Posted in: Louisville attractions, Louisville Information, Louisville Neighborhoods, Louisville Real Estate, Old Louisville, What to do in Louisville, Author: Younger Group (March 17, 2011)
Old Louisville has hit the news lately, due to a proposed new ordinance which permits live music in the western section of the neighborhood near 7th and Oak Street. Lest you think Old Louisville is a dead and archaic part of town, think again. This small area near Limerick is currently zoned residential, but Old Louisville is home to many restaurants, bars, and coffeehouses that offer live music as part of their ambiance.
The ordinance, needs approval from Mayor Greg Fischer, opens up many new opportunities for the neighborhood. Dan Driskell, president of the Old Louisville Chamber of Commerce is excited that about the prospect of new nightlife in the area.
Old Louisville is a National Preservation District, the third largest in the nation, and the largest Victorian district in the United States. Originally a haven for the wealthy, the area was home to spacious elegant mansions which were converted to boarding houses or apartments beginning in the 1930’s. By the 1960’s, the neighborhood was debilitated and a likely target of the wrecking ball. Due to the efforts of newspaper man J. Douglass Nunn, who saw the beauty of stained glass and Victorian architecture beneath the decay, local activists promoted restoration. Ironically, the name “Old Louisville,” derives from this time period. By 1975, the area was named a historic preservation area.
Now bounded by Kentucky Street to the north, Avery Street (Cardinal Boulevard) to the south, I-65 to the east, the CSX railroad tracks to the west, the neighborhood is smaller than it once was. Spanning over 1,200 acres, It is still large enough to contain five census tracts populated largely by young professionals and students from nearby colleges, the University of Louisville and Spaulding University. The 48 blocks of Old Louisville include 16 churches (plus 3 converted to other uses), 4 museums, 11 bed and breakfast inns, 10 schools and universities, 6 parks and playgrounds.
Currently, the neighborhood is noted for several things:
Architecture: With a collection of Queen Anne, Richardson Romanesque, Chateauesque, Renaissance Revival, Venetian, Colonial, and Gothic homes, Old Louisville offers the largest collection of Victorian homhttp://activerain.com/action/blogs_admin/writees in a single historic district in the United States and the largest collection of residential stained glass and art glass windows. Some of these architectural masterpieces are on display in the Louisville Tours of Homes at Christmas or area walking tours.
Food and drink: The young population supports many established restaurants as well as new offerings. Bearno’s Little Sicily on S. Fourth was voted the Best Pizza in Louisville for several years, while the burgers and pub food at the Granville on S. Third, the Tavern on S. Forth, and the Rudyard Kipling on West Oak pack in the patrons. With live music and great coffee, espresso, tea, or specialty drinks, the Old Louisville Coffeehouse on S. Fourth draws all elements of the neighborhood population. If you want 4-star elegance and New Wave cuisine, there is Buck’s on W. Ormsby Ave in the Mayflower Hotel.
Culture: Old Louisville’s Central Park hosts Shakespeare in the Park is held in each summer, arts festivals, and concerts. The famed St. James Court Art show is held every fall in the birthplace of area restoration throughout St. James and Belgravia Courts, Fountain Court, along Third, Fourth and Magnolia Streets.
Ghosts: The abundance of old Victorian homes have given Old Louisville the reputation of being haunted. A recent issue of the The Economist discussed this phenomenon, while Ghosts of Old Louisville Tour take place every Friday night.
Derby Events: With Churchill Downs just south, Old Louisville is home to Kentucky Derby Festival Headquarters and hub of activity for Derby Day festivities. The park is at 30-60 minute walk away, which may beat fighting traffic jams on the big day in early May.
iPhone App: Old Louisville recently had the distinction of having an i-phone application introduced for it, Available as an ITunes Store downloads, the application features: suggestions for walking tours, descriptions of architectural styles, old photos, Louisville event calendar, and a one-click-to-share building locator.
Once Old Louisville is rezoned to allow music in more restaurants, the neighborhood may experience greater development which can only build on the great attractiveness of this neighborhood.
Looking for a home with a lot of history? My team and I at Younger Group Real Estate can show you affordable homes within your budget in Old Louisville, Butchertown, St. Matthews, The Highlands, and other great Louisville neighborhoods. We know Louisville!