Preservation Louisville is calling for community support to help save and rejuvenate some of the city’s most endangered historic places.
The Louisville buildings are part of an annual list released by the non-profit to highlight properties most at risk of being demolished or wrecked beyond repair.
Preservation Louisville works to protect the architectural heritage of the community and is asking for donations to help fund the much needed preservation work on properties including vacant and abandoned homes, old corner store fronts and historic churches.
The push to turn vacant and abandoned houses into livable structures is a large part of the group’s efforts.
There are nearly 7,000 of these properties throughout Louisville, according to Preservation Louisville.
Charles Cash, the president of Preservation Louisville, said efforts to save shotgun houses are necessary to ensure the culture remain intact in some Louisville neighborhoods.
“Shotgun houses are one of the most prevalent building types in our community,” he said. “There is no more readily available opportunity for affordable housing, preservation at a small scale and for saving neighborhoods.”
Marianne Zickuhr, the executive director of Preservation Louisville, said shotgun homes make up nearly 10 percent of vacant or abandoned homes in the city.
One organization, New Directions Housing Cooperation, is focusing specifically on saving shotgun homes.
Every year, the group looks to “touch” at least 150 shotgun homes, said Lisa Thompson, the chief operating officer of New Directions Housing Cooperation.
What Thompson calls “touching” homes includes weatherization and boosting home safety and security. It is not major overhauls or renovations, she said.
The majority of homes are owned and lived in by low income, elderly families that oftentimes support extended family members.
“We target the most important things that need to be done,” she said.
Zickuhr said preservation is also one of the best methods of boosting sustainability.
“The greenest house is the one that is already built,” she said. “When we’re talking about being environmentally conscious, preservation is the ultimate in being green.”
She said many people will oftentimes rule out attempting to save a building that appears dilapidated or rough around the edges.
“I am here to tell you, most of the time, that is not the case,” she said. “All of the materials in these structures were obviously laboriously created by the people before us. All of their time, their energy is that embodied energy and when you get rid of that and send it to a landfill, you are hurting our bottom line, that’s it.”
Here is a complete list of the 2014 Most Endangered Places:
1. Vacant and Abandoned Properties.
2. Historic Educational Building, such as the Carnegie library at 1705-41 West Jefferson Street.
3. Mid Century Modern Structures.
4. Ouerbacker House at 1633 West Jefferson Street.
5. Historic Corner Stores.
6. Roscoe Goose House at 1302 South 3rd Street.
7. Sacred Spaces Example, such as Lampton Baptist Church .
8. Peter C. Doerhoefer House at 4422 West Broadway.
9. Historic Old Clarksville Site.
10. The Old Water Company Block (Morrisey Garage, Falls City Theatre Co. & Odd Fellows Hall)
Preservation Louisville also released a list of preservation successes. These are properties that have, at one time, been identified by the organization as needing attention and then received the support needed, in turn, creating spaces that are now sought out for events or visited by residents curious for some history lessons.
All of them, Zickuhr said, were saved in large part thanks to community support.
“Blood, sweat and tears and lots of love went into all of these,” she said.
1. Louisville Water Works Museum- Louisville Water Company for continued restoration of their significant properties – the historic Water Tower Park, the Frankfort Avenue Reservoir, etc.
2. Woodbourne- 2024 Woodford Place – Historic Briney Hall converted to Senior Housing by New Directions Housing Corp.
3. Parkland Scholar House- 1309 Catalpa Street – Historic Maupin Elementary School converted by Marian Development & Family Scholar House.
4. Mercury Ballroom- 611 South Fourth Street – Historic Taylor Trunk Building converted to the Mercury Ballroom by CITY Properties & Live Nation.
5. Meta- 425 West Chestnut St. – Historic Schumann’s Click Clinic converted to the Meta restaurant and bar by Joseph Impellizzeri Co.
6. Guthrie Coke Building- 566 South Fourth Street – Restored as apartments and commercial space anchoring the renewal of Fourth Street as the SOFO retail district, developed by CITY Properties.
7. 518 West Magnolia Ave.- Restoration and addition to this mid-century modern former art studio by Harris Properties (Tom and Nancy Woodcock).
8. Evan Williams Bourbon Experience- 528 West Main Street - Heaven Hill distilleries for restoration and adaptive reuse of this historic commercial building as the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience.
9. Belle of Louisville – This fall celebrating its 100th birthday and just restored her engine, we recognize the signature value of this important community treasure, and acknowledge the Waterfront Development Corporation for its continued restoration and maintenance.
10. 1809 Old Vincennes Road – This Mid-century Modern structure opened in 1940 as the Southern Indiana Tuberculosis Hospital, and has undergone restoration and conversion as the Silvercrest Living Center, part of a planned retirement community in New Albany, IN.
To see photos, go here.