Category Archives: News

Neighborhood Cleanup March 4!

We’re collaborating with Keep Knoxville Beautiful for the annual North Knoxville Community Cleanup the morning of Saturday, March 4, from 9:30am to noon! We’ll have supplies available for pickup in Booker Park (aka Old North Knoxville Park, at 416 East Oklahoma Ave.) along with a map showing where you can drop off bags when you’re done.

Families and individuals are welcome to participate, and no advance signup is required. Let’s get together and help prepare the neighborhood and North Knoxville for spring!

Happy new year! Meetings start back January 23

After a couple of months off for the holidays—and the return of home tour!—we’re back to meeting in person this month, with a Zoom link for those who can’t attend in person. The meeting will begin at 6:30 on Monday, January 23. Because of renovations at St. James we’ll be in the main sanctuary—which sadly means no potluck until we can return to the usual meeting space. Check the Facebook group for details or email to be added to the email list.

Save the Dates for Fall ONK Cleanups!

It takes lots of hands to help keep our green spaces looking their best! No experience required and both adults and families are welcome—even if you can’t stay for the whole time, come for as long as you can. Bring tools if you have them.

ONK Park—Tuesday, August 30, 6–8pm
Rain date Thursday, September 1

First Creek Greenway—Saturday, October 1, 9am–noon
Meet up near Cottage Place

Remembering Beth Booker

Beloved longtime neighbor Beth Booker died January 23 after a long and hard-fought battle against cancer.

Beth spent more than 20 years in ONK, and her contributions to our neighborhood are enormous. She served on the board and chaired the beautification committee for many years. With her husband, David, she launched the First Creek Greenway cleanups and led them for two decades, contributed recipes and stories to the newsletter, and shared countless cuttings and photos from her spectacular garden. She was instrumental in creating, beautifying, and maintaining the Old North Knoxville Park on Oklahoma Avenue. She even started the ONK tradition of the Easter Egg hunt for children, first held in her yard on East Scott Avenue and then moved to ONK Park. A dietitian by profession, she gave the world the Rule of 95: if the temperature reaches 95, it’s OK to have ice cream for dinner.

Beth was a gifted and prolific cook, baker, and knitter, wildly generous with her talents, her time, and her thoughtful care. The influence of her kindness, intelligence, strength, energy, and humor will continue making our neighborhood—and the world—a better place for many years to come.

A memorial event is in the planning stages for spring. Meanwhile, we hold David and their daughter, Lauren, in our hearts.

“Beth and David have lived in the neighborhood for almost 22 years and begin, almost immediately, working to create beauty in the community; gardening in our parks, partnering with KKB for cleanups, and twice a year 1st Creek cleanups (21 years!).  She also contributed her time and energy being a board member and committee chair for Old North. Besides that, she was selfless in her individual support of neighbors and others.”
—Susie Laise Smith

“When I moved to Knoxville three years back I became involved in the ONK community. I live right in the middle of the First Creek Greenway, and wondered how it could be made safer and cleaner, a better place. Beth was the Beautification Chair at the time, and was very welcoming and supportive of my ideas. She was behind my efforts of connecting me with the right people in Knoxville. Now we have a better swing set, a planting with a park sign, and have plans to improve the whole park. Without Beth’s encouragement and guidance it would not have been possible.

 “As time passed, I became a good friend of Beth’s. Though she had increasing health struggles, she would always care for my well-being. She has given me many seeds and plant seedlings from her garden, and we met there often when Covid started. Beth was a friend until the very end. She packed a wellness gift bag, which was delivered to me the day before she passed away. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

 “It is an honor for me to have taken on her former ONK position. I will do my best to continue Beth’s love and care of nature in ONK.”
—Margareth Olsson

Please leave a comment with your own memories of Beth.

First Creek Greenway cleanup September 25

Let’s celebrate fall by cleaning up our beautiful greenway!

Join us Saturday, September 25, from 9 am to noon, rain or shine. Come for the whole time or as much as you can.We’ll meet at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Cottage Place, at the Cottage Place parking lot. The Beautification Committee will provide water and snacks, gloves, trash bags, rakes, grappling hooks, ropes and hand sanitizer. We will follow CDC guidelines. Children are welcome if accompanied by a guardian.

ONK Park weeding and cleanup September 8!

Old North Knoxville Park with sign in foreground

Please come to ONK Park to help with weeding and cleanup—badly needed after the hot rainy summer. For this cleanup, we’ll try working in the evening and hope that more people will be able to help out. 

When: Wednesday September 8, 6–8 pm. Rain date is Thursday, September 9. Come for the whole time or as much as you can—any help is greatly appreciated!

Where: Old North Knoxville Park, East Oklahoma Avenue

We’ll provide water and snacks, gloves, trash bags, trash grabbers, rakes and some gardening tools, and hand sanitizer. Please bring your own gardening tools and gloves if you have them. We will follow CDC guidelines. Please wear a face mask if you want. Children are welcome if accompanied by an adult. Feel free to bring your dinner for a picnic break!

Save the date: Fall First Creek cleanup, Saturday, September 25, 9am–noon!

First Creek Greenway Cleanup May 8!

Let’s celebrate spring by keeping our beautiful greenway clean from trash! And let’s celebrate that we can safely do so again.

When: Saturday, May 8, from 9 am to noon, rain or shine. Come for all or part of the time. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Where: The intersection of Hoitt and Luttrell, by the greenway.

We will provide water and snacks, gloves, trash bags, rakes, grappling hooks, and ropes. And hand sanitizer! We will follow CDC guidelines. Children are welcome if accompanied by a guardian.

When we are done we will order pizza as a reward for our hard work (we may need a few dollars from everyone to cover the cost in these lean times).

For more info, contact Margareth Olsson.

March board meeting: Hail and farewell

At the March Old North Knoxville board meeting, Pete Creel was elected to serve as president for 2021. Joy Guilford will continue to serve as treasurer and Donna Spencer as secretary. The vice president slot remains open.

The board thanks outgoing officers Susie Laise Smith, president, and Jessica Larsen-Varney, vice president, who both served for two years.

Also leaving the board with thanks are Beth Booker, Beth Bostrum, and longtime Historic Zoning Commission liaison James Pierce.

Newly elected board members are Veronica Cordell, Maegan Martin, and Sean Bolen, who will serve as HZC liaison.

Board meetings take place the first Monday of every month and are currently being conducted over Zoom. If you’d like to attend, email Donna Spencer,

ONK neighbors: Sign up to vote in 2021 board elections

We’ll be electing new board members in a Zoom meeting Monday, February 8, 6:30pm.

All ONK neighbors are invited to join online or by phone. Email Donna Spencer,, for login information.

Monthly potluck meetings will resume as soon as it’s safe to gather—meanwhile, keep in touch online here and at (registration required).

ONK Part of City’s Holiday Trails Starting November 30

With so many area festivities canceled this year (including our own Holiday Home Tour), the city is sponsoring a Knoxville Neighborhood Holiday Trails events beginning November 30, encouraging people to celebrate safely by driving and walking through neighborhoods to view lights and decorations.

The official ONK route follows East Scott from Central to Kenyon, then proceeds along Kenyon to Armstrong, West Glenwood, and back down Oklohama to Central. View a map of the route.

For more information and a list of all participating neighborhoods, see the City of Knoxville’s Holiday Trails page.