View Full Version : Important Whiskey Site in Louisville Is Threatened.

04-20-2011, 21:51
In the Kentucky bourbon industry's 19th century heyday, when riverboats were still the primary way whiskey was shipped, Louisville had a singular importance. Louisville is where it is because the only place the Ohio River isn't navigable is right there, so Louisville developed as the region's transportation and distribution hub. Just about everything had to come off the boats there, at least temporarily, at least until they dug the channel around the Falls of the Ohio and built the locks.

This was still true in the Kentucky whiskey industry's late 19th century prime, even as the railroads were growing in importance. No matter where their distilleries were, virtually every Kentucky whiskey producer, rectifier, and dealer had a presence on Main Street in Louisville. It was for easy access to the River. Main Street was the first street at the top of the river's south bank, running parallel to it.

Many operators on the north side of Main Street built ramps so they could roll barrels of whiskey from their back doors straight down the bank to the river and the waiting paddle wheel steamers.

Most of the buildings along Main Street had pre-fabricated cast iron facades, cast in Pittsburgh and floated down the Ohio on barges to be assembled on site. This was a new building technology at the time. Main Street in Louisville has the largest concentration of cast iron facades outside of New York City.

Several blocks at the western end of Louisville's Whiskey Row were preserved years ago but this is the last chance to preserve a long-neglected but equally historic block on the Row's eastern end, which also just happens to be one block from the new downtown arena.

Here (http://www.preservationnation.org/magazine/2011/story-of-the-day/louisvilles-whiskey-row-at.html) is a good, short article about it from Preservation Magazine. Here (http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20110404/OPINION04/304040032/Rachel-M-Kennedy-Preserving-Whiskey-Row-ending-myths) is a lengthy op-ed piece in the Courier-Journal by Rachel M. Kennedy, Executive Director of Preservation Kentucky.

04-21-2011, 06:32
Actually most of the Iron Facades in Louisville were made at the Snead foundry on 14th Street. Louisville had a thriving 19th century iron foundry business catering to the steamboat industry and cast iron boilers for the most part, but also making cast iron facades not only for Louisville, but for export to other Ohio River towns. This makes it even more important to save what few iron facades left in the city.

Mike Veach

05-09-2011, 08:48
For those who are interested, it looks like the iron quarter will be saved. Here is a link to the article in the C-J: http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20110509/NEWS01/305090046/Deal-reached-sale-some-Iron-Quarter-buildings?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Home

Saving 5 of the 7 buildings with the facades of the other two being saved is about as good as one could hope for in this situation.

Mike Veach