Louisa Residential Historic District
The Louisa Residential Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2012, The Gombach Group.
The Louisa Residential Historic District is a concentration of architecturally distinctive buildings which, as a group, are unique in Louisa and unusual in the region. The District was the home of many of the community's leaders throughout the century beginning around 1840. As such, the district mirrors a segment of Louisa's economic and social development during much of the town's history.
The district's building types and styles range from antebellum vernacular to the period revival styles of the early twentieth century. Individually, several of the resources are simply well preserved representative examples of their type or style, while certain houses, such as the 1890s Castle House and Burns House of 1911, are Lawrence County's most notable examples of their respective modes.
The fact that such houses are grouped together in Eastern Kentucky, a region known for its humble and unpretentious structures often inexpensively and non-substantial and poorly maintained, is in itself significant. Throughout the area and more particularly in Lawrence County, there are relatively few carefully constructed, sizable and fashionable historic dwellings such as those characterizing the Louisa Residential Historic District.
In the variety of styles and the approximately 100-year period in which they were erected, the district's buildings express the town's general development from its early settlement to modern times. The structures' careful construction and stylishness reflect the accomplishments of Louisa and Lawrence County's foremost businessmen, professionals and civic leaders, many of whom built and purchased houses in the district. State legislators, judges, doctors, developers and merchants have resided in the district from the 1840s through the town's heyday at the turn of this century and beyond. Although little construction has occurred here since 1940, local recognition of the district's historical importance is evident in the area's continued status as the home of prominent Louisa citizens.
The adjectives "vernacular" and "popular" best describe the Louisa Residential Historic District's built environment. Despite the apparent absence of architect-designed buildings, several houses built in the latter part of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth are quite stylish, evidently derived from builders' guides or mail order sources. The least embellished buildings are the three antebellum houses, which are log and wood-framed (probably balloon). Seven houses date to the 1890s and six represent the three decades ending in 1940. Weatherboards predominate among exterior materials. Five of the historic houses and one church display brick exteriors ranging from deep red to ochre. The other church and its parsonage stand out from the rest due to their elevations of rusticated concrete block, a material that was popular during the 1910s elsewhere in Louisa.
† Author(s) not listed, Louisa Residential Historic District, Historic Resources of Louisa, Kentucky, nomination document, 1988, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.