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Old City, Knoxville

Categories: Neighborhoods, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
3.3/5 based on 100+ reviews on the web
The Old City is a neighborhood in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States, located at the northeast corner of the city's downtown area. Originally part of a raucous and vice-ridden section of town known as "The Bowery," the Old City has since been revitalized through extensive redevelopment efforts carried out during the 1980s and 1990s. Presently, the Old City is an offbeat urban neighborhood, home to several unique restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops.In spite of its name, the Old City is not the oldest section of Knoxville. Most of the neighborhood was not part of the city until the 1850s, when the arrival of the railroad encouraged the city to annex the areas north of Vine Avenue. The railroad brought an influx of Irish immigrants, who established the Old City's first saloons and shops. After the Civil War, Knoxville developed into one of the southeast's largest wholesaling centers. Wholesalers built large warehouses, such as the ones along Jackson Avenue, where rural East Tennessee merchants came to buy the goods with which they stocked their general stores.By the early 1900s, Central Street was lined with saloons and brothels. Violent crime and prostitution continued to be a problem into the 1960s, causing many of the neighborhood's businesses to flee the area. Beginning in the 1970s, successful redevelopment efforts led by Kristopher Kendrick (who coined the name "Old City") and Peter Calandruccio revitalized the neighborhood. In 1985, most of the neighborhood's historic buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Southern Terminal and Warehouse Historic District.LocationThe Old City is concentrated around the intersection of Central Street and Jackson Avenue, adjacent to the Southern Terminal tracks and railyard (now part of the Norfolk Southern system). The neighborhood is roughly bounded by Magnolia Avenue on the north, Gay Street on the west, Summit Hill Drive on the south, and the interstate overpasses on the east. Interstate 40 passes just north of the Old City, and is accessible via the Downtown Loop from Summit Hill Drive.
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  • This was a joy to see as Knoxville has figured out a way to maintain the past. There are interesting stores and restaurants. The best part is walking and looking at the buildings. 
  • Old City is a trendy area with hipsters, great bygone architecture, and cool shops and bars/restaurants. We walked around Old City, taking pictures of the buildings, shopping and hitting some of the l...  read more »
  • Knoxville's Old City area is becoming more diverse by the week. New and interesting and upscale restaurants are opening each month. Pair that with intriguing beer and wine places that are so much more...  read more »
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