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How the “West” was Born

On Kete Cannon’s first birthday, her parents Billy Joe and Peggy Quick bought their home on Venetian Way in 1963. It is the house that Kete calls “home” today. Just a few years before the Quicks moved into West Homewood (simply called Homewood at the time), this area was considered unincorporated Jefferson County until 1959. The new homes and proximity to the city are what brought Kete’s family here, but it was the community and life they built that made them never want to leave. In 1971, Kete’s father Billy Joe opened VIP Realty at 709 Oak Grove Road, now home to Homewood Nutrition.

Kete’s mom Peggy was the librarian and phonics teacher at Hall Kent. It was Peggy who transformed the library into a media center. She sought the permission of the school board to make the space “less institutional,” and they agreed to her plan. She painted the library multiple colors, added bean bags, and created grouping areas for the kids. Her plan made such an impact on the children and teachers at Hall-Kent that upon her retirement, she was gifted with a painting of her beloved library that was signed by her students.

Peggy joined Billy Joe at VIP Realty, which was continuing to grow. She ran the office and sold real estate while Billy Joe served as the broker. Meanwhile, Kete grew up riding her bike on the streets of West Homewood, attending sleepovers with friends like most pre-teens do, and growing more in love with her community. After heading to college to earn her Interior Design Degree and enjoying a career that allowed her to travel, she knew she would end up back in West Homewood. In 1985, Kete moved to 665 Oakmoor Drive. It was the home where she welcomed her daughter Kaylee who was born on Valentine’s Day in 1992. Kete’s plan was to take the year off from design work and enjoy her time as a new mom. Meanwhile, the family business at VIP Realty, that had since relocated to the bungalow on 516 Scott Street, was growing, and Kete’s father convinced her to go real-estate school and consider joining the team. Kete took her real estate license exam in December of 1992 and began selling real-estate in 1993, a career she still enjoys today.

Being in real estate gave Kete flexibility as a working mom. She was able to be a part of Hall Kent’s PTO, attend birthday parties and events throughout the week and always be available to take Kaylee to dance practice. “I’ll never forget one afternoon while we were in the car at the intersection of Green Springs and Raleigh, Kaylee picked up her pink Barbie phone and said ‘This is Kete Cannon with VIP Realty!’ I thought to myself, what am I doing to this child? Am I working too much? I was a busy working mom, but I don’t think any other career would have allowed me to spend as much time with her.”

Kete’s parents retired to their second home on Smith Lake in 1995 but continued to travel back and forth to their office on Scott Street. It was always Billy Joe’s plan to keep their home on Venetian Way in the family, so Kete sold their Oakmoor home and moved to her current home on Venetian Way. Billy Joe passed away suddenly in 1999, and VIP Realty continued as a family-owned agency until 2001, though real estate was changing as small agencies began merging into larger companies. VIP Realty merged with LAH Realty that March and sold the building on Scott Street.

The West Homewood Neighborhood Association

Kete, who had lived in and loved West Homewood her entire life, had begun to realize that others in Homewood didn’t share the same sentiments about her beloved community. “Growing up over here, our side of Homewood was the new side. No one called it West Homewood at the time. Edgewood wasn’t the Edgewood we know today until young families began moving in and renovating in the eighties. I never knew we were the undesirable part of Homewood until I started selling real estate. It shocked me, and deeply grieved me. I would post listings, and people would call and say ‘oh, it’s over there’ and wouldn’t show up. I asked my dad why agents didn’t want to show over here, and he said it had always been that way. But he loved this community, and always reminded me to wait and see, that change was coming.”

Kete believes the feelings about our community stemmed from the annexation decades before. Edgewood and Hollywood were the original Homewood, and as we know, it would take the city many years to invest in our community located on the wrong side of Greensprings. Kete got tired of waiting and wanted to create the change she desired. She began hearing about neighborhood associations, and after digging a little deeper into the new concept, she believed this is what our community needed. She knew her neighbors took great pride in our community, and she wanted the rest of Homewood to hear about it. She printed off flyers and recruited her friends who went house to house asking neighbors if they were interested in meeting to form a neighborhood association. The support was unbelievable, and the first meeting was held in the cafeteria at Hall Kent. Out of that first meeting, the “West” Homewood Neighborhood Association was born, a name that has been designated to our community ever since.

The original group consisted of five women in the neighborhood, but elections were held annually. Residents who wanted to be a part of the association paid an annual membership of $25. There were official meetings with minutes, a newsletter, and street captains assigned. Kete was president of the association for five years, and over the years, the association began the National Night Out celebration, preserved Patriot Park from being overtaken by developers, and successfully raised money for new street signs to match other neighborhoods in Homewood. The West Homewood Neighborhood Association eventually ceased simply due to changing times and the need for younger neighbors to step in. Eventually that would happen. “Justin Limbaugh called me and asked to meet with him to discuss resurrecting the neighborhood association. I, along with Ginny Powell the last WHNA president, met with him and Erik Henninger who run the association today. I am thankful that they have taken on the responsibility, and I support all they do for our community. We needed a new generation of neighbors to continue the legacy of this great community.”

When asked how she feels about the recent progress in our community, Kete shared, “What’s happening here is what we hoped would happen overall. My Daddy was right when he told me to just wait and see…that ‘it’s going to go West.’ He would be so happy to see the new restaurants, Patriot Park, and the pool. I think our charm has increased, and our sense of community and pride in West Homewood is great! I love to see our community involvement and how we refuse to be complacent. That was our goal all along. West Homewood has always been ahead of its time. We have a community of diversity and acceptance, and we represent the real world.”

We'd love to share your story if you live, work, or play in West Homewood.

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