By 1900, Memphis's growth had pushed the city limits east of the district's 511 acres, originally settled in 1830 by Solomon Rozelle. With its convenient access to downtown via the new trolley lines, Central Gardens underwent intensive development in order to fill the demand for suburban housing away from the congestion of the business district. Many of the city's most prominent citizens were early Central Gardens residents, including Walter Chandler, Edward Hull "Boss" Crump, C.P.J. Mooney, and Abe Plough.
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Developed from the 1900s to the 1930s as about forty different subdivisions, the district was named Central Gardens in 1967. The district's eclectic architecture is unified by the consistency of massing, scale, cornice height, and setback; the result is an early twentieth century neighborhood with the distinctive quality of ordered diversity. The wide range of architectural styles reflects the varied tastes of the original owners, while the creative interpretation of these styles was accomplished by a number of talented Memphis architects, including M.H. Furbringer; Walk Jones, Sr.; George Mahan, Jr.; J. Frazer Smith; and Neander M. Woods, Jr.