Preservation Louisville Announces 2014
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 10:00 a.m. press conference at The Historic Louisville Water Tower Park, which is one of Preservation Louisville's 2014 Top Ten Preservation Successes.


Metro Louisville's 2014 Top 10 Endangered Historic Places List

1. Vacant & Abandoned Properties
2. Historic Educational Buildings
3. Mid Century Modern Structures
4. The Ouerbacker House
5. Corner Store Fronts
6. The Roscoe Goose House
7. Historic Sacred Spaces
8. The Peter C. Doerhorfer House
9. The Historic Old Clarksville Site
10. The Old Water Co. Block Historic Buildings

Vacant & Abandoned Properties
Billtown Rd.
Listed in 2009: Vacant & Abandoned Properties are a large issue in our community, there are close to 7,000 abandoned properties, 93% of which are individually owned. Many buildings such as this farm house at 6414 Billtown Road are slated for demolition as opposed to being renovated for reuse. Shotgun houses are a large majority of the vacant properties in our community. Louisville has the 2nd largest inventory of shotgun houses and they make up 10% of Louisville’s building stock. Shotgun 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.

Historic Educational Buildings
Carnegie Library
Listed in 2014: Historic Educational buildings like schools and this Carnegie Library at 1781 Jefferson St. were anchors of the neighborhoods where they are located. These buildings were places where residents gathered and they helped to create a sense of place and ownership in the neighborhood. Many neighborhoods are losing these community anchors and many structures that are left are in need of adaptive reuse.

Mid-Century Modern Structures
Iron Quarter BuildingsMCM
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.

The Ouerbacker House
Ouerbacker House

Listed in 2005: and relisted in 2013: The Samuel Ouerbacker House at 1735 West Jefferson in the Russell neighborhood is a beautiful landmark structure. Designed by noted local architect Arthur Loomis. The city of Louisville owned this property and in 2008 the city planned to demolish the property. Concerned preservation organizations rallied to save the structure and an agreement was come to between the city and a new owner Scott Kramer of Studio K Architects. This property has been stabilized but until an adaptive reuse of the property can be funded it is still endangered. There was recently some information released in the media about a company acquiring this property in order to restore it with the future use being housing, and we look forward to it being a preservation success for the neighborhood!

Corner Store Fronts
Corner Storefront
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
Iron Quarter Buildings
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 Sacred Spaces
Lampton Baptist Church
Listed in 2013: An example of a historic sacred space that is endangered is the stately Urban Church located at the Northwest Corner of Fourth & Breckinridge Street just south of downtown. Lampton Baptist Church has had problems in recent years with very expensive boiler repairs & operation (as stated in the Courier–Journal) – that during the extreme winter months of cold, it almost caused the church to close down. The limestone edifice, integral education building features and the incredible centered dome light inside the sanctuary, as well as the pulpit podium of a ‘Giant Gold Eagle’, wings swept back, designed by famous Louisville artist Barney Bright. This is not an attempt to undermine or embarrass our religious community, but to draw attention to the need for continuously supporting building types that are the pillars of culture within our communities. Our community must begin to think how we can preserve and support our sacred spaces.

The Peter C. Doerhoefer House
Iron Quarter Buildings
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.


Historic Old Clarksville Site
Old Clarksville Site
Listed in 2013: Original Town Settlement Site, Clarksville, IN. Erosion along the Ohio River is the greatest threat to this archaeological site, portions of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places..  In 1926 a hydroelectric plant was constructed across the river from Clarksville.  The gates of the dam are aimed directly toward the Clarksville shoreline at the location of the original town settlement site and other historically important sites within the 279-acre tract causing severe erosion of the shoreline due to the strong currents.  It is estimated that nearly 500 yards of land mass has been lost since the construction of the dam.  Additionally, the site falls within the floodplain and is subject to seasonal flooding.  An added threat is the fact that some of the area is in private ownership and incompatible land uses threaten the site.  There are several junk yards in the area that have engaged in illegal dumping and filling activities that have adversely affected the aesthetic quality and environmental condition of the area. 


The Old Water Co. Block Historic Buildings
Water Co Block
Listed in 2005 and relisted in 2013: The Water Co. Block bounded by Second, Third and Liberty streets and Muhammad Ali Boulevard has 5 historic buildings that are endangered, the Falls City Theater building, Louisville Water Co. buildings, Odd Fellows Hall and Morrisey Garage. The Louisville Water Co. occupied the buildings at 435 S. 3rd Street from 1910-1998. Louisville Metro government now controls all of the land and feels the property is needed to expand the 4th Street Live entertainment complex. The land eventually will be leased to Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. for an expansion of the popular entertainment district and there was just recently information in the media discussing the future plans of the development of the block. We hope the future of the development will include the adaptive reuse of the exsisting structures.


Metro Louisville's 2014 Top 10 Preservation Successes List

1. The Historic Water Tower Park & Louisville Water Works Museum
2. Woodbourne House
3. Parkland Scholar House
4. Mercury Ballroom
5. Meta
6. Guthrie Coke Building
7. 518 West Magnolia Ave.
8. Evan Williams Bourbon Experience
9. Belle of Louisville- Engine Restoration  
10.  Silvercrest


The Louisville Water Tower Park & Waterworks Museum
LWC Pumping StationWaterworks
Built between 1858 and 1860 as part of the city’s original Water Works and designed by Theodore Scowden and his assistant Charles Hermany, the Pumping Station housed the Cornish steam engines that were part of the water company’s operations when it began in October, 1860. Scowden designed the station in Classical Revival to resemble a two-story temple with wings on either side. In 1971, the U.S. Government designated the Pumping Station and Water Tower National Historic Landmarks. The Secretary of the Interior at the time called the tower “one of the finest examples of industrial architecture in the world.” The extensive renovation and restoration, that includes the introduction of the new WaterWorks Museum, began in January of 2013. The Pumping Station restoration, which is the first large-scale interior project since the 1970s, brings the facility back to closely resembling its original pre-Civil War condition. Walls, trim and an early 1900s cast-iron spiral staircase have been restored as well as an elegant central gallery.

The new WaterWorks Museum is located in the west wing of the Original Pumping Station. The Museum highlights Louisville Water’s considerable archive of historic photographs, some dating back to 1860, films and memorabilia, and allows visitors to discover the company’s contributions to safe drinking water through its innovations in science and engineering. Visitors can see original architectural drawings, pieces of original water mains, meters and tools used to keep water flowing over the years. Exhibits also include an original steam mud pump as well as lessons about Louisville Water’s groundbreaking efforts such as riverbank filtration.


Woodbourne House
Woodbourne House- 2024 Woodford Place - Historic Briney Hall converted to Senior Housing by New Directions Housing Corp. Built in 1836 by Starks Fielding, the house was among the first 1,000 brick homes in the region and its 200-acre property originally included Big Rock in Cherokee Park.  For 10 years beginning in 1939, Rugby University School operated at the site. Broadway Christian Church, later Douglass Boulevard Christian Church, acquired a large part of the original tract in 1936 and built their current place of worship at 2005 Douglass Boulevard in 1940. In 1949, the church rededicated the historic home as Briney Hall. It was in continuous use until 2012.  Louisville Nonprofit Developer New Directions Housing Corporation oversaw the restoration of the Greek Revival landmark home and the construction of an annex that together provides 11 units for older persons. New Directions, a Metro Way and NeighborWorks America member agency, will manage the site.


Parkland Scholar House
Parkland Scholar House
Parkland Scholar House- 1309 Catalpa Street - Historic Maupin Elementary School converted by Marian Development & Family Scholar House. The Parkland Scholar House is an example of a wonderful reuse of a historic educational building, the renovation and preservation of the former Maupin Elementary School in the Parkland neighborhood. The collaboration between Marian Development and Family Scholar House has resulted in the Parkland Scholar House, which provides decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing through the historic renovation of the existing structure to produce 48 new affordable housing units, and the project was also able to utilize the Historic Preservation Tax Credits. Family Scholar House, Inc. has a mission of changing lives, families and communities through education.

Mercury Ballroom
Mercury Ballroom-Mercury Ballroom

Mercury Ballroom- 611 South Fourth Street - Historic Wright Taylor Trunk Building converted to the Mercury Ballroom by CITY Properties & Live Nation. The Wright-Taylor building was built by prominent businessmen John J Wright and Marion E Taylor in 1928 creating both retail and office space.  The most striking element of the building is the Gothic Revival style terracotta façade considered to be one of the finest in Louisville.  The building, which has been vacant for over twenty five years, has been renovated by City Properties Group working with the ownership team that restored the Henry Clay and its tenant, Live Nation.  Now called the Mercury Ballroom, it is a multi-faceted, live event venue and provides another anchor for the restoration of South Fourth Street in the heart of Louisville’s theater district.


Meta- 425 West Chestnut St. – Historic Schumann’s Click Clinic converted to the Meta restaurant and bar by Joseph Impellizzeri Co. The property is owned by Amagertorv LC, a subsidiary of a AlliedEquitable. Joseph Impellizzeri served as project manager for the facade restoration and is now representing the owners with his real estate services company, Libeccio Limited Company.  Multiple tradesmen were involved with the exterior restoration. The element of the project that took the most time was the restoration of the leaded glass casement windows on the 2nd floor. These windows consisted of a leaded glass insert, wooden frame, and steel hinges. These windows had been secured shut with nails, screws, and caulk.  The first floor is leased to Meta, a craft cocktail bar, event and music venue.


Guthrie Coke Building
Guthrie Coke
Guthrie Coke Building- 566 South Fourth Street - Restored as apartments and commercial space anchoring the renewal of Fourth Street as the SOFO retail district, developed by CITY Properties. The Guthrie-Coke building was built as a mixed-use structure between 1883 and 1885 by the descendants of James Guthrie an early civic leader in our community.  The building was handed down through the generations until in was purchased and renovated by a team led by City Properties Group.  The building is a key part of the South Fourth Street renaissance with street front retail on the first floor, the corporate headquarters for Volunteers of America Regional offices on the second floor, and 8 apartments in each of the two stories above surrounding an internal courtyard.


518 West Magnolia Ave.
518 Magnolia
518 West Magnolia Ave. Restoration and addition to this mid-century modern former art studio by Harris Properties (Tom and Nancy Woodcock). Built in 1940 as an artist's studio by W.M. Culter for his wife, the artist, Murah Culter, this property has been redesigned as a single-family home developed by Harris Properties, a family partnership led by Tom and Nancy Woodcock. In the Mid-century this building was well known for the women artists who gathered weekly for dinner and stayed to paint and sculpt in the large studio. This Mid-century Modern structure was neglected and planned to be used for storage prior to its purchase by Harris Properties. Built as a studio retreat in the days of the 40's, 50's and 60's, it now offers a contemporary lifestyle at the artistic heart of Old Louisville on Central Park.

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience
Evan Williams

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience- 528 West Main Street - Heaven Hill distilleries for restoration and adaptive reuse of this historic commercial building as the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience. The Evan Williams Bourbon Experience is a multi-million dollar artisanal distillery, immersive tourism experience and retail location that celebrates the legacy of Evan Williams, Kentucky’s first distiller and namesake of Heaven Hill’s flagship Bourbon brand. Evan Williams, who also served as an early Trustee of the City of Louisville, served as wharfmaster, and built the first county clerk’s office and city jail, set up his early distillery in 1783 near what is now 6th and Main Streets in downtown Louisville—almost directly across Main Street from where the new attraction will be located. One of the tasting rooms will be modeled after the interior of the Philip Hollenbach Co. Whiskey Distributor that occupied the building prior to Heaven Hill’s acquisition over 70 years ago.


The Belle Of Louisville
Belle of Louisville
This fall The Belle of Louisville is celebrating her 100th birthday and she just had her engine restored! We recognize the signature value of this important community treasure, and acknowledge the Waterfront Development Corporation for its continued restoration and maintenance. The Belle is the oldest operating Mississippi River-style steamboat in the world. Though we know her today as the Belle of Louisville, she was originally named the Idlewild when she was built in 1914 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was designed to be a ferry and day packet vessel (for freight work), and was also outfitted for her later career as an excursion boat. Completely paddlewheel-driven with a steel hull that draws only 5' of water, she was able to travel on virtually every navigable inland waterway, earning her the distinction of being the most widely traveled river steamboat in the nation. The Belle was named a National Historic Landmark on June 30, 1989.

Two engines (both built in the late 1800's) turn the paddlewheel, one on each side of the engine room. The engines work in tandem to turn the paddlewheel in an even rhythm. Engineers change gears by hand in the Belle's engine room just as they did when the boat was built. Piping close to the ceiling carries steam between the boilers and the engines and other equipment. Steam under pressure provides the energy to turn the paddlewheels, light the lights, and run the motors. The Belle's three boilers hold 6200 gallons of water.


Silvercrest- 1809 Old Vincennes Road – This Mid-century Modern structure opened in 1940 as the Southern Indiana Tuberculosis Hospital, and has undergone restoration and conversion as the Silvercrest Living Center, part of a planned retirement community in New Albany, IN. Perched on a hill overlooking New Albany, the facility was constructed in 1940 by the Public Works Administration to serve tuberculosis patients in southern Indiana. The main building boasted an Art Moderne design and provided individual rooms for the patients, unlike the wards found at most facilities.  Threatened with demolition just a few years ago, Silvercrest hospital will reopen with a new use as a high-end senior living community. The property was purchased in late 2007 by local real estate developer Matt Chalfant, who is now wrapping up the $20 million project that allows ‘aging in place.’

2013 Top 10 Most Endangered Historic Places & Top 10 Preservation Successes

2012 Top 10 Most Endangered Historic Places & Top 10 Preservation Successes

2011 Top 10 Most Endangered Historic Places & Top 10 Preservation Successes

2010 Top 10 Most Endangered Historic Places & Top 10 Preservation Successes

2009 Top 10 Most Endangered Historic Places & Top 10 Preservation Successes


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