Old Louisville Walking Tour


From the Old Louisville Information Center building in Central Park, exit west onto Magnolia Avenue.  Cross over Sixth Street and Magnolia Avenue.  See area map.

Walk along the west side of Sixth Street until reaching the beginning of the tour at 1412 S. Sixth Street

As Dr. Milton Board drives up Sixth Street in his new 1926 Vauxhall, he can hear the horseshoes striking their posts in Central Park.  When he turns the corner at Ormsby, the ringing of the shoes gives way to the ringing hammers if the carpenters as the Mayflower Apartments on Ormsby take shape..  His friend, Dr. P. F. Barbour, turns the corner into Garvin Place in front of him.  Dr. Board waves and stops in front of Mrs. Hattie Speed's house, where hurried preparations are going on in the music room.   Piano tuners are readying the four grand pianos for tomorrow night's benefit performance.  "Miss Hattie" has arranged an all-day fund raiser to benefit Dr. Board's indigent patients who reside in his sanitarium on Sixth Street.  Mr. C. Lee Cook will host the event

Many of the architects who live on neighboring St. Catherine Street (Limerick Tour) are setting up exhibits which illustrate some of the famous buildings they have designed in Louisville.  Arthur Loomis, the architect of the just completed J. B. Speed Art Museum, is doing a special exhibit to explain the museum's construction.

Dr. Board is inviting everyone to tour the sanitarium tomorrow as part of the day's activities.  Let's go ahead of the crowd to view this interesting slate house from the outside.


1. 1412 S. Sixth Street    (1867)
Elisha Levering, bookseller

This structure, known as the "old slate house" was a medical facility from 1892 until 1916.  In 1981 an architect purchased both 1412 and 1408 and rehabilitated them.


2. 1413 S. Sixth Street    (1910)
Cabbage Patch Settlement House
Vernacular with Bungalow influences

Look across the street to see the Cabbage Patch Settlement House, established by Louise Marshall at this location in 1929 to provide opportunities and programs for inner-city residents, particularly young people.  This western area of Old Louisville became known as Cabbage Patch because of the main crop grown by the many truck farmers.


3. 1408 S. Sixth Street    (1908-1909)
Dr. Milton Board, physician

Dr. Board built this structure as his residence to match his sanitarium at 1412.  The buildings were connected until 1978.  It has a contemporary four level interior.


4. 1362-1364 S. Sixth Street    (1875)
Bennet Young, attorney

One of the first houses on the block, it became rental property in 1889 and was returned to a single family dwelling in 1989.  It is a good example of a modest middle-class, multiple-family dwelling of the Victorian Era.


5. 1352 S. Sixth Street    (1898)
Princess Anne
W. A. Latimer, carpenter

Rehabilitation has resulted in this home losing much of its historical definition.   The front porch, with decorative spindles, remains one Victorian Characteristic.


6. 1350 S. Sixth Street    (1882)
Italianate "shotgun"
B. S. Randolph, foreman, Steam Forge Works

This is a fine example of a small Victorian dwelling with traditional design.


7. 1340-1344 S. Sixth Street    (1889)
Victorian Vernacular
S. T. Moore, auctioneer

the entrance bay to the right contains a recessed entrance and door hood on the first floor and single windows with stone lintels on the second and third floors


8. 1338 S. Sixth Street    (1904)
J. P. Rehm, engineer, L&N Railroad

This is a two-bayed brick building with a one story classical porch with dentils.   Decorative wrought iron was added later.  Scalloped wood shakes top the building


Turn west onto Park Avenue from Sixth Street


9. 614 Park Avenue    (1890)
Spencer D. Albright foreman, lumber company

In 1977, this property was condemned by the City to be scheduled for demolition.  It was purchased for $2000 and renovated--a fine example of how badly deteriorated properties can be salvaged.


At the alley, to reach the carriage house, then return to Park Avenue


10. 616 Park Avenue    (1889)
Carriage House
Matilda Higbee, widow

This loft-bedroom residence was the carriage house for 618.  It was converted from a mule barn.


11. 618 Park Avenue  (1889)
Matilda Higbee, Widow

This dwelling has a three-fašade bay window and terrace.  In the early 1900s, 617 (now razed) and 618 housed the Southern Brick and Tile Company, which manufactured brick and drain tiles.

Return to Sixth Street and turn north.  Stop at Floral Terrace before continuing to Ormsby Avenue.  Cross over Ormsby Avenue to find 1244 S. Sixth Street.


12. Floral Terrace    (1870) 

This was the sight of Floral Park, a private park with its entrance off the alley on the north side of Park Avenue.  Old Louisville has several residential courts like this.   The scale and closeness of these homes give the appearance of an intimate community.


13. 1244 S. Sixth Street    (1926)
Prairie with Colonial Revival influences
C. Lee Cook

Mr. Cook was an inventor, investor, and nationally prominent steam engine manufacturer.   C. Lee Cook, a Dover Resources Company, today manufactures pistons and ceiling devices at 916 S. Eighth Street
As Mr. Cook was confined to a wheelchair, the house has wide doors, ramps, and a shower room.  Notable in the basement is a double lap pool and auditorium for community forums.  An old mural is on the wall, but it is not known if it is original to the house.  No stairs were built leading from the first floor to the basement.  The house also includes a safe where Mr. Cook's patents were kept.  The main house replace one that was built in the 19th Century, which was destroyed by fire.  The carriage house is original to that dwelling and still has some old horse rings.


Cross over Sixth Street, then walk east along the north side of Ormsby Avenue.


14. 517 Ormsby Avenue    (1888)
Queen Anne/Egyptian Revival
Florence Irving, widow

The building's entrance is framed by a pedimental door surround that features fluting , brackets and squared pilasters reminiscent of the Egyptian Revival style.  Each dormer has a sunburst in the pilaster-supported pediment.  This Structure, in scale and style, is considered one of the finest in Old Louisville.


15. 505 Ormsby Avenue    (1883)
Victorian Gothic
Dexter Belknap, contractor

this was purchased in 1893 by James B. Speed.  His wife, Hattie, built a music room for recitals and concerts.  It connected the main house and the carriage house.   "Miss Hattie" founded and built the Speed Art Museum in 1925.  It has been reported by a recent owner that "Miss Hattie" returns each evening at eight o'clock, goes into one of the bathrooms and powders her nose.
The house originally had 48 rooms and 20 fireplaces.  It has been remodeled to suit the needs of business firm owners several times in recent years.  Architecturally, it is one of the outstanding structures of Old Louisville.  At the street edge, notice the stepping stone, once used for disembarking from carriages.
See  The J.B. Speed House, F&H Home Page for a detailed history and photograph.


At the intersection of Garvin Place, turn north and continue to Oak Street, just beyond the Garvin Gate.


16. 1236 Garvin Place    (1887)
Martin A. Wathen, President, distributing company

The stone ornament near the roof is the structure's outstanding architectural feature.


17. 1218 Garvin Place    (1890)
William McGrath, L&N Railroad

The landscaping enhances the architecture


18. Garvin Gate    (Contemporary) At the Oak Street Entrance to Garvin Place

The gate was placed there by the Garvin Gate Block Association to create a buffer from the commercial corridor of Oak Street.


Walk east along Oak Street to the front of 430 W. Oak, then return to Garvin Place and continue south to Ormsby Avenue.


19. 430 W. Oak Street/1205 Garvin Place   (1880)
James C. Hale, contractor

Henry S. Tyler, twice elected mayor of Louisville purchased the property in 1882.   Ann Hassett, Executive director of the Landmarks Commission for the City of Louisville, rehabilitated the dwelling and has lived here since 1977.  Major redecorating took place from 1891-1893, as evidenced by finding wallpaper under the wainscoting.  Look north from this location and you will see the Old Louisville business district.


20. 1215 Garvin Place    (1879)
Vernon D. Price, cider vinegar manufacturer.

It has a three bay fašade.  Louvered shutters are found on the segmentally arched attic windows.  Notice the formal perennial garden.


21. 1221 Garvin Place    (1910)
Classical Revival
P. F. Barbour, physician

The first floor has three eight-over-one windows flanked by arched multi-light French doors.  All have stone keystones.  The second floor has a single French door with an arched transom flanked by two sets of eight-over-eight segmentally-arched windows.


1233 Garvin Place    (1898)
John P. Cassilly, court stenographer

The Victorian Porch with octagonal pillars supports a second floor balcony.  Upon its completion, Mr. Casilly purchased the property for $2,100.


At the corner of Garvin Place and Ormsby Avenue, you can view the Mayflower Apartment Building.  From this point, cross over Ormsby Avenue, then turn east to continue the tour.


23. 423 Ormsby Avenue    (1926)
Mayflower Apartments
Italian Renaissance

In 1986, major renovation took place on this brick and terra-cotta, nine-story apartment building.  Today, it has 97 units.  President Truman is among the many famous visitors who have stayed here.


24. 422 Ormsby Avenue    (1889)
Richardsonian Romanesque
B. K. Marshall, attorney

The decorative cornice has brackets and terra-cotta panels.  Notice the stone turret on the east bay of the second floor.


25. 418 Ormsby Avenue    (1883)
Greystone Apartments
Renaissance Revival
T. P. White, pork packaging

The peculiar spacing of the stones is called rusticated banding, and is the building's outstanding architectural feature.

26. 414 Ormsby Avenue    (Mid-1890s)
Louisville Deaf-Oral School
Beaux Arts
J. T. S. Brown, distiller

Notice the orange colored brick and the diversity of decorative carving.  There are cherubs above the second-floor windows, shells above the third floor windows, and faces over the main door.
The Brown Distillery is still in business today in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

At the Fourth Street Intersection, you can view the Puritan Apartments before turning south along Fourth Street.


27. 1244 S. Fourth Street    (1913)
Puritan Apartments

Originally the very prominent Puritan Hotel, additions were made in 1925 and 1957.   During the 1950s, apartments rented for $700 and $800 a month.  In 1976, the Kentucky State AFL-CIO and affiliates purchased and remodeled the building to rent apartments to its retired and disabled members and to others who qualify for residency.   For directions, stop at the information desk between 8 AM and 4 PM, Monday-Friday. A restaurant is open from 11 AM to 6 PM seven days a week.


1322, 1328 and 1332 S. Fourth Street   were built by Mason Maury, one of Kentucky's leading architects.  When 1328 and 1332 were first built, they were reported to be the most beautiful houses in Louisville.


28. 1322 S. Fourth Street    (1887)
Frazier House
Richardsonian Romanesque
Foster Thomas

Mason Maury described this house for an architectural magazine as a "three story residence, 37 by 70 feet; pressed brick, stone trimmings, slate roof, hardwood finish and tiling, mantels, dumbwaiters, electric bells and speaking tubes, stained glass closets and bath, steam heat."  It cost $13,000 to build.  It is now owned by the woman's club of Louisville and is available for receptions (call 634-9437).  The Old Louisville Children's Center (daycare) operates in the rear carriage house.  You may walk back to this ornate structure for better viewing.  Notice the sculpted dog and horse heads above the door.


29. 1328 S. Fourth Street    (1887)
Richardsonian Romanesque
Williamson Bacon

There is a tower with columnar loggia on the left side of the fašade.  Exquisite carvings in the gable and foliage enliven the corners of the massive porch, which has squat Romanesque columns.


30. 1332 S. Fourth Street    (1887)
Richardsonian Romanesque
Judge Russell Houston, President, L&N Railroad

Note the chimney in the window on the park side and the large balcony in the rear of the house.  Also notice the seashell effect on the rounded window on the south side.
Now the Inn at the Park.


The tour ends at the intersection of Fourth Street and Park Avenue, at the northeast corner of Central Park.


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