Louisville Landmarks Commission Records, 1973-1978

Held by The Filson Historical Society

Creator:  Louisville Landmarks Commission

Title:  Records, 1973-1978

Rights: For information regarding literary and copyright interest for these papers, contact the Curator of Special Collections.

Size of Collection:  2 cu. ft.

Location Number:  Mss. BL L888g

Scope and Content Note

The Louisville Landmarks Commission was created by city government in 1973. These papers from one of the original members of the Commission, James Bentley. They include meeting minutes, agendas, memorandum, and files on neighborhoods and individual buildings being considered for Landmark status. They also contain files on legal cases that came about as a result of the Landmark status such as conflicts with the Louisville Women’s Club, the Eastern Star Home and Highland Presbyterian Church.

Historical Note

The Louisville Landmarks Commission was established in April 1973 to make Historic Preservation part of government policy in Louisville. The Commission was appointed by the government with the members of the Commission to be citizens with interest in and skills relating to preservation and architecture.

Folder List

Folder 1: Agenda for meetings 1974-1977 – many undated.

Folder 2: Meeting Minutes, 2 November 1973-14 December 1973. Minutes from first meeting, Beginning of Women’s Club.

Folder 3:Meeting Minutes for 1974. Discussion of hiring a director. Defining boundaries for Old Louisville and the Cherokee Triangle. Discussion of the logo design process. Agreement that West Main Street be pushed forward as next priority after the Old Louisville designation as a preservation area. Questions about the University of Louisville buildings since announcement that the Arts and Sciences Deans Office was to be raised. Discussion as to what should be done as to creating public awareness by designating buildings landmarks. Discussion about the demolition of buildings and saving facades.

Folder 4: Meeting Minutes 1975. Discussion about designating buildings as landmarks. Discussion on the Limerick neighborhood. A brief history of Cherokee Triangle development. Discussion of the demolition of two house by the Women’s club for parking and a summery of Mayor Sloane’s talk to the Club.  Discussion about the designation of the Old University of Louisville Medical School building – designate only parts or the whole since it was remodeled and additions made over the years. Discussion of designating Union Station as a landmark and what the boundaries would be to include the buildings. Discussion of plaques to designate the landmarks. Arguments about whether only architecture or history should be considered for landmark designation – stemming from the U of L medical building which added to over the years. Some wanted only the original section designated while others wanted the whole building – including the ugly yellow brick section, because it was all the medical school building. Many cases of denying applications for changes and possible litigation. Ask state government for permission to collect parts from the Old Liederkranz Hall, owned by the state and to be torn down, for possible future use in buildings.

Folder 5: Meeting Minutes 1976. University of Louisville map. Fort Nelson Park news release. Dedication of the Little Loom House.  Vote to make the Playhouse at U of L a landmark. Reports on Women’s Club case. Letter to Courier-Journal about the Women’s Club case and vandalism of the houses in question. Eastern Star Home denied permission to build new facility due to design. Resolution naming Main Street as a “Street of History”.  Legal decision on the Eastern Star Home case.

Folder 6: Meeting Minutes 1977. Letters protesting the proposed demolition of a house owned by the Collegiate School to be turned into a parking lot. Letters in opposition to making Butchertown a Historical District. Move to ease restrictions on painting in historical district. Mayor Sloane’s press conference at the houses owned by the Women’s Club. Updates on Women’s Club Case. Architectural Description Draft for: Cathedral of the Assumption. Church of Our Merciful Saviour, Jefferson County Courthouse, Irvin House, The Cloister, Monserat School, Seelbach House, YMCA Building, Spring Station, Christ Church Cathedral, Memorial Auditorium.

Folder 7: Meeting Minutes to 19 July 1978. Highland Presbyterian Church controversy is discussed.

Folder 8: Memorandum 1973. The 27 February memo to Richard Hill and James Bently from Alderman Sidney Baer about creating the Landmarks Commission.

Folder 9: Memorandum 1974. Memo about the Women’s Club. Survey of places to consider for historic designation.

Folder 10: Memorandum 1975. Memo about a called meeting at Mayor Sloane’s office to try to settle Women’s Club problem.

Folder 11: Memorandum 1976. Arguments by the Women’s Club lawyers against the seizure of the two houses owned by the Club by the city’s right of eminent domain in order to prevent the Women’s Club from tearing them down for parking. A History of the Russell-Shawnee Area.  A brief history of the development along Southern Parkway. Memo about Union Station being taken over by TARC. Memo about approval of changes on Main Street for the Natural History Museum. Memo from Frankfort discussing new tax benefits to owners of historical property.

Folder 12: Memorandum 1977. A survey of needs for Old Louisville. Memo about demolition at DuPont Manual High School. A history of the Prince Hall Parkland Masonic Temple. Memo 2 November 1977 to Mayor Sloane discusses repair of the houses in the Women’s club controversy.

Folder 13: Memorandum 1978. Memo of 4 January 1978 discusses the possible settlement with the Women’s Club. Letter from Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission about aluminum and vinyl siding on houses.

Folder 14: Correspondence 1973.Letter and newspaper editorial about widening 2nd and 4th streets.

Folder 15: Correspondence 1974. A letter from Mayor Sloane to the Women’s Club about possible solutions to their parking problem. Several letters from out of town experts encouraging Louisville to name West Main Street with its cast iron architecture as a preservation district. Many letters between Frank Rankin and Scott Miller about negotiations in the Women’s Club matter.

Folder 16: Correspondence 1975. Correspondence with the Lawyer for the Women’s Club. Correspondence about the University of Louisville Medical School building. Correspondence dealing with the demolition of Imorde’s restaurant. Many letters dealing with opposition to demolition of buildings.

Folder 17: Correspondence 1976. Letters from the Women’s Club members expressing outrage at the comments made by Frank Rankin in the Courier-Journal about vandalism of the houses in question.

Folder 18: Correspondence 1977. Correspondence about Manual High School preservation. Letters about Spring Station and Union Station as historic landmarks for the city.

Folder 19: Press releases 1973-1977. Mitch McConnell’s press release on historic preservation in Jefferson County.

Folder 20: Budget. Memos and forms dealing with the Landmarks commission Budget. A city budget for the year 1974-1975. Written description for the year 1978-1979 budget for the Landmarks Commission.

Folder 21: Membership file. Contact information for members of the Commission and the expiration date of their term.

Folder 22: Ordinance. Copy of the ordinance creating the Landmarks Commission. Copies of forms used by the Commission in Historic Neighborhoods to apply for repairs/construction.

Folder 23: Pamphlets and newsletters dealing with historic preservation.

Folder 24: Preservation grant.

Folder 25: Newspaper Clippings.  Clippings and copies from books dealing with architectural preservation.

Folder 26: Miscellaneous material. List of pre-approved paint colors. Guide for Preservation Districts and Landmarks. List of buildings to consider for landmark status. Cleveland Conference of Landmarks Commissions Representatives booklets. Kentucky bill on holding public meetings.

Folder 27: Women’s Club Issue. Court decisions, public pleas, television editorials and courtroom exhibits dealing with the Women’s Club case.

Folder 28: Community Development Task Force Committee Report from 1975. Lists of proposals and possible funding.

Folder 29: Landmarks file. Information gathered for individual buildings to be considered for landmark status. The Little Loom House: Information from Lou Tate about the history of the site and the Little Loom house. Union Station: History of site, architect and L&N Railroad. Old Medical School: History of the site, Medical Schools in Louisville and the architects Clarke and Loomis. Mary D Hill School (Central High School): History of Black education in Louisville, brief history of the architect. Louisville Trust Building: History of the building. Carnegie Library at Tenth and Chestnut: Brief history of the building and its importance to the African American Community and a list of architects who worked in Louisville and the influence on the design of the library. The Brennan (Ronald) House: A brief history of the structure and the Brennan Family. Old Louisville Trust: Description of the building, the architects and the skyscraper. Sanborn Maps of the sites.

Folder 30: Old Louisville File. Photocopy of Bridwell and Brown, “Old Louisville”.  Map of boundaries for the Old Louisville Historic District. Description of buildings on the west and north sides of the Old Louisville proposed boundaries. Brief Old Louisville History and listing of houses of interest. The transcript of a meeting dated 16 January 1974 that was a fact finding mission before the neighborhood became a historical district. Walking tour map and description of the buildings highlighted on the tour. Papers dealing with the demolition of Imorde’s restaurant. Block survey of Old Louisville. Booklet titled “Old Louisville”.

Folder 31:Limerick Neighborhood file. Neighborhood survey of the Limerick area noting important buildings in the neighborhood. Booklet titled “Limerick (An Irish Neighborhood)”. Photocopy of a 1955 article on the neighborhood. Proposed boundaries of the Limerick neighborhood. Limerick Area Architectural Description report.

Folder 32: West Main Street file. Walking tour map and brief description.  West Main Street Architectural Description – building by building description.  Summary of Remarks at hearing for West Main Street proposed Historic District held on 4 September 1974. A paper on the history of West Main Street with descriptive notes taken on history of individual buildings. Final proposal for West Main Street.

Folder 33: Main Street 100 to 300 block. Draft of the Historic and Architectural Significance survey of the area.  Final draft for the 300 block application.

Folder 34: Cherokee Triangle file. Cherokee Triangle Area Preservation District Designation Report: Contains history of area and architectural report on buildings in the area. Transcription of the public hearing held on 6 March 1974. Paper on the historical significance of the Cherokee Triangle neighborhood. Boundary description. Copy of Cherokee Triangle Area  Study of September, 1974, by Louisville and Jefferson County Planning Commission.

Folder 35: Western Branch Library File. Landmark designation Report. History of building and architects.

Folder 36: Cathedral of the Assumption File. Landmark site designation report for the cathedral, The Cloister (Ursuline Academy), Fifth Ward School, and Louisville War Memorial Auditorium.  Brief history of the buildings.

Folder 37: Seelbach-Parrish house file. History of the house, the Seelbach family and the Parrish family.

Folder 38:Chestnut Street YMCA Building File. A brief history of the building and of the Knights of Pythias in Louisville.

Folder 39: Mary D. Hill School, Municipal College and St. Louis Bertrand file. Brief history of the buildings, the architects and the education of African Americans in Louisville.

Folder 40: Church of Our Merciful Saviour file. Brief history of the building, architect and African American Boy Scout Troop 35.

Folder 41: Butchertown file. Brief description of two blocks in Butchertown.

Folder 42: Highland Presbyterian Church file. Letters of support for the Church demolishing the two houses in order to construct a play park for their kindergarten. There is also a written reply to alternative proposals from the Landmarks Commission.

Folder 43: Christ Church Cathedral file. Landmarks commission report with history of the church and architect.

Folder 44: Jefferson county Jail file. Landmarks Commission report. History of the Jail in Louisville and Jefferson County and the architect, D X Murphy.

Folder 45: Belknap Playhouse File. Letters discussing the proposed move of the Playhouse from the campus.

Folder 46: Thompson-Buchanan-Rankin House File. History of the house and its owners until becoming part of Spalding University.

Folder 47: Little Loom House File. A history of the buildings and Lou Tate and the Little Loom House program.

Folder 48:  Southern Parkway, Marine Hospital and Peterson Dumesnil House File. U S Marine Hospital Landmark Site Designation Report with a history of the site and the architect. A Security Systems Survey for the Peterson-Dumesnil House. History of the Peterson-Dumesnil House. Architectural survey of a block of Southern Parkway.

Folder 49: Portland file.  A brief history of Portland.

Jennie Cole

Jennie Cole is the Manager of Collection Access at The Filson. She has a MLIS with a specialization in Archives from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA in History from the University of Louisville. Jennie's research interests in the Filson's collections include women's history, Camp Zachary Taylor, and Speed family of Louisville.