Friday, December 28, 2007

More Louisville Urban Regeneration

A collection of urban regeneration examples from Louisville.

Louisville has a strong back-to-the city “historic district” movement that revived a few older neighborhoods. What’s interesting is renewed interest in the closer-in areas. In a way this is an extension of the urban renewal concept, but without the wholesale clearances that wiped out entire sections of the city

This will look at some of the areas just east of downtown. We’ve seen the Phoenix Hill shotgun revival in an earlier post

Liberty Green

Formerly the Clarksdale public housing project (built in the 1930s), this is a new housing area. The name is a pun on Liberty Street, which used to be Green Street. We are fairly close to downtown Louisville, as a skyscraper can be seen in the distance.

Off camera to the left is the Medical Center, which is expanding eastward. Medical Center was a product of the urban renewal area, locating most of the cities hospitals and the UofL medical school in one district

Market Street Area

This is a sub-area of Phoenix Hill. This (along with Portland and Butchertown) is one of the oldest areas left in the city since urban renewal cleared out nearly all of the remaining antebellum and Civil War era building stock.

Market Street itself is developing a gallery/restaurant/coffee shop/antique shop mix as the next commercial gentrification strip, since the Frankfort Avenue and Bardstown Road areas are so heavily developed. You can see an example of this in the corner shop with the red star.

Two old buildings on a side street just off Market. Old maps show the church as the “German Church”. But note that the commercial building is being remodeled (new windows). The alley is Nanny Goat Strut Alley. Billy Goat Strut Alley is a block to the north (alleys are named in the older parts of Louisville)
From the rear one can see the renovation better. Big windows on the upper floors are to take in a fabulous view of the downtown skyline
The same street, but note the building to the far left...
...a nice bit of new construction. Modern design, but fits in well.

Next door…
…is this modernist corner building. Across the street is Liberty Green


(from the historic marker)

This historically black community began to flourish following end of slavery in 1865, when thousands of African Americans moved to Louisville. Shotgun-type houses on closely spaced streets and alleys allowed both black and white landowners to profit from the dense settlement. Washington Spradling, Jr., a prominent African American, owned vast real estate in area.

(Reverse) Historic Area - Many in Smoketown worked in tobacco warehouses as cutters, processors, and haulers. Community had one of city's first African American public schools, founded 1874. Smoketown is only post-Civil War neighborhood settled mainly by African Americans that remains in city of Louisville. Presented by Louisville and Jefferson County African American Heritage Committee, Inc.

(historical marker isn’t entirely accurate as blacks lived in this area before the Civil War, working as slaves in the brickyards).

This area is just starting to see infill. Here is a particularly interesting example as I can’t tell if its new or old, as the remodeling is just so good in keeping the old architectural detail, or new construction is so accurate a match to 19th century vernacular housing.

Note the attention to detail. A lot of old houses have iron fences in front, separating the house and yard from the sidewalk. With these they put in a new iron fence, duplicating the 19th century approach.

The rear of the units. These are two-flats, AKA double deckers. Actually a pretty rare building type in Louisville from what I recall

And to the side, more of the same (with a huge old grain elevator of some sort in the background)

And, like in Phoenix Hill, copies of the old shotgun house style.

Outside the Central Area

This apartment building is on a road leading out of the inner part of the city, showing how new construction is starting to work more with the street, creating a street wall, emphasing corners, and putting the parking to the rear or on lower floors.

Next, a look at the Russell area west of downtown, which used to be the worst neighborhood in the city.

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