Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Hollerpalooza

OK, so I'm a few weeks late posting this, but I wanted to show you the annual street fair in the Old North Knoxville neighborhood. This little block on Central Avenue was once known as Happy Holler (or Happy Hollow, to people like me who ain't-from-around-here), and in it's day at the turn of the last century it was apparently a den of iniquity, a concentration of saloons and houses of ill repute.

Happy Holler gradually faded into a forgotten neighborhood, a marginal area of empty storefronts and the occasional prostitute wandering the street looking for business. But what you see in this photo is revival. Not to mention a cool motorcycle.

I've posted photos before of the Time Warp Tea Room, and Mr Freezo, the tiny ice cream shop. But this block also houses an eclectic mix of other businesses and organizations including the Taoist Tai Chi Society, the XYZ gay bar, the Angelic Ministry that feeds the homeless, a pet shop, and some antique and second hand shops. A new vegetarian restaurant is set to open soon.

The city also has it's redevelopment eye on Central Avenue, and I'm very ambivalent about that. What gains we make in gentrification are often offset by what we lose in unique local color.


Tanya said...

No wonder it was known as Happy Hollow,lol.... Too funny, "you ain't from around here is ya"? I'll never forget those words when we were "furriners" back in Missouri. Now we never hear that anymore,lol. Guess we just kinda blend in finally ;)

Hope said...

Happy Holler' does have the reputation in Knoxville...the older folks can tell quite the stories of this area! Our family came upon this festival driving down Central Avenue and had to be re-routed thru side streets. I said, Wow! A festival in Happy Hollow...that's great! But we didn't stop. :( I wish we looked to be very interesting!

babooshka said...

My mid life crisis starts here. Give me the bike! I agree about the tarting up of local life can rip the heart and soul out of a place. Beautifying is fine but a little ugly is a lot of humanity. The nutters of the world have descended on the blog still. Dure they will be bored by tomorrow.

Tash said...

Urban renewal - They are doing it here in San Pedro (port/docks town just down the road) & it's very nice for most part

Abraham Lincoln said...

I have really enjoyed your words on this post. It is remarkable to read.

I am doing something different on my Gordon, Ohio blog. I set out to photograph and describe every house in the village where I was born.

Gordon, Ohio