Preservation Louisville Announces 2015
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 Old Water Co. building.
Louisville's 2015 Top 10 Preservation Successes List
1. Crescent Hill Gate House - Louisville Water Company
2. Falls City Lofts
3. Hilltop Theater Building
4. Family Health Center - East Broadway
5. 1366 S. 3rd St.
6. Wolf Pen Branch Mill
7. Holy Grale/Gralehaus
8. Embassy Suites
10. 231 N. 19th St.
Crescent Hill Gate House - Louisville Water Company
Work on the gatehouse began in 2013 and includes both interior and exterior work. Except for repair work after the 1974 tornado, this is the first large-scale restoration of the gatehouse, which was designated a Kentucky Historic Site in 2010. The building’s slate roof was completely replaced and the 3,000 tiles in the terra cotta ceiling were cleaned and restored. The gatehouse is believed to be one of the only buildings in this part of the United States with a slate roof on the exterior and terra cotta on the interior. The terra cotta is light-weight and in the late 1800s was a good material due to its fire resistance. In addition, crews cleaned and repaired the limestone steps leading up to the gatehouse and reservoir. Part of the interior work included removing a ceiling that was added in the 1950s. Visitors now have a clear view of entire the structure. Twin wrought iron circular stairways have been restored and the original valves are still present. Designed by Chief Engineer Charles Hermany, the reservoir and gatehouse provided Louisville a 10-day supply of water when it opened in 1879. The gatehouse is still an integral part of operations, containing valves that control the flow of water in the reservoir and to additional treatment in the basins across Reservoir Avenue. The volume of water in the reservoir, 110 million gallons, is almost the amount Louisville Water produces daily. The three-story Gothic structure was designed to resemble a castle Hermany saw along the Rhine River in Germany. The $2.5 million restoration project was part of Louisville Water’s 2014 capital budget.
Falls City Lofts
The old Bacon-Debrovy Building on East Market Street (between Preston and Jackson streets) is now the home of Falls City Lofts. The first 40 feet of the building feature heavy brick walls that predate the Civil War—the cast-iron interior came later. Vacant for years, the structure’s beautiful Corinthian-column-clad cast-iron facade was covered up and the building was in need of restoration. With an investment team led by Andrew Bollinger, the $4.2 million adaptive reuse of a four-story, 30,000 square-foot building includes 18 condominiums, ground floor commercial space and 11 parking spaces on the lower level.
Hilltop Theater Building
This beautiful theater is located in the Clifton preservation district, at 1757 Frankfort Avenue. The Hilltop is the oldest theatre built east of Louisville, circa 1905. The building has undergone a complete renovation by Dr. Mo Deljoo. The original metal roof has been repaired along with the original chimney have both been restored. The restoration draws on the historical elements of the original theatre, including recreating its lost ‘exterior lobby’, complete with coffered ceiling, and art deco style pendants and globe lights. The ‘ticket booth’ has been recreated, now serving as a hostess area at the main entry. The original marquee sign has been carefully refurbished, and is illuminated with new energy efficient LED lamps. Ornate pilasters that had decayed and been discarded from the façade have been replicated and replaced.
Family Health Center - East Broadway
Family Health Center renovated the former Standard Sanitary office building, c. 1925, at the corner of Broadway and Campbell Streets. A five-story structure, this building now houses the East Broadway Clinic for Family Health Center. It contains the following functions: Urgent Care Clinic; Pharmacy; Adult Care Clinic; Lab; Women’s Health Clinic; Pediatric Clinic; and related support functions such as Admitting and Medical Records. The renovation involved numerous infrastructure upgrades such as new elevators, mechanical-electrical- plumbing systems, as well as all new interior layout. It was also strengthened structural for seismic code, and the first floor raised about 9 inches to be above the 100 year flood level. New windows were installed on the west façade. Of particular note are the interior artwork which contains photos of the surrounding neighborhood and landmarks. Cost: $8 million; 30,000 square feet
1366 S. 3rd St.
1366 S. 3rd St. is a beautiful Chateauesque residence built in 1892. At first it was a single family residence, but after several decades it was converted to apartments and then to a boarding house. It remained this way for years until it was converted to a bed and breakfast and then eventually sold to Drs. Williams and Stillman. By this point the interior had been repeatedly divided and re-divided and had suffered repeated ill conceived rehabilitation attempts. Drs. Stillman and Williams restored the entire home, turning it back into a single family residence. They applied an exquisite modern touch to the interior while still respecting the historic details. Today the home is one of the finest in Old Louisville and is ready to contribute to the neighborhood for another century as a fine example of preservation in the city.
Wolf Pen Branch Mill
Sallie Bingham, noted writer and founder of the Kentucky Foundation for Women owns the property the has been restored, the circa 1875 grist mill at Wolf Pen Branch Mill Farm. There has been a mill at this site on the bank of Wolf Pen Branch since the 1830’s; however the current limestone mill dates to circa 1875. The mill pond, mill dam, and raceway (c. 1830) date to the earlier mill on the site. The mill was operated weekly into the 1970’s. Sallie Bingham bought the property in 1986 with the intention of restoring the mill to operation. Ms. Sallie Bingham used to ride her horse on the property when she was young, today Wolf Pen Branch Mill Farm is 430 acres, along with the Water Mill, was purchased by Ms. Bingham in 1989 and placed under conservation easement with River Fields in the 1990s. In 2012, Ms. Bingham hired Millwright, Ben Hassett of B.E. Hassett-Millwrights, Inc., to restore the Water Mill. Wolf Pen Branch Water Mill and Wolf Pen Branch Farm represent a splendid marriage, when conservation meets historic preservation, made possible by Ms. Sallie Bingham. Over the course of two and a half years, Mr. Hassett meticulously repaired, restored, and rebuilt the mill complex. This restoration project involved many steps in a carefully laid out plan: completely rebuilding the mill wheel, repairing and refurbishing the mill machinery, rebuilding the interior of the mill, rebuilding the mill dam, restoring the mill raceway, and dredging the mill pond.
Built in 1905, this small Unitarian Church in the heart of the Louisville’s Original Highlands neighborhood is now home to the Holy Grale. Here you can come taste a variety of ever-changing beers from all over the world. Louisville Beer Store owners Lori Beck and Tyler Trotter shook up Louisville’s sleepy beer scene when they opened Holy Grale pairing great craft beer with good local food. Taking a once scared place of worship and turing into an awesome local gastropub.Behind the church property you will find a house that the owners of Holy Grale decided to restore and call Gralehaus- Louisville's first Beer & Breakfast. At Gralehaus you will find craft coffee & beer, locally sourced menu, hausmade sodas and more!
Embassy Suites recently finished a restoration of the old Stewarts building. The Stewart’s Dry Goods Building is a large rectangular structure located on the southeast corner of South Fourth and Muhammad Ali Streets (originally Walnut) in Louisville’s central business district. The complex is actually comprised of five structures that were constructed by Stewart’s, the original 1907 store building and three annexes constructed in 1937, 1946 and 1958. Stewart’s Dry Goods Building was one of Louisville’s most highly regarded commercial landmarks serving the region for 140 years. Embassy Suites has turned this building into an all suites hotel with modern ammenities. An historic building with a contemporary, boutique-like ambiance.
Located at 118 East Main Street in downtown Louisville KY, Indatus is a high-tech company owned by Phil Hawkins and David Durik, who had the vision to buy the Bridges Smith Paint "old paint can sign" building as the site for their new Headquarters. The Project was designed by Stengel-Hill Architecture, who got the property listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and designed the state and federal tax credit-approved renovations. The Project consists of two interconnected buildings. The first building dates back to 1875 and was home to the Paul Jones company, the distiller who originated Four Roses Bourbon at this location. The second building and the Main Street facades for each building are from the 1940's, when the property was known as The Miller Paper Company--the name that still appears engraved over the main entry doors. The 1940's features were constructed in the Art Moderne style, which grew out of and alongside the Art Deco movement. Notable as one of the few examples of Art Moderne in Louisville, the Indatus Building is architectural significant because of its sleek, stylized design, and how that design is incorporated into a late-1800's structure. Construction work included repairs to the limestone and marble facade, restoration of wood-paneled offices and showroom, installation of new energy efficient glazing in existing windows, and sprucing up interior brick walls, steel structure, and wood details. In areas where existing floor structure was removed, the heavy wood timber floor joists were salvaged, milled, stained and used as new plank flooring to dazzling effect.
231 N. 19th St.
The Rowan Heirs' building sits proudly on the corner of 19th street and Duncan Ave on the far east side of the historic neighborhood of Portland. The building was originally constructed in 1878 and was owned by Rowan Buchanan, grandson of famed Kentuckian John Rowan, and sits directly across the street from one of the first parks designed by, famed landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmstead. The first baseball game in Louisville was played in this park. In the 1960's the storefront on the building was enclosed in brick and the welcoming entrance was barred for security reasons. The store still operated and serviced happy neighborhood consumers right up until present-day. You can still walk the streets and people will ask when the next grocery store will move into the building and offer a convenient spot for their child to grab a snack for the movies showing in the park on Friday nights. Work+AD, an architecture and design firm have completed the restoration, opened up the enclosed windows on the building, and have located their local offices at the site.
Louisville's 2015 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
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 these shotgun houses 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
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
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
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!
*Update: Restoration work has begun on the Ouerbacker mansion by Oracle Group. We have been told that they have purchased several other properties on the area around the mansion and plans to rehabilitate all of the properties.
Corner Store Fronts
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
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.
*Update: We were happy to find out this spring that there is a new owner of the Goose house and they plan to restore the house and it will continue to be residential housing. The house is currently being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.
Historic Sacred Spaces
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. 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.
*Update: We are happy to report that 2 scared spaces have joined forces that will in the end preserve 2 historic churches and 2 congregations. While the congregation at Lampton Baptist church was looking for a smaller church building to suit their smaller congregation and with maintenance they could sustain, at the same time Immanuel Baptist Church had a growing congregation that needed a bigger church space and felt called to raise the funds and restore the building at 4th & Breckinridge. We are thrilled to hear of this creative solution to saving these sacred spaces.
The Peter C. Doerhoefer House
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
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
Listed in 2005 : The Water Co. Block bounded by Second, Third and Liberty streets and Muhammad Ali Boulevard currently has 2 historic buildings that are endangered, the Louisville Water Co. building and the Odd Fellows Hall. The Louisville Water Co. occupied the buildings at 435 S. 3rd Street from 1910-1998. Louisville Metro government recently entered into an agreement with Omni Hotels in which the Morrisey Garage & Falls City Theater Co buildings were demolished. There are 2 historic buildings left on the block: the old Water Co building and the Odd Fellows hall. We hope the future of these exsisting historic buildings will include their adaptive reuse.