|The modern boundaries of Hill City in North Chattanooga|
Copyright © Hill City/Northside Neighborhood Plan
North Chattanooga is one of Chattanooga's largest areas, and made up of several distinct neighborhoods. One of the oldest of these is Hill City, which like many of Chattanooga's oldest neighborhoods has been remembered more and more lately by the local community. For example, Hill City Pizza recently opened, choosing to call itself not the "North Chattanooga" of the 1990s or the more recent "North Shore" of the aughts, but after the original name of the area.
The Hill City/Northside Neighborhood Plan sums up the area's history as one steeped in innovation and pioneer spirit.
"The Hill City Directory, published in 1904, states that 'Hill City is forging to the front.' It boasts that at that time, there were '900 working people and heads of families. Hill City has over 600 buildings, and we do not hesitate to say that if 200 more houses were built at the present time that they would be occupied in less than thirty days.'”It was one of the first developed towns in the area's history, although at the time it was a separate city across the river from Chattanooga proper. Today, just as back then, Hill City has been unafraid to reinvent itself and grow over and over, from a small frontier trading post to a modern eclectic neighborhood of historic bungalows, art galleries, and tangled old streets.
"Hill City has experienced a lot of change in the past 99 years, since this directory was published. Perhaps the greatest change is how the community defines its boundaries. In 1904 Hill City had a much larger boundary, that included what we now call North Chattanooga. For the purpose of this Plan, the community known as Hill City/Northside is bounded by: Stringers Ridge and the Red Bank City Limits to the North, Forest Avenue to the East, Manufacturers Road to the South, and US Highway 27 to the West."
|Coolidge Park, with Hill City and Stringers Ridge behind|
One of the major turning points for Hill City was the completion of the Walnut Street Bridge renovations. Built in the 1800s, the Walnut Street Bridge was an important connection between downtown Chattanooga and Hill City, which was then predominantly a black community. It was the site of racial tension, once infamous as "The Killing Bridge" because of two lynchings of black men accused of molesting white women. The bridge eventually fell into such disrepair that it was closed to motor vehicles in the 1970s, another casualty of Chattanooga's bust years. It took ten years of fit and start fundraising and construction before it was finally renovated, although only to standards sufficient for foot traffic. Thus the Walnut Street Bridge became a pedestrian thoroughfare in the 1990s, and an important connector between the growing tourist area downtown around the Aquarium and Hill City.
|A hill at Rennaissance park constructed to safely contain and|
beautify an industrial waste dumping site. Today it is a
popular local sledding spot for kids of all ages.
|Condos and new business development on|
the corner of Frazier Avenue and Market
Copyright © Times Free Press
Today, Hill City remains a neighborhood that is economically diverse area with a mix of affordable fixer-uppers, higher priced condos, new construction, rentals, and apartments. Hipsters, college students, hippies, yuppies, and families all coexist peacefully, adding to the rich history and beautiful success story of this great neighborhood. We love Hill City so much that's where we decided to open our offices!