Louisville After the Bombings ?
Conclusion

We almost didn't bring the subject up.  It's a little like beating the proverbial dead horse.  Except the horse isn't quite dead yet.

The outlook for the preservation of the best of what's left of the the distinctive old Louisville of a century ago is at best uncertain.  We cannot help but heap praise and gratitude on Bill Collins for his efforts in recently saving Louisville's Male High School as well as the developers and investors who revived the old Elks Lodge/Henry Clay Hotel (YWCA) and the surrounding area despite formidable bureaucratic hurdles from a segment of the city government.  In the case of Male High, the Jefferson County School board turned a deaf ear to community outrage at the proposed destruction of the marvelous building visible from Interstate-65 just south of downtown.   They had intended to build a stadium for another school  located miles away.  Mr. Collins, a local business man,  stepped in and was instrumental in acquiring another site for the stadium (a School Board condition), and purchased the old high school building.  Benefactors like this is what made Louisville a proud city a hundred years ago.  It is encouraging to know that a few of the old type are still around.

Nevertheless, in the past few years, fine mansions on Fourth Street were demolished for the expansion (mostly parking) of Spalding University.   The Milner Hotel in downtown Louisville (dilapidated but certainly with a great deal of character lacking in its replacement) was razed for the convention center expansion.  There is some concern over the fate of  one of the rare remaining downtown mansions on Third Street which was recently vacated by the Louisville Water Company. Most of the Iron Quarter block looks almost surely destined for the wrecking ball.  Petty demands from some of the city alderman delayed by years the hopes of finding an aesthetic and people friendly (pedestrian) solution for the Big Four, the oldest railway bridge across the Ohio River.  A noteworthy gleam if hope came with a new mayor (1999-2003), Dave Armstrong, who showed interest, care and  initiative in addressing some of these issues.  His tenure was too short.

We do not argue against the assertion that a city is more than just its buildings.  Yet the buildings are the stage and the all important backdrop.  They are what binds us as a community together in our memories and experiences and heritage.  They give us the sense of place, of unique distinction and of home.  If cities such as Paris or Rome or Vienna  had the same development ideas as Louisville and scores of other American cities, where would they be?  An expressway along the Danube? The Tuilleries as a parking lot? Perhaps a convention center on the Capitoline. To be sure, renewal and evolution must take place.  Wholesale clear-cutting without regard to "place" is never the answer.  Is it too much to ask that the "improvements" be truly an improvement?

Louisville After the Bombings?

Introduction
       

   

The Thumbnail Images

Acknowledgements

The Old Post Office
Demolition 1942-3

The Post Office in the 1920s
The demolished interior
The interior about 1900
Lincoln Park
Site of River City Mall-(4th Street, 1920s)

The 2nd Presbyterian Church
In ruins, 1956

2nd and Broadway
St. X College

The James C Ford Mansion
The Ford Mansion in winter
Enlargement

Inside the Ford Mansion
An Empty Lot

 

The Warren Memorial Church
Demolition, 1958
The Warren Memorial in 1923
Norton Hall
The Bus Station

The National Theater
In ruins, 1952
In better days
Show Time

 

The Masonic Temple
In ruins, 1956

The Rialto
Demolition, 1969

The Rialto during the 1920s

The Columbia Building
Demolition 1966

Columbia Building ca. 1900
Columbia Building ca. 1920

 

The Washington Building
Demolition 1973
In 1907
Cornice Detail

Clear-cutting the city
Wholesale demolition, 1974
The Tyler Block, 1974
Tyler Block, 1931
A Foreign City
Convention Center

Conclusion

 

ALL HOPE IS NOT LOST
After nearly complete destruction in February 1945 at the end of World War II, see what
can
be done to rebuild a historic city center. 
Click here to see absolutely amazing photos of the ongoing reconstruction of Dresden

(...reconstruction begun in 2002, and what has Louisville done in that time??)

 
Dresden 1980s                <<nearly same view>>               Dresden 2000s

(By the way, although begun as a public project to restore a world heritage site,
the reconstruction of Dresden has now gotten far enough along that the real estate values have skyrocketed.
Remaining un-reconstructed parcels are going for around $6000 per square yard just for the right to rebuild
historically faithful reproductions of former buildings ...including a palace...on the site.  check this out)

 

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
information@oldlouisville.com

Google
Search WWW Search oldlouisville.com

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

 

Louisville After the Bombings?

Introduction
       

   

The Thumbnail Images

Acknowledgements

The Old Post Office
Demolition 1942-3

The Post Office in the 1920s
The demolished interior
The interior about 1900
Lincoln Park
Site of River City Mall-(4th Street, 1920s)

The 2nd Presbyterian Church
In ruins, 1956

2nd and Broadway
St. X College

The James C Ford Mansion
The Ford Mansion in winter
Enlargement

Inside the Ford Mansion
An Empty Lot

 

The Warren Memorial Church
Demolition, 1958
The Warren Memorial in 1923
Norton Hall
The Bus Station

The National Theater
In ruins, 1952
In better days
Show Time

 

The Masonic Temple
In ruins, 1956

The Rialto
Demolition, 1969

The Rialto during the 1920s

The Columbia Building
Demolition 1966

Columbia Building ca. 1900
Columbia Building ca. 1920

 

The Washington Building
Demolition 1973
In 1907
Cornice Detail

Clear-cutting the city
Wholesale demolition, 1974
The Tyler Block, 1974
Tyler Block, 1931
A Foreign City
Convention Center

Conclusion

 

ALL HOPE IS NOT LOST
After nearly complete destruction in February 1945 at the end of World War II, see what
can
be done to rebuild a historic city center. 
Click here to see absolutely amazing photos of the ongoing reconstruction of Dresden

(...reconstruction begun in 2002, and what has Louisville done in that time??)

 
Dresden 1980s                <<nearly same view>>               Dresden 2000s

(By the way, although begun as a public project to restore a world heritage site,
the reconstruction of Dresden has now gotten far enough along that the real estate values have skyrocketed.
Remaining un-reconstructed parcels are going for around $6000 per square yard just for the right to rebuild
historically faithful reproductions of former buildings ...including a palace...on the site.  check this out)

 

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
information@oldlouisville.com

Google
Search WWW Search oldlouisville.com

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