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Neighborhood: Fort Wood
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Sunday, March 27, 2011    |   
Historic homes line Vine Street in Fort Wood. The neighborhood’s name comes from a Union stronghold built there.
Historic homes line Vine Street in Fort Wood. The neighborhood’s name comes from a Union stronghold built there.
Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

* Rough borders/geographic area: Backs up against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus. Its rough borders are Central Avenue to the north, Third Street to the east, McCallie Avenue to the south and Palmetto Street to the west.

* Date founded or organized: Neighborhood built in the 1880s; Fort Wood Neighborhood Association incorporated in 1981.

* Landmarks or geographic features: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Warner House, Z.C. Patten House.

* Unique characteristics: “We are neighbors of downtown without having to experience downtown’s noise and traffic. We are an eclectic mix of all kinds — ethnic, income and occupation,” says Mike Biderman, president of the Fort Wood Neighborhood Association.

* Most famous residents: T.C. Thompson, mayor of Chattanooga from 1909-15; George Fort Milton, publisher and part owner of the Chattanooga News in the early 1900s.

* Historic info: The original “fort” was an earthwork stronghold constructed by Union forces in 1863 during their occupation of Chattanooga. The installation of one of Chattanooga’s first electric streetcar lines on Oak Street in 1889 encouraged prominent citizens to settle in the area, but by the 1970s, many buildings had fallen into disrepair. In the last several years, Fort Wood has seen a renaissance, with many buildings renovated.

* Odd/unique tradition: “Friday 2.” Every second Friday of the month, one of the Fort Wood residents opens his or her house for a late afternoon cocktail party for the neighborhood.

* Schools: Brown Academy, Orchard Knob Middle School, Howard School of Academics and Technology.

* Best-kept secret: Hosts one of the city’s smallest city parks in a cul-de-sac on Fifth Street.

* Fun fact: Archaeologists and historians believe that the Fort Wood area still contains many hidden artifacts from Civil War years.