Old Fourth & Gill/Emory Place- Knoxville’s best Urban Neighborhood

This evaluation includes both the Fourth & Gill and Emory Place neighborhoods. I also expanded Emory Place to go north to Bernard and west to Cooper St.

Fourth & Gill was Initially developed in the late nineteenth century as a residential area for Knoxville’s growing middle and professional classes. The neighborhood still contains most of its original Victorian-era houses, churches, and streetscapes. Similar to Old North Knoxville to the north the Post WWII era brough suburban sprawl  and the neighborhood began to decline. Many of the neighborhood’s houses were converted into low-rent apartments. During the late 1970s Fourth and Gill launched a major preservation effort and thankfully the district still contains most of its original houses. Closer to Downtown ,Emory Place is a district that developed due to the construction of the Old Grey Cemetery  and the Southern Railroad in the 1850s. By the  late 19th century a farmers’ market and several small industrial and commercial companies grew up adjacent to the train station to take advantage of its convenient location. By the early 20th century Emory Place had transitioned into a mostly residential neighborhood but its history helped it become arguably Knoxville’s most mixed-use districts outside of Dwtn.  Thanks to the dismantling of the trolley system and construction of I-40, Emory Place began to decline. A small Historic District saved some of the neighborhood’s historic buildings but much of Emory Place’s fabric was erased and the neighborhood still lacks good urban cohesion.

Because of its age and adjacent location to Downtown Fourth & Gill/Emory Place have the best urban form and cohesion of any urban neighborhood in Knoxville. Much of Center Ave is intact and Broadway is a semi-urban corridor. Many late 19th/ Early 20th century homes in Fourth & Gill remain and Emory Place has several gorgeous mid-late 19th century bldgs. The district also has consistant sidewalk & ADA infrastructure, solid public transit and bike infrastructure, a strong housing market, and good cultural amenities. To become a great urban district the neighborhood needs more people, a lot more rental options, mixed-use infill in many parts of Emory Place and along Broadway, better parks, and more retail amenities to increase walkability.

Click here to view my Emory Place Album on Flickr. And here for Fourth & Gill


* ADA and sidewalk infrastructure is pretty high quality through the neighborhood.
* Solid public transit access and bike infrastructure.
* Great access to dwtn being only 0.5-1.5 miles from the neighborhood.
* Pretty good diversity all around especially economic.
* Pretty good diversity of for sale hsg prices but more expensive than other adjacent neighborhoods. 1-bed condos selling in the 200Ks, 2-bed 300K-500K, 3 & 4 beds btwn 300K-650K.
* The district is generally safe but Emory Place can get pretty sketchy with its large homeless population.
* Lots of attractive historic homes and a decent amount of attractive historic commercial bldgs.
* Tree canopy is good in Fourth & Gill but pretty sparse in Emory Place.
* There is certainly a good amount of buzz in Fourth & Gill but Emory Place is still a bit dodgy.
* Plenty of autocentric holes on Center and Broadly but better urban form that surrounding neighborhoods esp. along Central.
* Decent cultural amenities including several restaurants & cafes, a couple bars, several breweries, a couple art galleries & live music venues, a community theater, and very convenient access to the many cultural amenities of Dwtn.


* A couple smaller or specialty schools with in the neighborhood and some in the adjacent districts.
* Rentals are very hard to come by. 1-beds lease in the low 1Ks, 2-beds in the mid 1Ks-2K. and 3 beds around 2K.
* Pedestrian activity isn’t great but better than most Knoxville urban districts.
* Poor density for an urban neighborhood.
* Parks are limited to the small Fourth and Gill and the Old Grey Cemetery. A couple walks nearby in adjacent districts.
* Okay retail amenities including a couple supermarkets& drug stores just outside the neighborhood district, a couple boutiques, home good, & antique stores, a hardware store, several dessert joints, and several churches.
* Not much infill but what does exist is mediocre.

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