Then and Now: Fourth Street and Walnut/Muhammad Ali Blvd.

By Jennie Cole

While meandering through Louisville, I often find myself musing on the history of its buildings and intersections, given my near-daily interactions with Louisville's photographic past here at The Filson.  Likewise, when I see images of former Louisville street scenes hanging as decor in restaurants, businesses, etc., I always pause and attempt to pick out the location - this small pleasure is something I would love to be able to pass on to my son.

When perusing a Louisville business directory compiled by the Railway Publishing Company in 1903, Louisville, Kentucky, The Falls City, The Industrial Center of the Southwest, I came across an image of downtown Louisville and was struck by the complete overhaul that had occurred between then and now.

Fourth Avenue, Looking North From Walnut Street, by Hesse

Fourth Avenue, Looking North From Walnut Street, by Hesse

Google Street View, Fourth Avenue, looking North from Muhammad Ali Blvd.

Google Street View, Fourth Avenue, looking North from Muhammad Ali Blvd.

The intersection today features the Seelbach Hotel on the southwest corner, built in 1905;  the Meidinger Tower on the northwest, completed in 1982; the Starks Building on the northeast, completed in July 1913; and the Hilliard Lyons Center (formerly Stewart Dry Goods), completed in 1907 and renovated in 1937, on the southeast corner.

I know that the building on the northeast corner of the 1903 image is the First Christian Church, and I believe the department store Selman's may have been on the northwest corner, but what were the other buildings?

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.

2 comments on “Then and Now: Fourth Street and Walnut/Muhammad Ali Blvd.

  1. MARY PICKEL

    MY MOTHER WORKED AT STEWART’S IN THE 50’S WHEN I WAS GROWING UP. I SEEM TO REMEMBER A RODE’S (MEN’S STORE) ACROSS FROM IT. THE BROWN DERBY WAS MENTIONED, ALSO. I CAN REMEMBER LIVING FOR CHRISTMAS AND STEWART’S CORNER WINDOW.

    Reply
  2. Jennie Cole

    Thanks for the information, Mary! Good memories!

    Reply

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