News Archive

Anatomy of a Central Gardens Home Tour 2019

Last week’s Central Gardens Association Home Tour, which took place on Sunday, September 8, was an overwhelming success. Established in 1976, this annual event attracts attendees from all over Memphis and the Mid-South to tour a selection of our historic homes and has remained Central Gardens Association’s main fundraising event for 43 years.

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Crime & Safety Update from Central Gardens Association President September 2019

With Midtown and Central Gardens’ close proximity to the more unfortunate areas of Memphis immediately to our south, our affluent Central Gardens neighborhood has since the 1970s been a target for robberies, break-ins and theft.

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Quarterly Clinic on Renewables

The Central Gardnes Landmarks committee hosted a Quarterly Clinic on renewables. Residents learned basic strategies for reducing energy costs, renewable energy sources such as solar power, and how they work together. The Central Gardens updated Landmarks Design guidelines includes new opportunities for using renewable energy sources in our historical district.

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Back to School In Central Gardens

Besides the beautiful historic homes, Central Gardens also has churches and schools within its borders. It may feel like the height of summer, but a new school year is just around the corner. This month, CGA would like to highlight our neighborhood schools.

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Annual Meeting Recap May 2019

The Central Gardens Association held its Annual Meeting on May 6 at Grace-St. Luke’s. Residents of Central Gardens were invited for refreshments prior to the annual meeting and to mingle with the Central Gardens Board. Community support organizations, like Phelps Security and Ballet Memphis were on hand to provide information about their services and resources.

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Message From the CGA President May 2019

In 1967 the newly-formed Central Gardens Area Association, as it was then called, voted in its first president, Jean Marsh, for the first one-year term of the association. Fifty-one such selections have been made since then, with each new president taking the baton to uphold the core values of what architect Jim Williamson called “this gracious neighborhood.” As written in the association’s 1967 constitution, these core values include: maintaining the quality and integrity of the homes located in the area; preserving its historical quality; and resisting encroachment for commercial or other purposes upon the homes in the area. These were not values motivated by exclusion or a lofty upper-class status; at the time of the drafting of the neighborhood’s constitution, they were composed for the very survival of the neighborhood.

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Overton Park/Memphis Zoo Parking Update

Central Gardens Association is a member of the Overton Park Alliance (OPA), which is charged with speaking with one voice for solutions to the parking issues in Overton Park and the Greensward. Central Gardeners use the park as our neighborhood park; we want to keep you updated with the construction plans.

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A Message From the CGA President March 2019

I’ve heard people refer to our neighborhood as a ‘gem’ in the city. I love the imagery that brings to mind - Images of beauty, color, brilliance, luster, durability & diversity. Precious gems are of great value, especially if they are rare. They are often highlighted in beautiful jewelry settings, and provide special significance to rings, necklaces, crowns and scepters just to name a few places of honor. If we have the fortune to own a precious gem, we protect it from theft and from grit and grime due to its beauty and value. However, when a gem is first mined, its inherent beauty is hidden. It’s not until an expert jeweler studies it, cuts it and grinds and polishes it that its true beauty is revealed. It is then that light dances on the many facets on the surface creating a thing of beauty.

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Memphis 3.0 Will Strengthen – Not Weaken – Historic Neighborhood Protections

In late 2005 the Bring New Orleans Back Commission developed a city plan that on paper would have addressed the long-term recovery of a city devastated by Hurricane Katrina. However in what became known as the infamous “green dot” plan - that on a map placed green, future land-use dots on long-established neighborhoods - the commission made two critical errors in developing the plan: one, it failed to take into account the residents – generations of New Orleanians – already invested in rebuilding their neighborhoods; and two, the commissioners did not adequately engage with the public at large.    Numerous studies have shown the importance neighborhoods have on our psyches and sense of identity. And here in Memphis, we love our neighborhoods. Shabby or chic, rich or poor, suburban or urban, our neighborhoods speak as much to our character as to our soul. Our Central Gardens is no exception; we cherish our historic neighborhood.

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A Message From the CGA President January 2019

Dear Neighbors, Perceptions are funny things; at least that’s how I’ve come to view them.  They come to us via our senses. We see, hear, smell, taste and feel the world around us and as a result we develop perceptions.  However, not everyone interprets experiences the same way; therefore, we develop different perceptions that in turn influence our attitudes.

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Public Meetings to Review Design Guidelines

The Central Gardens Historic District Design Guidelines were last updated in 2008. The CGA Landmarks Committee has been working for the last couple of years to update these guidelines. Our goal in this newest version is to enhance the user-friendliness of the document, update with new materials that are now available and seek cost efficiencies in home renovations and improvements where possible. We hope that the updates help homeowners to continue to add value to the history that preceded them while updating their home for today’s market and lifestyles. To date, the process has included an initial update by a small team of neighborhood experts in architectural design, followed by a review by the CGA Landmarks Committee and other important principles with expertise in historic guidelines. These updated guidelines will be completed within the month. Our next step is to conduct two community-wide meetings required by the Memphis Landmarks Commission for approval of the guidelines.

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A Message From the CGA President

Our neighborhood is an idyllic oasis full of tall trees, lush landscapes, flowers so vibrant that you can almost feel the colors, and homes from a time when architecture was often simple, yet elegant.  The time…does it really matter? People are resting on their porches, walking with their children and pets, riding bikes and scooters, and you hear echoes of laughter and joy all around. As evening approaches, gentle lighting floods the yards and streets in a golden shower.  There is a feeling of relaxed warmth as neighbors enjoy each other and their environment with peace of mind that they are safe and secure. The description above, I believe, is the paradise where most of us want to live.  Unfortunately, the time is now, and though we have many of the luxuries listed, our security is in constant jeopardy. The incidence of crimes in our neighborhood has been a steady state for years to which we have grown somewhat accustomed and even lackadaisical at times.  However, as of late the MPD reports that the crime rate is increasing, and though they are capturing some of the culprits, the rate is staying higher than usual.  Though most of these crimes are thefts, there have also been a few violent crimes reported.

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A Message From the CGA President

Dear Neighbors: As the holiday season and calendar year-end are quickly approaching, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on our neighborhood. I often walk around our streets and am in constant awe of the beauty in which I’m enveloped. The historic architecture, the verdant landscapes, the stately trees all of which are lovingly maintained by caring neighbors. And speaking of neighbors, I believe that we have some of the best neighbors in the city right here in Central Gardens. As president of Central Gardens Association, I have had the honor and pleasure to meet many of you and can honestly say that you are ‘the cream of the crop’. From your average Joe to movers and shakers, we are all here and we have a common goal…to keep our neighborhood beautiful and safe for each other.

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A House And A City Council At Odds With History, Part II

“We're completely outraged…” It was the summer of 1992. For Midtowners who had quietly filed out of council chambers after a July 28 meeting at City Hall, it would turn out to be a long summer and fall that would carry over into a still longer - and controversial - winter and spring of discontent that made headlines for the better part of a year.

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Painted Shut Windows! Oh my!

The Spring Architectural Design Guidelines Clinic held on April 9th was a true “how to” clinic. Neighbors came prepared to discuss their upcoming renovation projects. To answer their questions, we had two architects, Chooch Pickard and Central Garden’s Keith Kays. We also had a preservationist, Margot Payne, who is the assistant Director of Memphis Heritage and a Central Gardens neighbor. These experts cleared up questions and offered recommendations on design, materials and the approval process. One area of interest was windows. Painted shut windows seems to be a widespread issue in the neighborhood. There is a way to hold onto your historic windows therefore adding value to your home. There are also new products on the market that may provide better insulation at a better price and, look more like wood than ever before. We plan on having a workshop on this topic soon. Remember, Living in an historic neighborhood such as Central Gardens brings special responsibilities as well as rewards.

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The CGA Landmarks Committee is here to help!

The committee consists of designers, architects and city planners, all volunteers who can help you get started with your renovation or restoration. The committee will help you establish an appropriate direction for the design and avoid planning efforts that later may prove inappropriate and costly when submitting your application to the Memphis Landmarks Commission. Included in the article is an easy 4-step process to help you navigate through the Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) process for your renovation or restoration.

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Sponsor Spotlight: Commercial Bank and Trust Company

Mandy Chatellier, her two children, Hannah (12) and Sam (9), and a two-year-old rescue from Streetdog, Savannah, have been residents of Central Gardens for 11 years. Mandy loves so many things about living in Central Gardens. She enjoys the history – musing that every house, every porch, every crack in the wall, tells a story, as do our trees. She beams, “It’s a beautiful neighborhood rich with history, diversity, and a strong sense of community.”

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Next DGs Quarterly Clinic

Register for our second Design Guidelines Quarterly Clinic on Monday, April  9 at 6:15 pm at the University Club Board Room.

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Bike Lanes Coming to Peabody

On a Tuesday evening, February 6, in the cafeteria of Idlewild Elementary School, Nicholas Oyler of the city’s Bike/Ped Memphis program unveiled a city-funded plan to resurface Peabody Avenue and to re-stripe the avenue to accommodate bike lanes.

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Central High School

Great things are happening at our neighborhood public high school, Central (THE) High School. CHS has recently received a wonderful commitment to improve the academic programs and aesthetics of the 106 year old building.

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This Gracious Neighborhood

As a follow-up to both the Neighborhood Improvement Plan and the establishment of the Memphis Landmarks Commission in 1975, the city embarked on a survey of Memphis neighborhoods. This survey included the 500-plus acres of Central Gardens, and the survey was an important reference in the eligibility determination in the neighborhood's application for a listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Spotlight on a Sponsor: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Karen and her husband Ron have two children – Julia (25) and Alex (20).  For the past 20 years, the family has called Central Gardens home; they are pictured in the living room of their 105-year old residence below. Karen and Ron, both educators, chose Central Gardens for its location - close to their workplaces, as well being convenient to their church parish, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.  As an added bonus, Karen notes that Central Gardens has been a wonderful, safe community to raise their two children, with its historic ambiance and active lifestyle perks, such as the bike lanes.

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Central Gardens Association • P.O. Box 41382 Memphis, TN 38174-1382 • (901) 343-6CGA (6242) • [email protected]