Coalhole Covers

Coalhole Covers

Historic Coalhole Covers

Louisville was a major 19th century iron manufacturing center, with over 12 foundries operating by 1880. Cast iron from Louisville’s foundries can still be found in many places including New Orlean’s French Quarter. Louisville’s West Main Street Historic District is a living museum of flamboyantly designed 19th century ornamental ironwork, including window caps, cornices, railings, and entire building fronts.

This extravagance of design extended to one of the most mundane industrial age objects, the round covers fitted over sidewalk coal chute homes. The coal furnaces that made the chutes a necessity have disappeared, but distinctive coalhole covers remain a physical reminder of West Main Street’s past. Most covers were manufactured nearby at major foundries like Snead & Company, Merz Architectural Iron, Grainger & Company, and Louisville Ornamental Ironworks.

Some of the historic coalhole covers displayed in front of 730 W. Main St. date from as far back as 1855. The coalhole cover is only one of many design elements that make West Main Street one of America’s most unique and distinctive historic districts.

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Union Station

Union Station

Union Station

A railroad station that opened in 1891 by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad has served as offices for the Transit Authority of River City since 1980.

It superseded previous, smaller, railroad depots around Louisville at the time. Completed in 1889 at a cost of over $310,000, it was once the largest railroad station in the southern U.S., covering 40 acres.

Designed by F. W. Mobray, in the Richardsonian Romanesque-style, with brick-faced limestone ashlar quarried in Bowling Green, KY, and Bedford stone trim from Indiana. The roof, trussed with a combination of heavy wood and iron, is covered with slate. Architectural features include a clock tower, smaller towers, turrets, a facade of considerable size, and barreled vaulting.

The interior featured an atrium, dining, and spacious ladies’ retiring rooms on the first floor. A wrought iron balcony overlooks the atrium. Soft lighting comes from rose-colored windows on both sides of the atrium. The walls are made of marble from Georgia, as well as oak and southern pine. Ceramic tiles covers the floor.

A fire in 1905 occurred in the facility, and the original rose-colored windows were replaced with an 84-panel stained glass skylight that became a feature of the barrel-vaulting tower.

At the height of rail travel in the 1920s, the station served 58 trains a day, with the popularity of rail travel diminishing by the mid-1960s.

Amtrak used the facility from 1971 until 1976, when it began running the Floridian in conjunction with the Auto-Train from a suburban station. From 2001 to 2003, a track on the west side of the parking lot served Amtrak’s Kentucky Cardinal to Chicago.

The first floor is open to the public from 8 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday.

TARC

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Main Street

Main Street

Main Street

West Main Street offers a walking tour opportunity featuring some of the best of Louisville’s architectural heritage.

Starting at 1st and Main Sts. and traveling west, Whiskey Row is a block of mid-1800s whiskey distillers’ warehouses from an era when there were over 3,000 distillers in the U.S.

At 2nd St., the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge (c. 1929) was the first bridge to carry automobile traffic across the Ohio River in Louisville is one of only two pedestrian bridges in the area.

The 300 W. Main block features Actors Theater (c. 1837), the columned building is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city and one of the finest examples of small-scale Greek revival architecture in the U.S.

The 400 block features two International style buildings, the 40-story National City Tower designed by Harrison & Abromowtz of New York and completed in 1972. On the north side of Main St., 3 Riverfront Plaza designed by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, and now has ‘painted’ Cor-Ten steel.

The post-modern Humana Building designed by Michael Graves at 5th & Main is the city’s best example of infill and is one of our most famous buildings.

West of 6th St. to 9th St. are the last of the historically intact areas of commercial architecture in downtown and the second-largest concentration of cast-iron buildings in the nation, second only to the SoHo District in New York City.

The former St. Charles Hotel 634 W. Main (c. 1832) is the oldest building on Main. The Hart Block Building at 730 W. Main is the best example of a cast-iron facade in Louisville. The Fort Nelson building at 801 W. Main is one of the more unique historic buildings on Main.

The Main Street Visitors Center is located at 627 W. Main St. and is operated by Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau. Hours are seasonal. Monday through Friday, 11 am to 3 pm, weather permitting. Closed holidays.

Main Street Association

Walking Tour Brochure

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Culbertson Mansion

Culbertson Mansion

Culbertson Mansion

One of Indiana’s leading citizens & philanthropists built this Second Empire mansion at 916 E. Main St. in New Albany, Indiana in 1869.

The lot originally cost $5000, and the house cost $120,000 to build. After Culbertson’s death, he willed the home to his third wife, who auctioned off the house and contents in 1899 for $7,100.

The three-story, Second-Empire mansion encompasses more than 20,000 square feet and contains 25 rooms. The facade, east elevation and west elevation all feature semi-circular bays, allowing plenty of light into the rooms.

In 1964 the mansion was in danger of being torn down, to be replaced by a gas station. Instead, a local historic group called Historic New Albany purchased the mansion for $24,000. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and became a part of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites in 1976.

904 E. Main St. was completed in 1887 as a home for Culbertson’s son.

704 E. Main St. was completed by Culbertson as the ‘Old Ladies Home’ to house indigent widows.

The Samuel Culbertson Mansion in Old Louisville was built as a home for Culbertson’s son in 1897. It operates as a bed & breakfast in today.

www.indianamuseum.org

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Portland Museum

Portland Museum

Portland Museum

The on-going restoration of Beech Grove, an 1852 Italianate antebellum residence and gardens, once a ‘country seat’ on the old road between Portland and Louisville, serves to tell the story of William and Mary Skene whose family lived here for eight decades.

Portland Museum was founded in 1978 by area school teachers, it grew from a single classroom to its location today at Beech Grove.

In a modern addition, the Portland Museum uses various exhibits to tell the story of Portland, a neighborhood rich with history and folk life.

A letterpress studio here is equipped with Chandler & Price presses, foundry type, and bookbinding equipment. As funding permits, children and adults learn and practice book making arts.

The Portland Museum’s Squire Earick House (c. 1819), an American treasure, may be the oldest house in Portland, and when its restoration is complete will tell important stories about life on the river’s edge, flatboats, steamboats, and the Underground Railroad.

Tuesday – Friday: 10 am – 4:30 pm
Adults: $7
Seniors: $6
Students: $5
Children under 5 : Free

Portland Museum
2308 Portland Avenue
www.goportland.org

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Brennan House

Brennan House

 The Brennan House

The last remaining Victorian mansion along what was once a residential street downtown dates to 1868, and features original interior finishes, lighting and furnishings from the Brennan family. This authentic historical home reflects the grace and style of wealthy urban families in the late 19th century.

Built by tobacco wholesaler and purchased in 1884 by Thomas Brennan, a native of Ireland and prominent inventor. He and his wife, Anna, had eight children who occupied the home through 1969.

The three-story Italianate townhouse has 16-foot ceilings, a library, six bedrooms, stained-glass windows, expansive veranda, hand-carved marble and slate mantels, crystal chandeliers, and walls lined with personal family items and portraits.

Rooms are decorated with the original Brennan family collection including hand-carved dining room & bedroom furniture, an ornate silver service, and steamer trunks with memorabilia from world travels.

One son, Dr. J.A.O. Brennan, added an office, waiting room and exam room to the north wing of the house in 1912 which remains intact, including exam table, equipment and medical volumes dating to the early 20th century.

Today it houses the nonprofit advocacy organization Preservation Louisville Inc., whose mission is to protect and promote the cultural, architectural and environmental heritage of our community.

The Brennan House Historic Home is not open for daily public tours. The mansion and garden is available for group tours, rentals and special events by appointment.

The Brennan House
631 S 5th St
www.thebrennanhouse.org

Preservation Louisville
www.preservationlouisville.org

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