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About the Neighborhood, Conservation Zoning and the Greenway

Neighborhood history

Today's Cherokee Park neighborhood began to take shape when prospering downtown Nashville created the need — and new technologies such as electric streetcars and automobiles created the means — for suburban development.  Located southwest of West End Avenue, Cherokee Park is adjacent to the Richland / West End neighborhood, which was developed beginning in 1905 by the Richland Realty Company.

In the 1920s, Nashville's city limits were expanded to include land upon which the neighborhood was developed.  Cherokee Park was surveyed in April 1928 and included lots fronting on Wilson Boulevard, Cambridge Avenue, Aberdeen Road, Cherokee Road, Lauderdale Road, Mayfair Road, Mockingbird Road, and Valley Road.  The subdivision was developed by Wakefield-Davis Realty Company of Louisville, Kentucky, and original plats were filed in May 1928, making Cherokee Park Nashville's first suburban subdivision.

Some of the streets in the neighborhood are curving, which was not typical for earlier subdivisions where streets were laid out in a grid pattern.  Cherokee Park lots were developed with driveways, as opposed to an alley system, and sidewalks were not developed.  The growing reliance on the automobile greatly influenced the development pattern in Cherokee Park, which has more of a suburban feel than earlier developments closer to the urban core of the city.
Cherokee Park's period of historic development spans from the late 1920s to the early 1950s.  Architectural styles in the neighborhood include Colonial Revival, Bungalow, and Tudor Revival.  These architectural styles represent some of the most popular residential building styles used in the United States during the early twentieth century.  Many of the houses were originally constructed as duplexes, with most now converted for single-family use.

The years immediately following the end of World War II produced additional construction in the neighborhood, including several small apartment houses.  Construction continued sporadically into the late 1950s and 1960s with buildings that do not contribute to the historic character of the neighborhood.  Cherokee Park is currently comprised of more than 300 homes.

A neighborhood's historical and architectural significance is determined by the sum of its parts — each window that is repaired rather than replaced, each front porch that retains its original features, each sidewalk and shade tree.  In Cherokee Park, those parts add up to a remarkably intact early twentieth century neighborhood.

Cherokee Park is one of over ten districts in Nashville with neighborhood conservation overlay zoning.  Residents are committed to preserving the neighborhood's integrity and community spirit, making Cherokee Park one of the more desirable residential areas in the city.

Approximate neighborhood boundaries are West End Avenue (south), the Dominican campus (west), CSX railroad tracks (north), and Wilson Boulevard (east).

Area Map:


Conservation zoning.   Neighborhood Conservation Zoning (NCZ) is a tool to preserve and protect Nashville's historic neighborhoods and architectural heritage.  Cherokee Park has been a NCZ district since 2000, and as of November 2006 is one of 22 such districts in Nashville.  Several additional neighborhoods are in the process of adopting Neighborhood Conservation Zoning.  NCZ guidelines specific to each neighborhood are created jointly by that neighborhood and the Metro Historic Zoning Commission (MHZC). 

NCZ applies only when an owner is planning to:

  • DEMOLISH a building or part of the exterior of a building,
  • CONSTRUCT a new building,
  • MOVE a building, or
  • ADD to a building if it increases the habitable space or height of the building  

If a homeowner plans to make any of the above changes, plans are reviewed and a preservation permit is required in addition to a regular building permit.  The preservation permit is issued by the MHZC.  There is no fee for this permit, and MHZC staff members can provide free architectural guidance to assure that the proposed plans meet NCZ guidelines.  From August 2000 when Cherokee Park became a NCZ district through September 2011, more than 100 preservation permits have been issued in our neighborhood.

Neighborhood Conservation Zoning is not "Historic Preservation Zoning," Nashville's other (and more restrictive) form of historic zoning.  

  • NCZ does not require owners to repair or alter their homes.
  • NCZ does not apply to interior changes in a building.
  • NCZ does not apply to decks, fences, walkways, paint color, or the replacement of roofs, gutters, siding, doors and windows.

NCZ guidelines may be amended within the parameters of the Department of Interior design standards for the rehabilitation of historic properties.  The NCZ guidelines for Cherokee Park have been amended once (in July 2006).  

NCZ provides a layer of protection from institutional encroachment and certain other new development.  Other conservation zoning districts in Nashville include Belle Meade Links Triangle, Belmont Hillsboro neighborhood, Hillsboro West End neighborhood, Richland West End neighborhood, Woodlawn West neighborhood (next to Montgomery Bell Academy), and others. 
Conservation zoning primer

  When is a preservation permit required? (see right-most column for conservation zoning)

Metropolitan Historic Zoning Commission (MHZC) 

Design guidelines

How to get a permit 
Application for permit form

   MHZC publications 

  Nashville development & zoning portal

Richland Creek Greenway.  This is a linear park adjacent to our neighborhood. Greenway users can traverse from the McCabe trailhead to the White Bridge Road trailhead, and even across the Old White Bridge to the new Hill Center of Belle Meade. Or, by veering right at the Creek, users can head to the area near Target and Steinmart or to points farther north along the Creek.  The old White Bridge was renovated in 2008. Parking is available at trailheads and signs are posted with information about the Greenway. The Greenway is open during daylight hours, 365 days/year.  While on the Greenway and near the creek, keep your eyes open for a variety of wildlife such as red-tailed hawks, deer, wild turkeys, coyotes, great blue herons, yellow-billed night herons, mallards, geese, other waterbirds, indigo buntings (resemble bluebirds), foxes, racoons, reptiles, turkeys, and other interesting wildlife.

Cherokee Park neighborhood residents can easily access the Greenway at the Cherokee trailhead (off of Cherokee/Sloan Road near the CSX underpass).  The area around the Greenway has a rich history, including the site of the worst train wreck in U.S. history on July 9, 1918.

Greenways are linear parks and trails that connect neighborhoods to schools, shopping areas, natural areas, offices, recreation areas, open spaces, and other points of activity. Often located along natural landscape features like streams, rivers, and ridges, or along built features, such as railroad corridors, and scenic highways, greenways provide valuable greenspace for conservation, recreation, and alternative transportation. Greenways provide all citizens with barrier-free access to natural resources and recreational opportunities.  

Greenways' Web site


This site is maintained by the Cherokee Park Neighborhood Association.