Commentary

A damage assessment is underway at the historic stretch of buildings known as Whiskey Row, where a fire Monday ravaged three buildings.

WFPL’s James Bickers sat down with  former Courier-Journal editorial page editor Keith Runyon to discuss Whiskey Row, the fire, and what comes next for the property.

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Runyon has previously written about Whiskey Row’s history, and also its significance to Louisville’s culture.

This winter, Runyon wrote:

After the Civil War, the 100 block of West Main Street enjoyed the boom that made Louisville a big, rich city—the second most populous in the south (after New Orleans). During this period, Whiskey Row became the official home of the biggest railroad in the region (later known as the Louisville & Nashville), distilleries, and Belknap, which was the world’s largest hardware company. Later, though, commerce gravitated south to Broadway, and by the 1960s, most bankers and developers disparaged the central part of Main Street, from Preston Street to 12th.