the German Village, staffing the Meeting Haus visitor's center, tending park gardens, serving on society committees, and working neighborhood events
- Structures no higher than four stories
- One-and-a-half story brick cottages and unique Dutch Doubles (expanded cottages) built on small lots for working-class families. Architecture is noteworthy for craftsmanship, modesty, and durability; two-story Italianate and Queen Anne homes signal prosperity
- Extensive use of brick for buildings, streets, sidewalks, and alleyways. Masonry exudes similar patina. Limestone stoops and wrought-iron fences enhance streetscape
- Structures built to sidewalk or with minimal front yard space; ubiquitous window boxes add color and texture
- Tree lawns between sidewalks and streets break up extensive brick streetscapes
Unpretentious, renovated houses and cottages stand shoulder to shoulder. Small, meticulously maintained front yards front tree-lined streets with brick sidewalks and cultivated village planters. Small businesses and storefronts with eye-catching displays and the aroma of culinary delights draw in passing pedestrians. German Village has remained true to its mid-19th century history, architecture, and character despite periods of disinvestment, decline, and near ruin.
The neighborhood encompasses 127 acres that are bounded by 15th and 21st Streets to the north and south and Peoria and Utica Avenues to the east and west.
Originally a streetcar suburb designed for the middle class, the neighborhood's lakefront views attracted more affluent Tulsans. From the first house built on the lake in 1919, a stunning Italian Renaissance structure, to The Natatorium, a 1926 Monterrey-Spanish Eclectic home built on the former site of an amusement park swimming pool, Swan Lake features a mix of some two dozen architectural styles.
What dominates this attractive and popular neighborhood are the well-maintained sturdy bungalows built along tree-lined streets between 1920 and 1930. Apartment buildings, which meshed with the development's middle-class appeal, appeared on outlying streets as early as 1918. One innovative apartment complex built in 1929 featured a courtyard at its center to provide outdoor recreation space for its tenants. Duplexes and garage apartments — many from Swan Lake's earliest days — continue to attract singles, young couples, and empty-nesters.
Once a spring-fed watering hole, Swan Lake eventually became a community gathering place and the site of a 1910 amusement park. Today the lake and surrounding park, a popular bird watching spot, are the focus of neighborhood attention as residents raise funds to restore a 1920s stone fountain.
Finding solutions to commercial encroachment is another focus of residents. The neighborhood is within easy walking distance of the very popular Cherry Street retail and restaurant corridor, several medical facilities, and other businesses. The Swan Lake Neighborhood Association, which initiated a successful effort to add a historic preservation zoning overlay, supports efforts to keep commercial development on the perimeter of the neighborhood from expanding into the residential district.
Natural and manmade beauty
- Gently rolling terrain features shaded streets bordered by sidewalks and well-kept yards
- Four-acre Swan Lake Park includes lake with lighted, ornamental stone fountain, 0.4-mile walking path, and stone benches; ideal for watching birds and waterfowl
- Thematic sculptures grace park; larger-than-life bronze of a trumpeter swan in-flight located at park entrance; "Enchantment," a boy with a swan, relocated from 1934 Chicago World's Fair
- Exceptional architecture includes late Gothic Revival building, Christ the King Church (1927). Francis Barry Byrne design incorporates Byzantine and Art Deco design elements; stained glass windows are nationally recognized. Elegant lakefront houses range from Dutch Colonial to Georgian to Monterrey-Spanish and French Eclectic
Original design and early history
- Designed for residents of moderate means; Orcutt Addition (1908) stresses affordability
- 187 modest bungalows and Craftsman-style houses — most of wood, some of stucco or brick — make up a third of the housing stock; Tudor Revival (80) and Colonial Revival (73) also popular
- Neighborhood developed concurrently with adjacent amusement park, which attracted potential buyers to area and caused extension of streetcar line (1910) to district
- After selling Orcutt Addition (1917), Augustus Orcutt invests in apartment buildings (1918); Utica Court (1929) built around a courtyard to provide tenants space for outdoor recreation
- Swan Lake's grid features mostly shorter blocks, which enhance pedestrian mobility, to the north and east of the lake
Active and engaged citizens, organizations
- Organized in 1983, Swan Lake Neighborhood Association launched a successful campaign (1992) to list neighborhood in the National Register of Historic Places (1998)
- City approves neighborhood petition for Historic Preservation overlay zoning for Swan Lake and adopts design guidelines (1994)
- Residents support legislative efforts (2011) to close loophole permitting commercial development within boundaries of Historic Preservation Zoning districts
- City council places a moratorium, to expire December 1, 2011, on use of planned unit developments to amend zoning in historic districts
- As part of implementing its recently adopted comprehensive plan, PLANiTulsa, City allocates $300,000 to develop three small-area plans, including one that incorporates those parts of Swan Lake adjacent to commercial and medical corridor
- Tulsa Parks and Swan Lake Waterfowl Society partner to ensure viability of resident swans and other riparian birds. Society cares for and feeds waterfowl; park staff maintains shore habitat
- Swan Lake Neighborhood Association undertakes $1.7 million fundraising effort to restore Swan Lake Park fountain, enhance lake water quality, improve fencing, establish an endowment
- Neighborhood events such as September block party, Halloween parade and costume contest, November's "Lights on Swan Lake" foster community spirit and public participation
- Most residences within short walk of commercial and retail businesses. Utica Square (1952), an upscale retail and entertainment center, located on neighborhood's southeastern border
- Three city bus routes serve neighborhood
- Adaptive reuse encouraged; historic Bellview-Lincoln Elementary School (1909) converted to shops and restaurants (1990s); neighborhood gathering place and site of a Farmers' Market
- Inn at Woodward Park (2004), a former distressed residence, is only ECO Gold-certified bed and breakfast in Oklahoma
- Marquette Park houses a neighborhood playground; Woodward Park, on Swan Lake's southwest border, home to the Tulsa Rose Garden, trails, playground, picnic areas, gazebo
Replete with swans — real and handcrafted — Swan Lake is an idyllic neighborhood a mile and a half from downtown Tulsa. The neighborhood has made frequent use of the bird as a decorative motif ever since architect Joseph Koberling incorporated a swan into the facade of his French Eclectic-style stone house in 1944. Plaques, planters, and statuary featuring the graceful bird attest to the continuing sense of identity and cohesiveness of this historic neighborhood.
Providence, Rhode Island
Bounded by Olney Street and Alumni Avenue to the north, Arlington Avenue and Governor Street to the east, John Street to the south, and North and South Main Streets to the west.
During the 1950s, many Benefit Street homes — dilapidated and subdivided into tenements — became targets for demolition. In response, the Providence Preservation Society convinced the city and federal governments to fund a demonstration project envisioning an urban renewal process with revitalization at its core. The group's 1959 report became a national landmark and model for preservation as a means of community renewal. Within a year, the city established a local historic district on College Hill.
Walking along Thayer Street near Brown University today one will find an engaging mix of shops, eateries, and a cinema. Adaptive reuse has given new life to historic houses as museums. Brown Street Park, recently renovated, is a showcase for sustainability. The Roger Williams National Memorial pays tribute to a champion of religious freedom. The nearby Riverwalk links the neighborhood's west side with Waterplace Park in downtown, which is easily accessible by bus, trolley, car, bike, or foot.
- A celebration of architectural splendor from the 18th century forward, the neighborhood boasts residences and institutional structures situated along tree-lined streets flanked by sidewalks
- Elegant homes include the Georgian-style John Brown House (1786) and Governor Henry Lippitt House (1865), a Renaissance Revival. Both are National Historic Landmarks and museums
- College Hill has numerous churches — some of them landmarks — built in the Baroque, Romanesque, Gothic, Greek Revival, and Renaissance architectural styles
- Cultural institutions abound. Part of a picturesque procession of historic buildings, Fleur De Lys Studio (1885) is inspired by half-timbered stucco houses of Chester, England. The Greek-Revival Providence Athenaeum (1838) is one of the nation's oldest libraries
- National Register lists six Brown University buildings; its Center for the Creative Arts (2011) adds a touch of contemporary glamour; Rhode Island School of Design's Chace Center (2008) "pays its respects to its historic College Hill neighbors while remaining proudly and recognizably contemporary." (The Providence Journal)
Planning and Preservation
- Providence Preservation Society published its study, College Hill: A Demonstration Study of Historic Area Renewal, in 1959; it contains an inventory of properties and develops historic-area zoning ordinance and methods for rating historic architecture and integrating historic areas into redevelopment plans. Updated in 1967, it becomes national model
- College Hill becomes local historic district (1960), which spurs renovations and leads to 75 houses being restored by 1966; neighborhood added to the National Register (1970) and expanded in 1990
- City's 1964 master plan incorporates recommendations from demonstration study. Subsequent plans recognize the importance of preserving historic neighborhoods
- Stimson Avenue local historic district established (1981); an enclave of 32 houses, largely unaltered, features Queen Anne and Colonial Revival architecture from the late 19th century
- Providence Metropolitan Transit Enhancement Study (2009) recommends a "Meds to Eds" streetcar concept linking College Hill with the Hospital and Jewelry districts
Town and gown
- Two private schools in neighborhood in addition to Brown and RISD — Moses Brown School (1784) and The Wheeler School (1789); also the public Hope High School (1898)
- Roughly a quarter of residents are college students, who support the local economy and add vibrancy to commercial corridors; more than 60 percent of housing multifamily
- Since establishment of institutional zones (1986), colleges make public master plans, detailing property conditions, planned projects, and buildings to be sold or demolished. Brown's 2010 plan emphasizes expansion elsewhere and adaptive reuse of buildings in the neighborhood
- Established in 1984 to address issues related to the expansion of educational institutions, the College Hill Neighborhood Association participates in the Brown University Working Group, which meets quarterly to find constructive, creative solutions to community concerns
- Historic properties include national landmarks Old State House (1762), Brick Schoolhouse (1769) and First Baptist Meetinghouse (1775); other noteworthy sites are Benjamin Cushing House (1737), oldest house on College Hill, and Marine Corps Arsenal (1840)
- Cultural resources in neighborhood include museums, galleries, art club, Barker Playhouse, Avon Theater, and the Providence Athenaeum, an independent membership library
- Brown Street Park's renovation (2008), funded by residents, used recycled materials in the children's playground; a community vegetable and flower garden added in 2010
- Riverwalk (1994) is scenic pathway connecting College Hill to downtown's Waterplace Park — the site of WaterFire, an award-winning sculpture with more than 80 bonfires
- Roger Williams National Memorial features Antram-Gray House (1730), memorials to the first person of Jewish faith to be elected to public office from Providence. Neighborhood's Prospect Terrace Park, a pocket park, includes Roger Williams monument
College Hill brings the past into the present. Its history reaches back to 1636 as the site of Rhode Island's first permanent Colonial settlement. Cobblestoned Benefit Street, known as the Mile of History, is lined with 18th, 19th, and 20th century municipal structures, churches, and gracious homes. Two educational institutions — Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) — have contributed to the neighborhood's vitality and character together with residents and organizations, including the Providence Preservation Society (PPS).