Old Louisville Residential District
The Old Louisville Residential District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975; additional boundary and descriptive information was added in 1984. [†] Portions of the content of this web page were adapted from copies of the original nomination documents. Adaptation copyright © 2015, The Gombach Group.
The Old Louisville Residential District is a large Victorian neighborhood, just south of the central business district of Louisville, and is considered the architectural embodiment of Louisville at the turn of the century. The residential styles incorporated into the fabric of Old Louisville include the Italianate Villa, High Victorian Gothic, Queen Anne, Richardsonian Romanesque, Chateauesque, Renaissance Revival and Colonial Revival. Most of these are best represented in the large homes which line Second, Third and Fourth Streets and St. James and Belgravia Courts. In the large areas surrounding the mansions, however, are abundant examples of the Arts and Crafts and Bungalow styles, as well as the vernacular styles indigenous to Louisville.
The residences located at First and Kentucky Streets are representative of these vernacular styles, dating from 1883 to 1927, 105 W. Kentucky Street, the earliest of these residences, was built in 1883, the year of the great Southern Exposition. It is a simple Italianate residence with decorative detailing. Next door at No. 103, is an 1886 Victorian vernacular structure with equally fine detailing. Apartment buildings flank these residences. The Speed, at 107-109 W. Kentucky, was built in 1912 and the Kentucky, at 101 W. Kentucky was built in 1927. Both buildings are vernacular styles with detailing in stone and brick.
101 East Kentucky is one of the district's finest examples of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Large and multiple stone arches fill the fenestration of this two-and-one-half-story residence. Its corner location gave the designer an opportunity to fill two facades with Richardsonian motifs.
A vacant lot separates 101 E. Kentucky Street from the Engelhard School. Built in 1887 as the Kentucky Street School and designed by D. X. Murphy, this Italianate, three-story brick building is residential in character and blends well with the adjacent structures.
Another grouping of residential structures which are representative of the vernacular building styles in Old Louisville is found on Park Avenue in the 600 block, south side. This block contains two shotgun cottages and one Princess Anne, one Italianate and one carriage house. The shotguns have identical facade details. The cornices are on a diagonal plane and decorated with cloverleaf designs and small engaged brackets. The door and window hoods of No. 624 were removed upon the ca. 1920 introduction of a simple porch. No. 626, however, retains its decorative hoods.
620 Park Avenue is intact, 1893 "Princes Anne" residence, sheathed in fish scale and shake shingles and beaded clapboard. An Eastlake porch and decorative attic vent grill further embellish the facade of this residence.
No. 618 is a modest 1889 Italianate residence embellished with stone lintels and a door hood with stylized brackets. A recessed side entrance is clearly visible from the alley. To the rear of No. 618 is a carriage house which has been appropriately renovated into a single family dwelling.
The Old Louisville Residential District is the largest collection of High Victorian architecture in the city of Louisville. The high styles are further complimented by the eclectic, vernacular and generally modest styles which are found throughout the district, and particularly on the edges of the district.
Old Louisville as a prestigious residential area began developing as early as the 1850s. Over the next sixty years, the city's leading architects were commissioned to design dozens of homes, for the local mercantile, industrial and professional figures. These homes demonstrate the rich diversity of styles which epitomize the eclecticism, picturesqueness and individuality of the Victorian era. More importantly the buildings illustrate a continuous process of stylistic change which can be traced both chronologically and geographically.
The most modest styles of the residences found in the 600 block, south side, of Park Avenue are examples of the vernacular styles typical of the areas on the edge of the district. This block of residences provides a visual buffer to the district from the encroachment of industry on Seventh Street. The buildings across Park Avenue and across the alley west of Sixth Street are all within the present district boundary. The addition of this block of five structures further strengthens this corner of the district. The structures to be amended reflect the quality of architecture in these same adjacent areas. Their introduction into the district will further the architectural consistency of the district.
Likewise, the north side of Kentucky Street in the 100 east and west blocks, contains representative examples of vernacular styles of both single family and apartment buildings found throughout the district. The Engelhard School is also within this block and further contributes to the cohesive character of the area. These two blocks provide a buffer to the north end of the district, and are similar to the structures found on the south side of Kentucky Street. The sense of closure to the district is very strong at the intersection of First and Kentucky Streets.
The 1000 block of Fourth Avenue, west side, contains three architecturally and/or historically significant structures; the Bayly-Schroering House the Mayor Jacob House and the Lincoln Apartments. Noncontributing elements are located on each corner and in the center of the block, but the boundaries are drawn so as to eliminate both corners. Again, the character of this block in spite of the recent construction, is consistent with that across the street and the sense of district, of time and place, is created by both sides of this block.
† M. A. Allgeier, Director of Research, Louisville Landmarks Commission, Old Louisville Residential District Boundary Increase, nomination document, 1984, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.