Sunday, February 26, 2012

Louisville, February 2012

Just a post of some photos I snapped while driving around Louisville this morning. I've often noted that Louisville feels old in that major thoroughfares tend to follow geographical features or ancient footpaths rather than obey a grid system. Downtown does have a grid, or rather a collection of grids which are joined higgledy-piggledy, betraying the lack of any master plan for the city.  The lack of consistent straight lines gives it a certain charm, but also makes it a pain in the ass to try and get from point A to point B on intuition alone.

I spent a couple hours this morning driving around the old city to the West and North of downtown. This area contains poor residential neighborhoods and the detritus of light industry nestled in the crook of the Ohio River to the North and West as it bends Southward. Much of this neighborhood feels unchanged from what it must have been 100 years ago. Well, apart from 100 more years of degradation. There are a lot of intriguing old industrial buildings here in a variety of conditions: some are still in use (though almost never for their original purpose), others abandoned and dilapidated beyond recall, and a whole bunch sitting empty but imploring. The desirability of these properties hinges on what one wants to pay for rent and how far out of the zone of fashionability one is willing to go. On the East side of downtown to the South of the river these industrial buildings and warehouses are gradually being converted into hip loft spaces and shops and restaurants. But this development is a long way from the West Side as of yet.

The semi-famous Ouerbacker Mansion. I did a post about this place a few years back. Despite numerous attempts to salvage it, or even to protect it from further degradation, it seems like it's now being left to the elements. It's now in too rough a neighborhood for anyone to put the million-plus dollars into rescuing it. Such a shame. (A Google search for "Ouerbacker Mansion" yields a treasure trove of photos--like these of the interior that make me kind of tear up.)

A big factory of some sort, knocked down but not yet cleaned out. This takes the better part of a city block.

Portland Printing and Fax Service. Sitting alone now on a forlorn lot in a decayed neighborhood by an elevated freeway.

A very intriguing old house on the corner of Portland Ave. and 20th St. 

Toilet Articles. The Google Street View pictures from August, 2007 show the building in considerably better shape, though still boarded up. I wonder how much is vandalism and how much is just five more untended years in the elements. It's clearly beyond any redemption now, but didn't necessarily look so five years ago (though of course I don't know).

The garage.

"No copper." 

An old building right on the edge. Any day now the heat and water will be turned off and the door will be locked for the last time. The area is rife with buildings just on either side of this line.

Dancer Exotic Wear.


Vancouver Voyeur said...

I think they should take that first mansion apart, piece by piece, and re-assemble it in a better location, preserving its beauty and historic value for future generations.

wunelle said...

Articles say the city pitched in something like $100,000 a few years back to stabilize one of the exterior walls that threatened to collapse on an adjacent structure. You just have to wonder if it's possible to come back after reaching this point. But what a terrible shame, no?