Preservation Louisville Announces 2012
Top 10 Most Endangered Historic Places &
Top 10 Preservation Successes
A “most endangered” list is a preservation tool for recognizing sites with historic, cultural or archaeological significance that are directly threatened or in immediate danger of being lost. The “Endangered Properties” list has a long history in Louisville. It was initially created by Preservation Alliance, and in 1999 the list was taken over by The Louisville Historic League. The list is now compiled and published by Preservation Louisville, Inc., Louisville’s citywide preservation organization since 2007.
This year along with the list of "Louisville's Top 10 Endangered Historic Places" list, Preservation Louisville also announced "Louisville's Top 10 Preservation Successes" recognizing preservation projects that have successfully rehabilitated and returned a historic building to productive use. The lists were announced during a 2:00.pm. press conference at The Comfy Cow Ice Cream Parlor on Frankfort Ave. which is one of Preservation Louisville's 2012 Top Ten Preservation Successes.
Metro Louisville's 2012 Top 10 Endangered Historic Places List
1. Shotgun Houses
2. Colonial Gardens
3. Mid Century Modern structures
4. Park Hill district
5. Corner Store Fronts
6. Roscoe Goose house
7. Historic Properties in the proposed bridge route
8. Doerhorfer mansion
9. Paget house
10. Historic sidewalks/alleys
(Click any picture for a larger version)
Listed in 2009: Louisville has the 2nd largest inventory of shotgun houses and they make up 10% of Louisville’s building stock. These houses are found in many of Louisville’s neighborhoods such as, Portland, Germantown, Butchertown, Russell and California. Shotgun houses are among the most common late 19th century and early 20th century house types in the urban South. The majority of local examples were built between the end of the Civil War and 1910. Oral tradition attributes the name “shotgun house” to their distinct floor plan.
Listed in 2009: In 1940 BA Watson purchased Senning’s Park for fifteen thousand dollars. He closed the zoo, remodeled the structure and renamed it Colonial Gardens Restaurant and Grill. During the 1940s, Colonial Gardens hosted big band entertainment and dancing. It took on the persona of an evening club that included a full service restaurant. This important piece of Louisville's history is currently in need of development.
Mid-Century Modern Structures
Listed in 2010: Art Deco architecture and Mid-Century Modern structures are purely representative of 20th Century design. Both styles were rooted in the idea of creating a new design language for a new century as a way to separate from the elaborate architecture of the Victorian-era. Art Deco emerged during the Jazz Age of the 1920s and reflected the exuberance of the time. Characterized by verticality and stepped-back massing, Found on institutional, commercial, industrial, and residential buildings, elements of Art Deco and Mid- Century Modern structures permeated Louisville’s built environment and represent the design aesthetics of the early- and mid-twentieth century.
Park Hill District
Listed in 2008: The Park Hill district (bounded by Algonquin Parkway to the south, 6th Street on the east, 15th Street on the west; and Broadway to the north) was once Louisville’s manufacturing and industrial heartland. Thousands of Louisvillians worked here and created products used by millions of Americans. Companies like: American Standard, Henry Vogt, and Mengel. Now this district lays dormant awaiting revitalization. In the interim though, beautiful substantial structures are being threatened with deterioration and demolition.
Corner Store fronts
Listed in 2010: Popular from the 1840’s-1950’s: Bright, airy and proud these corner stores brought the necessary goods to a neighborhood without the big shopping mall or strip centers. Early owner’s also lived on site, which provided an extra level of neighborhood pride. These properties were the “General Store” gone urban. The freedom of these buildings allowed the lack of a supporting parking lot- making them fit within the same lot patterns shared by surrounding, tightly packed, housing stock. As the urban landscape has changed our habits have changed with them, the result is we now have to drive further to get the things we once could find at the end of the block.
The Roscoe Goose House
Listed in 2011 is located at 3012 S. 3rd St. and was built in 1900. Roscoe Goose acquired the house in 1912 and lived there with his brother Carl Goose, until his death in 1971. Roscoe Goose was an American jockey who captured the Kentucky Derby with the colt, Donerail. Sent off at 91:1 odds, Roscoe Goose stunned racing fans with a win that returned backers $184.90 for a $2 wager, a Derby record which still stands. Dubbed The Golden Goose, when his career as a jockey came to an end he remained in the Thoroughbred racing industry as a trainer and an owner. The Roscoe Goose house has had a lack of maintenance over the past several years and was owned by the church adjacent to the property, which is now vacant. This structure was designated a local landmark on May 22nd, 2012 by the Louisville Metro Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission.
Historic Properties within the Proposed Bridge Route
Listed in 1999: Since the announcement that a major overhaul of the interstate and bridge transportation system, all of the historic properties within the proposed routes were placed on this list. The League continues to monitor this process and attend hearings where necessary to assist in protecting these structures. This entry will remain on the list until a final proposal has been determined and all of the buildings fate has been resolved.
Listed in 2012: The Peter C. Doerhoefer House was locally landmarked in 2011 by the Louisville Metro Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, as a significant example of turn-of-the-century architecture in the West Broadway area. This house is one of the largest and most monumentally detailed of the American Four-squares in Louisville. This residence was built in 1908 for Peter C. Doerhoefer, vice-president of the Monarch Tobacco Works and son of Basil Doerhoefer. The land was actually part of the same lot where the elder Doerhoefer had built his magnificent home several years earlier. All of this land and both houses were sold to Loretto High School in 1925. It is now owned by Christ Temple Apostolic Church, which does not use the house and would like to no longer maintain the property.
Listed in 2012: The Paget House built in 1838 is one of the only visual reminders of an area in Louisville know as “The Point”. The area where the Paget House now stands has been known as “The Point” since the 19th century. The Paget House is and excellent representation of its architectural style. “The Point” was regularly inundated by the flooding of the Ohio River, which contributed to its decline as a desirable area in which to live. The Paget House was built for Ms. Margaret Paget. Ms. Paget’s great-grandson, Stratton Hammon, Louisville architect, designed a replica of the house for a client in eastern Louisville where it still exists.
It is imperative that the preservation of the Paget House becomes a priority. The Paget House is on the Endangered Historic Places list because it has deteriorated to an alarming degree over the years as various development initiatives have been considered and abandoned.
Historic Sidewalks & Alleys
Listed in 2012: Metro Louisville’s Historic Sidewalks and Alleys are a major part of our infrastructure in the older parts of our community. All to often the sidewalks and alleys in our historic neighborhoods are disrupted for utility reasons, which are necessary, but then are not returned to their original style once work is completed. As more work becomes necessary to maintain the older infrastructure in our community we hope for increased sensitivity towards what materials are used and how they are implemented in conjunction with our historic infrastructure.
Metro Louisville's 2012 Top 10 Preservation Successes List
1. The Comfy Cow
2. Lincoln Elementary
3. Silver Dollar Restaurant
4. U of L Freedom Park
5. Habitat for Humanity
6. The Garage Bar
7. Family Scholar House - Stoddard Johnston
8. Decca Restaurant
9. Marcus Lindsey Church
10. Louisville Free Public Library – Main Branch
The Comfy Cow
The Victorian house at 2225 Frankfort Avenue, adjacent to Genny’s Diner, in the Clifton neighborhood was listed on the Top 10 Endangered Places list in 2005. In 2000, the house was in decent, livable condition. But, by 2004, the owner had allowed it to greatly deteriorate and has attempted to demolish it. The Clifton neighborhood opposed its destruction and viewed it as a significant part of the historic Frankfort Avenue commercial corridor. Luckily for this Victorian house there were two creative gentlemen that had the inspiration to bring the home back to life. Comfy Cow owners Tim Koons-McGee and Roy Koons-McGee not only preserved a jewel of the Clifton Preservation District, they also brought with that their local ice cream business spurring economic growth in the Frankfort Ave. corridor.
After spending more than a year renovating a historic home in Clifton and razing the former Genny’s Diner on Frankfort Avenue, the owners of Louisville’s Comfy Cow ice cream parlor celebrated with the Clifton neighborhood opening of their third restaurant. The total investment in the home’s renovation, construction of an addition on the site of the former Genny’s Diner and the purchase was nearly $1 million dollars. Mayor Greg Fischer called the success of the Comfy Cow “a good story for everybody.” Tim Koons-McGee said the chain’s growth initially was financed by a combination of funds from his and his partner’s 401(k) plans and a third mortgage on the Koons-McGees’ home. “We gambled it all,” Tim Koons-McGee said, and “there were a lot of ‘nos’ along the way.”
The halls are alive with the sounds of music, drama, and dance at Lincoln Elementary Performing Arts School. In January 2012 the school held the grand opening of its multiuse performing arts wing. The $8 million expansion included a 3,000 square-foot black box theater, a state-of-the-art piano lab, dance studios, practice rooms, and more. The arts wing houses daily arts instruction as well as after-school programs with a variety of area arts partners, and is used by local community groups.
“This new performing arts wing is not only an engaging learning center for our students but also a unique showpiece for the city of Louisville,” said JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens. “While many other districts are limiting such programs, our community continues to support the arts in a way that spurs academic and cultural growth.” Lincoln Elementary School is a wonderful example of integrating the new construction and state of the art technology with the existing school building, for a unique blending of structures that the community can enjoy and be proud of.
Silver Dollar Restaurant
The Silver Dollar, which now proudly resides in the space that long housed hook-and-ladders in the historic Albert A. Stoll firehouse in the Clifton preservation district. The red brick firehouse (Hook and Ladder Co. No. 3), built in 1890 and named after a city school board president of that year, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, described as “an architectural gem in the Gothic Revival style.” New owners Larry Rice, who came from 732 Social, Michael Rubel, who has tended fancy bars like Chicago’s Violet Hour and Big Star, and local attorney Shawn Cantley have done an admirable job of renovating and re-purposing it as, well, a honky-tonk.
The 42-foot pinewood bar appears to seat about 30 tipplers in elbow-to-elbow comfort; the bar and the sturdy booths along the other side of the former fire-engine room are made with wood from the Old Crow Distillery near Frankfort. They’ve respected the feel of the old firehouse while importing a distinct impression of a Bakersfield farmer bar.
U of L Freedom Park
In 2002, the university unveiled a plan to create Freedom Park in the parcel of land bordered by 2nd & 3rd Streets and Cardinal Boulevard on the northwest end of Belknap campus. The park includes city owned land on which sits a 115-year-old Confederate monument. The park features historic tree plantings, historical markers, and outdoor exhibit areas with a plaza around the playhouse that commemorates Louisville’s role in the “universal struggle for civil rights”. UofL President Ramsey said “Freedom Park will serve as a starting point for a meaningful dialogue about our history, about the struggle for freedom and about our role in securing and ensuring freedom for generations to come.” Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said about the project “This is an investment in our educational environment that also helps preserve a piece of our heritage”.
Habitat for Humanity
After nearly 18 months of looking for a place to develop its Louisville Headquarters, Habitat for Humanity finally settled on the old Tip Top Bakery building in the Portland Neighborhood. The building was originally built in 1924 out of poured concrete and structural brick. It baked and sold bread to the community for scores of years and added a truck depot in the seventies to increase its distribution area. To the best of our knowledge the baking of bread ceased well before the turn of the century and the building was used for a variety of purposes including an internet business, air filter manufacturing and material storage. When Habitat purchased the building it was uninhabitable. The windows were boarded or broken and the roof leaked like a sieve. Habitat for Humanity raised funds from scores of organizations and individuals through a capital campaign and was able to partner with Louisville Metro Government to use Neighborhood Stabilization funds to help with acquisition and renovation.
The Garage Bar
Garage Bar breathes new life into an historic building in Louisville’s vibrant NuLu neighborhood. Located at 700 East Market Street, the building was most recently an auto service garage and historical records dating to 1918 show that it was a saloon.
The design of the space preserves its character as a former garage, and incorporates a variety of reclaimed materials. The exterior of the building was minimally changed with the exception of a large sign proclaiming, “Brick Oven Pies, Best Hams in Town and Clean Restrooms,” painted by local artist Monica Mahoney. Light streams in through the original garage doors, which were retained along with some of the windows and masonry walls. Exposed ductwork, corrugated metal, and steel surfaces contrast with the warm, natural woods of the ceiling and floor. Two communal tables add to the convivial atmosphere; these were fabricated by woodworkers at Woodland Farm from poplar joists reclaimed during the restoration of 21c Museum Hotel. The floors of Garage Bar are made of reclaimed wood from a building at 720 E. Market St.
Family Scholar House - Stoddard Johnston
The Stoddard Johnston Scholar House project combines many of the core values of the Marian Development Group, revitalizing and renovating the former Stoddard Johnston Elementary School built in the beaux-arts style in 1915 to provide affordable Section 8 housing and support services for single parents (and their children) who are pursuing a college degree.
As with many Marian Development projects, the Stoddard Johnston Scholar House incorporated sustainable and energy-efficient construction methods and materials wherever possible, with an emphasis on integrating existing revitalized structures and new construction to create a welcome addition to the St. Joseph neighborhood in which it is situated. This project was approved for a Historic Preservation Tax Credit.
812 East Market Street has been an important element to the Phoenix Hill Neighborhood since its construction. Architecturally, it is typical of 19th C. mixed use buildings found in the Phoenix Hill National Register District and throughout the Louisville area. Together with other buildings along the East Market Street corridor, this building is part of a cohesive commercial enclave typical of late 19th C. development patterns. In 1983, the Phoenix Hill National Register District was listed in the National Register of Historic places. In 2008, several Phoenix Hill neighborhood buildings associated with the Wayside Christian Mission were designated by the Louisville Metro Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission as a Local Landmark Complex. This building was included in that Designation and was determined to historically and architecturally contribute to the district.
In 2008, local entrepreneur and preservationist Gil Holland purchased almost the entire south side of the block to save these structures from demolition. Next he set about to find new owners for each building. Robin Norris of Robin Norris LLC responded to the need. Working together with her children Kelsey & Reid Norris and their associate, Chad Sheffield, this group of hearty souls transformed the old mission space at 812 East Market Street, into an upscale contemporary restaurant. Decca is a soulful and contemporary restaurant. Working with architects at Tucker, Booker + Donhoff, Shine Contracting, and designer Charlie Gabhar, interior designer Sharron Reynolds and consultant Clay Reynolds, this Wayside Christian Mission space has been transformed. Decca now brings the talents of San Francisco chefs Annie Pettry and Loretta Keller to East Market Street.
Marcus Lindsey Church
Marcus Lindsey Church was originally called the Main Street Church and comprised only the east half of the current structure, which was completed in 1888. Its congregation, dating back to 1845, moved from nearby Wesley Chapel on Shelby Street after buying the lot in 1887. The congregation grew rapidly, and in 1898 a cornerstone was laid for a beautiful new sanctuary, now the western half of the building at Main and Shelby Streets. It was dedicated the Marcus Lindsey Church in 1899, renamed after Reverend Marcus Lindsey, a celebrated Methodist preacher.
Restoration of the structure, which was beginning to deteriorate and had long-since been desanctified, began in February 2009 under the auspices of new owners Pip and Susan Pullen-Swope. At this point it was known as Marcus Lindsey United Methodist Church. The Church (as it is has been informally known) is in the National Historic District of Butchertown in the Nulu (East Market) district. Susan and Pip Pullen-Swope have worked to preserve and repurpose this significant Butchertown neighborhood asset. As a result, The Church now enjoys National Historic Register status, and serves as both living and commercial space — the first development of its kind in Louisville. The result of this extraordinary work is the certification of the project for the 20% Federal and State Historic Tax Credits. Long story short, an historic structure was returned to the tax rolls and Louisville gets an amazing new gathering space!
Louisville Free Public Library – Main Branch
In 1902, Louisville decided to take advantage of Andrew Carnegie's offer to cities to pay for Library buildings if the cities would maintain the buildings, their collections, and staff. On July 24, 1908, the present Main Library building at Fourth and York Streets was opened to the public. Carnegie not only underwrote the cost of this building but of seven branches throughout the City. The Library instituted an ambitious plan of services to both children and adults. Western (opened in 1908) and Eastern (opened in 1914) branch libraries were for the specific use of African American citizens. These libraries for African Americans were the first in the country. The Library system maintained a steady growth through the first three decades of its existence. The 1937 flood was a disruption, damaging 25,000 books and the museum collections in the basement of the Main Library.
It was once again in 2009, a flood caused damage to the Main library, destroying parts of its interior and books. The series of weather disasters that struck the region in 2009 caused great damage across Louisville, but the downtown branch of the Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL) is thrilled with the completion of its restoration. The branch was closed for about three weeks following the flood, and has since invested almost $12 million in its recovery. The LFPL utilized Historic Preservation Tax credits to preserve the Carnegie portion of the library that was damaged.
2012 WATCH LIST
Whiskey Row Buildings
(105-119 West Main St.) Listed for the 2nd time in 2009: The area originally called “Whiskey Row” was named this because of the buildings Cast Iron facades and the many whiskey businesses that began there. The historic Whiskey Row Block, at 101-133 West Main St., is a row of attached buildings built approximately between 1852 and 1905. Architects include Henry Whitestone, John Andrewartha (City Hall) and D. X. Murphy (Churchill Downs). Many were built and used by pork dealers and whiskey companies. The L& N Railroad Co. and Belknap Hardware Co. also had headquarters in the buildings. These properties located on the north side of the 100 block of East Main Street are in varying levels of deterioration. An investment group led by Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown has been working to move forward with development of the buildings. There has been a significant increase in the amount of funds necessary to preserve these buildings and recently Ms. Christy Brown and Mayor Greg Fischer and Metro Council President Jim King have made financial pledges towards the project.
In February of 2012 Preservation Louisville was made aware of an amendment that some Metro Council representatives were interested in proposing that would greatly change the current Historic Landmarks Ordinance. We believe the intent of this amendment is two-fold:
• It makes all designations require Metro Council approval.
• It would require a percentage of signatures on landmark petitions to come from within a one mile radius of the property which would make it difficult for designation in areas like downtown and Floyds Fork.
What we would like our political leaders to consider is that there is already a 40-year strong, democratic process in place that gives rights to everyone in our community to be heard in every landmarks designation case. Metro Council should make sure that the people in their districts have the right to be heard and in this situation that ability already exists! Bringing Metro Council into the designation process unnecessarily politicizes what should be a decision based on clear, historic and architectural criteria made by individuals with expertise in those areas. Designation should be based on guidelines and standards, not politics.