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Archive for the ‘Ferger Place’ Category

What, what, WHAAAT? There’s yucky stuff in home ownership, Jules?

How could that possible be?

One of the pitfalls into the money pit that CAN be historic homeownership is the sewer line, the mother of all yucky stuff. Anyone who knows me knows that I LURRVE old houses. Along with that love comes a price to pay. I bought my house for a veritable song, so little that I won’t even bother telling you how much (but did you know that it’s a matter of public record?). I knew when I acquired the old gal that lots of work was going to be needed to bring her back to her former glory. What I didn’t know was that, lurking beneath the weed infested lawn, was an insidious force that was going to cost me $5,000 more than I thought.

A broken sewer line.

Was the sewer system/line working when I bought the house? Sure it was. Of course, no one had lived there in a few months so any slow or backed up lines wouldn’t have been apparent anyway.  The sewer line wasn’t actually broken to the point of disconnection, just enough that one part of the break was offset from the other part. Could it still have functioned that way? Absolutely, at least for a while.  But do you really want a monster lurking in your front yard ready to announce itself with sewage in your bathtub? I thought not.

Here’s the thing about a lot of these old houses in Highland Park, St. Elmo & North Chattanooga: many of them got some of the first sewer lines ever installed in Hamilton county. And they are quickly nearing the end of their useful lives. They might even already be broken or cracked and offset like mine was. The only way to tell is to have a camera run through the line. And that’s NOT something that your home inspector is going to do. It’s going to cost you another couple hundred bucks to have it done. If you are planning on a renovation that includes plumbing work, the city inspector is going to want to see that riveting footage before he signs off on the final inspection anyway. So you might as well get it done now when you still got the chance to ask the seller to pay for the repair if necessary.

Take it from someone who knows – you don’t want to add $5,000 to your renovation budget three days after you close. You should save until at least the next week.

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Julia Odom enjoys long walks on the beach, debating the restoration vs. renovation question and hanging out with plumbing inspectors

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You may have already read my overview post on Chattanooga’s historic neighborhoods. Now I’d like to take the time to look at a few neighborhoods in depth, beginning with Ferger Place.


Ferger Place is made up of only two main streets: Morningside Drive & Eveningside Drive and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980. Ferger Place was one of the earliest examples of urban planning, even though, at the time it was built, the neighborhood was relatively rural.


Ferger Place was originally designed by Ferger Brothers Real Estate and most of the structures are good examples of bungalow or Craftsman style architecture. The term “bungalow” can be misconstrued to mean that the homes are smaller than average. Nothing could be further from the truth with regard to Ferger Place. Most Ferger Place homes are in the 2000-3000 square foot range. Certainly not a small home even in today’s term and definitely grand for the period.

The small, pleasant neighborhood was in a relatively rural area upon being developed as the city’s first “restricted private park.” Surrounded by numerous farms, the entrance columns were erected with gates in order to keep farm animals from wandering into the area, making it one of Chattanooga’s first gated communities. When entering Ferger Place today, one is still required to pass through the same stone, shingled-top entrance posts, just as people did back in 1910.

This community has, unfortunately, not been untouched by decay and many of the homes fell into disrepair over the course of the neighborhood’s 100 years. Today, many of the structures have been lovingly restored to their former glory while understanding the needs of today’s families. Click here for a list of properties currently available within Ferger Place.


Some information taken from Ferger Design.


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