A Window into America's Past
Vintage Post Card Greetings from Louisville

(Click on a picture for an enlargement)

The Seelbach Hotel

The Seelbach Hotel
"The Seelbach, Louisville, Ky."
Post card mailed in 1911

The first "Seelbach European Hotel" opened at 6th and Main in 1880.  Construction on the new Seelbach began in 1902 and the hotel opened in 1905 at the corner of 4th and Walnut (now Muhammad Ali) as the grandest hostel in the city.  By the 1970s, the hotel was owned by the Gotham chain, which closed all of its hotels, including the Seelbach, in 1975.  The Seelbach was reopened by local businessmen in 1982, and has since become a part of the Hilton chain.

For a century, except during the late 1970s, the Seelbach has been Louisville's most prestigious hotel address, rivaled only by the Brown.  Over the years, it has hosted hundreds of celebrities and dignitaries including theater, film and screen stars, eight US Presidents, and authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, who portrayed the Seelbach (renamed "Muhlbach") in his novel, The Great Gatsby.

The Seelbach has been fully renovated and retains much of its earlier grandeur.  We say "much of", because, even as opulent as the hotel is today, it no longer has many of the dazzling areas we see in the views below, all from about 1910-15.  Gone is the palatial dining room, now housed in the highly acclaimed "Oak Room," originally the hotel's billiard room.  Gone also are the Gentleman's Café, the original marble-rich Seelbach Bar, and the roof garden.

Seelbach Lobby   Seelbach Dining Room
"Lobby" and "Main Dining Room
The Seelbach, Louisville, Ky."

Seelbach Hotel, the Ladies' Parlor ca 1910   Seelbach Hotel, Gentlemen's Cafe   Seelbach Bar
"Ladies Parlor," "Gentlemen's Café" and "Bar
The Seelbach, Louisville, Ky."

Seelbach Auditorium   Seelbach Roof Garden
"Auditorium" and "Roof Garden
The Seelbach, Louisville, Ky."

Seelbach Rathskeller
The Seelbach, Louisville, Ky."

Seelbach Hotel 1907
"Seelbach Hotel, Louisville, Ky"
Post Card mailed 1907
large view

Seelbach 1912
"The Seelbach Hotel, Louisville, Ky."
Post card mailed 1912
large view

The Seelbach Hotel, interior views from 1979,
Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record, from the Library of Congress' American Memories site
A Grand Old Louisville Hotel from Southern Living

Vintage Postcard Views of Louisville

Old Louisville 
     Second Street  
     Third Avenue  
     Fourth Avenue  
     St James Court  
     Central Park  
     The Confederate Monument  
     The 1937 Flood  

Louisville (the rest of the city)
     Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby  
     The Old Court House  
     City Hall
     East to West along Broadway 
     The Seelbach Hotel  
     Railroad Stations   
     Without extended descriptions:
     Fourth Street   
     The Armory  
     The Old Post Office and Customs House    
     City Parks   


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