The Old Louisville Journal

A Monthly Summary of News and Events in Old Louisville
Published by OLIC, Inc., a 501(c)(3) Corporation     

  Volume 29, Issue 2

February 2007    

Walking Tours Guide to Historic Old Louisville Neighborhood Introduced

By Nore J. Ghibaudy
(Louisville, KY – January 25, 2007) ~ In the eighteen months the Visitors Center in Historic Old Louisville has been open and greeted more than 18,000 visitors, the most frequent request has been for a guide and/or map of the Victorian homes. There are more than 1,400 homes in the forty-eight-block Old Louisville area. In response to this need, the 76 page full-color guide, Historic Old Louisville Neighborhood Walking Tours, “Showcasing the largest collection of Victorian mansions in the United States,” was created.
In addition to history and five tours, the guide includes a historic timeline of Louisville and the Metropolitan area from the 1700s through the 1900s, and features many of the historic attractions, time-line attractions and neighborhood special events. The tours themselves identify the year the home was built, who built the home, what they did for a living and unique features of the home.
This comprehensive guide is due to work that spans more than thirty years. “We know that each individual’s contribution at whatever point in time was done with love for the neighborhood, the desire to preserve Old Louisville’s rich history and the wish to share it with those who come to visit,” said Alan Bird, Old Louisville Chamber of Commerce President.
Building the Southern extension in what is now Old Louisville began in the 1830s when the first homes built were country residences. After the Civil War, Louisville experienced a tremendous surge of growth and prosperity. The single most dramatic stimulus for expansion was the Southern Exposition of 1883. Following its end 1887 the site was parceled off to developers, who created an area with much architectural significance. A variety of styles, ranging from the formal symmetrical designs of Renaissance Revival to the romantic Queen Anne and Chateauesque can be viewed within a one or two block area. Diverse colors, materials and scale abound in the residences. Three-story homes along Third and Fourth streets are the largest and most elaborate, followed by those in St. James Court, Ormsby and Second Street. Although pure examples of a particular architectural style are often difficult to find in Old Louisville, there are several predominant types of structures. They include Victorian Gothic, Italianate, Renaissance Revival, Richardsonian Romanesque, Queen Anne, Chateauesque, Tudor, Beaux Arts, Craftsman, Federal, Shotgun and Eclectic.
This guide is a collaborative effort of the Old Louisville Neighborhood Council and the Old Louisville Chamber of Commerce. The guide can be enjoyed by visitors to Louisville as a result of the in-kind and financial contributions of many of the neighbors, neighborhood associations, the Old Louisville Chamber of Commerce, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky Department of Tourism matching funds program. The guides are available at the Information Center in Central Park and the Visitors Center on at 218 West Oak Street.

Film Documentary On The Mansions of
Historic Old Louisville To Begin Filming

By Kevin Kouba
(Louisville, KY – January 25, 2007) ~ After completing the 76 page full-color guide, Historic Old Louisville Neighborhood Walking Tours, “Showcasing the largest collection of Victorian mansions in the United States,” that also includes a guide to the historic and heritage attractions of Greater Louisville, the Old Louisville Chamber of Commerce and the Old Louisville Information Council will begin another joint neighborhood project. The creative talents of Michael Breeding and his twenty-five year old Kentucky based company Americana Productions, has been retained to produce a thirty-minute documentary and marketing presentation on “The Mansions of Old Louisville.”
Michael Breeding’s unique and widely recognized style of enlightenment through excellence in quality and beauty has distinguished him as a “master artisan”. His strength lies in his ability to develop superior creative teams with a steadfast goal of superior productions. Breeding, has had experience at creating PBS-style documentaries and video marketing presentations. In addition to the thirty-minute documentary with a working title of “The Mansions of Historic Old Louisville,’ a shorter marketing presentation will be created for distribution to the motorcoach industry that will feature the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum. Filming of home interiors will commence in late February and is scheduled to be completed by June with a July premier.
A short list of critically acclaimed 16MM, 35MM, BETA and High Definition (HD) Americana production include:
· The Keeneland Legacy: A Thoroughbred Tradition
· Shakertown: Into a more Perfect Order
· All The Queen’s Horses: The Role of the Horse in British History
· Imperial China: The Art of the Horse in Chinese History
· Rivers: The Heart of our Nation
· Kentucky Place and Spirit
The Americana team is looking for Old Louisville residents who would be willing to open up their homes for filming. “We are looking for uniqueness and beauty of the Victorian era from a variety of home architectural styles from Romanesque to Shotgun houses”, said Michael Breeding. “If neighborhood residents have beautiful entrances, stained and leaded glass windows, ornate woodwork, staircases, light fixtures, fireplaces, that they are willing to share for this project we would really appreciate their contribution. I ask that they would please email the Old Louisville Chamber of Commerce at as I will be personally visiting locations beginning early next month.”

Editorial Policy: Letters and articles submitted to The Old Louisville Journal may be edited with regard to space and/or content. Letters to the Editor must be signed with a verifiable signature and address.


Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor:
Impatience in the Age of Instant Information
To the residents:
I am constantly amazed with the slow pace things seem to move when organizations and government are involved. Take the January issue of the OLJ to start. It was very late getting out last month. We were timely in pulling it together but holiday scheduling and the like caused it to be delivered at least 10 days into the month. Apologies to all for the tardiness.
Let’s move on the government. Reporting an abandoned vehicle on my street was met with extreme frustration. It was my understanding we have a 24 hour vehicle ordinance. A truck was parked on my street just prior to Christmas. A few days after Christmas it was still there but had developed a flat tire. Being the holiday season, I thought perhaps I would wait a few more days. After 10 days I reported it abandoned to MetroCall. The lady taking my report was very nice and very helpful and informed me that it would take two to three weeks to process the tow request. I was stunned! Why have a 24 hour vehicle ordinance if we have to then wait two to three weeks for action? Honestly, I couldn’t believe it.
Then, there is the issue of a missing trash receptacle. My trash receptacle came up missing in October. I reported it immediately and finally was “gifted” with a new one the week after Christmas. Again, I was amazed by the time line. I am ever so thankful to again have a receptacle but “six to eight weeks” to replace it seemed like an eternity at the time.
Perhaps it is that I live and work in the “Age of Instant Information” that causes these frustrations but then again it could be that the inertia that is sometimes a trait of organizations and governments is catching up with me. I have learned lessons, though, through my eight and one half years as a resident of this community. One is that we have extremely invested residents living here. They are a group passionate about this neighborhood and dedicated to keeping it family friendly and comfortable. Another is that we do have a city government system that does try to make it easy to get help when needed. MetroCall is a wonderful means by which to have your concerns and issues both heard and addressed. I can’t tell you how surprised I have been to get follow up calls from city officials to some of my MetroCall reports. Finally, though we all have very different experiences, the Louisville Metro Police Department has earned a favorable mark with me, too. I have what could be termed a “party house” across the street from where I live. I have called the police numerous times. Imagine my reaction when I received a courtesy call from LMPD to follow up on my “long-standing issue with the house across the street.” The officer who phoned me was sympathetic, responsive, and supportive. I truly felt as if both my voice was heard and action was going to be taken.
I suppose the lesson learned is “do not allow the inertia that sometimes exists to cause us to stop asking for assistance.” I have seen persistence by residents of this neighborhood result in many positive changes over the years. Make use of the many resources at our fingertips and stay involved, stay committed and stay passionate about our community.
In the December and January issues of the OLJ were posted numerous letters to the editor concerning selling packaged drink and the “collateral damage” this causes to the neighborhood near those vendors involved in the sales. This month, two residents provide a different view of the community discussion surrounding a wet/dry vote. Both sides of the issue have valid points and both sides of the issue seek to augment positive change for the neighborhood. Please continue to talk to one another in the neighborhood about this and other neighborhood concerns. Turn to the back page of this newsletter and attend one of the many community and neighborhood meetings. Come together as the intelligent and articulate community we are and let’s address this and other community issues.


Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:
My name is Scott Risinger. I am responding to some of the editorials in the January 2007 issue. My wife Sharon and I own Amici’ Italian Cafe at 316 W. Ormsby. We also are the former owners and originators of Third Avenue Cafe.
This might be a long one so hold on. Recently we have come under fire for organizing meetings with the business owners and our councilman with very little notice. I will explain. When I woke up on that Wednesday morning and read the “Neighborhoods” section of the CJ about an attempt to have a wet/dry vote, I was needless to say shocked! Can you imagine if you worked at Ford and woke up and read the headlines “Ford Closes! No Workers Kept! No Transfers or Unemployment!, No Options!” How sick would you feel in your stomach? No one contacted any of the business owners to discuss this before they organized, contacted the reporter, and decided this course of action.
I will give some history. Sharon and I came to Old Louisville in 1999 buying Zeidens Drugstore. While renovating the apartments we realized we were lacking in a variety of food choices.. We thought the best use of this corner was a restaurant. We contacted every restaurant person we could, but they all said the same thing,”a restaurant will never work in Old Louisville”, so we did it ourselves and as they say,”The rest is history”.After being down here working for years we moved here from the Highlands, all because of the wonderful people in the neighborhood. We do not just do restaurants, we also have invested heavily in rental property in the neighborhood, but whatever we do, we try to do our best. When we purchase a building, we first clean up the tenancy, then we rent only to great tenants! We are serious about our neighborhood!
We agree that there are problems that have been ignored for a long time, but is making the area “dry” the answer? I think not. I want to do some what ifs scenerios to see how it affects us all.
What if we asked Don Driskell not sell apartment buildings because the new owner might be a slumlord?
What if we asked David Domine to not write any of his fabulous books because it might scare people away from our area or they may disagree with personal beliefs?
What if we didn’t do the tours because someone may not like the buses and exhaust on the streets?
What if we asked the B & Bs to rent rooms only to married straight couples?
What if we didn’t allow everyone to use our areas for the St. James Art Show because we don’t like being inconvenienced?
What if all of our associations and volunteers were not allowed to be so passionate about our neighbors?
What if all of the brave entreprenuers were not allowed to attempt a business and create the American Dream?
What if we hadn’t had the Helgas, the Herb Finks, the Youngs, the Susan Colemans, the Warrens, the Mary Martins and Stan Murrells and all of the other tireless workers that makes us a great neighborhood?
What if the Churches did not feed the hungry. They would cease to be a Church.
My point in all of this is that we cannot push our values on everyone else. We moved to the neighborhood because we thought it was the most diversified and accepting area that we had ever seen. We really feel like we have true neighbors and we embrace that. We are unified with everyone in the attempt to clean our area up and make it the best that it can be. Lets not have disension or contempt, lets unite and show everyone why we all love it here. We cannot let the papers sensationalize our conflicts.If you have any problems with any of our properties or businesses, please feel free to email me at
Thanks, Scott and Sharon Risinger

Dear Editor:
In July, Amici Italian Cafe opened at 316 W. Ormsby. Owner Sharon Rissinger, formerly of 3rd Ave Cafe and BBC (on Fourth), is an Old Louisville resident, herself, and has dedicated her business life to providing our neighborhood with fine food at affordable prices, in a friendly atmosphere.
Amici delivers all of that.
Recently, however, in light of Sharon’s opposition to the proposal to turn Old Louisville into a ‘’dry’’ area, she has come under attack from several vocal—and many anonymous—elements within our neighborhood.
As Sharon correctly maintains, if Old Louisville is deemed a ‘’dry’’ neighborhood, we will lose all of the establishments which sell liquor—not just Rite-Aid and the small liquor stores. These lost businesses will include Amici, Buck’s, Carly Rae’s, The Granville Inn, The Mag Bar, The Rudyard Kipling, and The Tavern.
Independent restaurant owners in this area—except for the fast food variety—CAN NOT survive on the tiny profit made from food alone. It’s not their fault that we have panhandlers at Rite-Aid, armed-robbery-for-drug-money, and break-ins near the many half-way houses the city dumps on us. But these nearsighted folks who are pushing the ‘’dry’’ vote actually believe that ridding the neighborhood of restaurants that serve wine and liquor with dinner will contribute to a decline in our crime rate. They must also think that empty buildings and the end of new business in Old Louisville are desirable goals for our community.
Sharon Rissinger has been vocal in her opposition to this proposal. She has also spearheaded meetings with the local police division in order to convince them that our neighborhood needs to be protected as diligently as Bardstown Rd. against crime. She zealously guards and protects her block of Ormsby against panhandlers and drunks.
As any smart business person should, she realizes that driving business away from the neighborhood is NOT the answer to our crime problems. She knows that a neighborhood with fine restaurants is a neighborhood where residents walk to dinner, and their very presence on the sidewalks helps to deter crime. She knows that a neighborhood with restaurants, where residents can meet and take their guests, is a neighborhood which attracts other businesses. What gallery owner, for instance, would want to open in an area where his clients couldn’t eat as they shop?
But because Sharon has chosen to stand up to those who would drive her out of the neighborhood, she has been the target of some vicious written and verbal attacks.
Personally, I don’t drink, but I love taking visitors to some of our wonderful neighborhood establishments, where they can enjoy a cocktail with their meals, if they so choose.
Our problems are not brought about by the responsible restaurant owners who sell drinks with meals. Yet a blanket ‘’dry’’ designation must, by Kentucky law, include restaurants.
Those who are pushing this proposal aren’t willing to take the same responsibility for their neighborhood that the West St. Catherine Neighborhood took, last year, when we were inundated with drug dealers. After making our concerns known to the police and still feeling underserved, we took matters into our own hands—walking the streets at night, reporting any and all suspicious activity, etc., eventually driving the dealers out. Our streets are safer now, than they’ve been in years.
If you value a neighborhood with fine restaurants, then please please please support them. Dine at Amici or Carly Rae’s, instead of venturing to Bardstown Rd., the next time you eat out. Show them you care about their efforts to serve this neighborhood, by pioneering new business in an area that needs it.
Show these owners that the gamble they’ve taken on us was worth it. To those who would shut down our restaurants along with the irresponsible businesses that sell package liquor to drunks, try being pro-active, instead. Organize your opposition to those businesses, stand at their doors and demand that they clean up their acts. Call the police every single time you are panhandled, every single time you witness public drunkenness on our streets. Don’t turn the clock back on Old Louisville, and drive our property values back down, just because you don’t have the time or the inclination to deal with the problems of your neighborhood, head-on.
Sincerely, Jon Huffman

Dear Editor:
It amazes me to read the newsletter and discover how many people in this neighborhood are willing to give up the right to have a cocktail at one of our local restaurants, in order to keep the drunks out of the area!
This is not the way to handle our problems.
If you want our crime problems to disappear, then do something about them!  Get active and participate in your neighborhood association.  Alcohol is not the only problem we have here!  I’ve watched drug deals go down in front of my house—and then got involved with our neighborhood association (WSCNA) to work together to drive the dealers out!
It’s time to demand that our police enforce the laws against loitering and panhandling and public drunkenness.  It’s time to demand that the city help clean up our beautiful neighborhood!  We pay taxes for these efforts.
But we can’t give up a chance for our neighborhood to grow and prosper, with restaurants that need alcohol sales to survive, just because we can’t keep the riff-raff off the streets!  Because that’s what will happen if we ban alcohol sales—the only way Kentucky law allows the banning of alcohol sales is with a blanket ban in a given area—no alcohol sales at all.
What a shame it would be to lose our wonderful, growing collection of great neighborhood restaurants, because we couldn’t deal with the street drunks that buy package liquor from a few irresponsible vendors!
Sincerely, Barb Cullen

The editor thanks all who have written in regarding the wet/dry issue in the community. Future letters to the editor on this topic may be heavily edited for space and content. Please attend the Crime and Safety Committee meeting listed on the monthly calendar on the back page of this newsletter to make your voices heard on this and other topics related to the safety of our community. Thank you!


Summary of January’s Crime and Safety Committee Meeting:
By Helga Ulrich
Crime & Safety Committee Chair

There have been changes in the Louisville Metro Police Department which directly impact the Old Louisville neighborhood. Major Ray and Lt. Chip Jones are moving to the Investigative Unit in LMPD. Major Steve Green will be assuming leadership in our Division. After a welcome by the committee, Major Green shared some of his plans for the Division. First, he will be initiating an active bicycle patrol as soon as the bikes have been secured, sufficient officers trained and the weather allows. He also is hoping to get the mounted police to our neighborhood as much as their schedule allows. He is also committed to enforcing the laws diligently that will help reduce vagrancies, public drinking and loitering.
During the meeting, business owners reported having held several meetings with the advocates for a dry vote and the LMPD. Meetings were initiated by Councilman Unseld. Commonwealth Attorney Irv Maze, also present during those meetings, has been highly encouraged to prosecute habitual offenders to send a message that we do tolerate such behavior. The committee agreed to follow those cases through the court system.
Further discussions at the committee meeting brought to light that most of the burglaries (break ins) in Old Louisville occur almost exclusively in apartments, a subcommittee has been formed to look at possible preventative measures like criminal background checks for potential tenants.
Though our good friend Lt Chip Jones will be following Major Ray to the Investigative Unit, Major Green has assured us that he has already selected his replacement but does not yet have a start date. The C&S committee had an excellent working relationship with Lt. Jones. He was always willing to listen, and to do what we asked of him; anything that was within his power and resources. He will be truly missed but we wish him well in his new assignment.


The Youth Performing Arts School
William Shakespeare’s
 Adapted, Directed and Choreographed by
Gail Benedict
Original Musical Score by
Tim Murner

February 8 & 15 @ 7:30p.m.
February 9, 10, 16, 17 @ 8:00p.m.

YPAS Robert W. West Experimental Theater.

Purchase tickets now 485-8355 – limited seating.

Tickets: $8.00—senior and student discounts available

Contact: The Youth Performing Arts School
1517 S. 2nd Street
Louisville, KY 40208
(502) 485-8355


Click here for this month's Meeting's Calendar

Please visit our Sponsor's Page!


The Old Louisville Journal is published monthly by the Old Louisville Information Center, Inc. (OLIC), a 501(c)(3) corporation, incorporated in 1984, for the purpose of receiving tax deductible contributions. OLIC is affiliated with the Old Louisville Neighborhood Council (OLNC), a 501 (c) (4) non-profit association incorporated in 1976 to serve as the recognized voice of the Old Louisville Neighborhood.

Submit Journal contributions to the Editor:
Old Louisville Information Center
1340 S. Fourth St., Louisville, KY 40208.
Phone: (502) 635-5244

Advertising rates available upon request.
Please submit “Letters to the Editor” to the above address.
The 15th of each month is deadline for submission of all ads and articles.





Archived Issues of the Old Louisville Journal on-line:

       >> Current newsletter


Old Louisville Guide Home Page
Old Louisville National Historic District

Home, Newsletter, News/Press Releases, Old Louisville Business Directory, History, Historic Pictures, Vintage Post Card Views,  Spring, Autumn, TerraServer Images, Maps, Calendar of Events, Walking Tours, Architectural Styles, Architect's Corner, St James Court, Belgravia Court, St. James Art ShowMuseums, Libraries, Literature, Churches, Bed and Breakfast Inns, Restaurants-Taverns, Recipes, Visitors' Page, Resources, Old Louisville Places, Our Lost Landmarks, Old Louisville, the Way it Was, Louisville Links, Feedback

Search WWW Search

(there are now over 1300 web pages on
Click here for a comprehensive search of all 2800+ web pages on this server


Old Louisville National Historic Preservation District
America's Victorian Treasure

You are Visitor Number Hit Counter to the Old Louisville Guide since February 1998
We thank you all for coming by!