In the 1850s Beargrass Creek was rerouted away from downtown and through the area towards the Ohio River.
Butchering animals was banned from the city core early on, and German immigrants, many who were butchers, populated the area, dumping animal waste into the creek.
The Bourbon Stockyards, established in 1834 as a hotel for livestock producers, was the oldest continuously operating stockyard in the U.S., until it closed in 1999. In 1864 a new facility near the railroad was built at Main and Johnson Sts. which dominated the Kentucky cattle market for over a century, by the mid-1900s the market had declined as transportation changed from railroads to trucking.
The streets in the area were named after politicians in the Whig and Federalists parties and their supporters.
Butchertown was a thriving residential and industrial area for over a hundred years, though the great Ohio River flood of 1937 destroyed many of the homes, and many more homes were demolished for the construction of the Ohio River flood wall, the interstate highways, and the expansion of industrial use on the former residential areas.
The Beargrass Creek flood pumping station, built in the 1950s at Brownsboro Rd. prevents the Ohio River from backing up into the creek during periods of high water in the Ohio River.
The remaining residential architecture in the neighborhood is diverse, most built with the city’s simple vernacular often with Eastlake details, also known as Victorian brick-a-brack, a handful of high-styled homes are randomly mixed in with modest shotguns, all on small lots. The diversity makes Butchertown unique among Louisville’s historic districts.
Just east of downtown, bounded by the I-64 to the north, Beargrass Creek and Mellwood Ave. to the east, Main St. to the south, and I-65 to the west.