Monday, September 9, 2013

Demolished Iron Front Facades on Main Street, Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville has several claims to fame, most involving athletics.  An outlier, perhaps, is Louisville's pride in its iron front buildings along main street.  Much effort is put into preserving them, even if that means that only their facades survive, as is the case along part of West Main Street.  Join us today as we look at these strange structures.

View from the west.  The plywood covered windows have been decorated with decals.
Louisville has perhaps three major points of architectural distinction:  Its massive collection of Victorian Era houses in Old Louisville, the shotgun houses that dot the city, and its iron facades along Main Street.  Efforts are frequently made by local preservation groups to protect these buildings, and what we see here is the results of one such effort.

Rear view of the four buildings, now departed.
The buildings were torn down for reasons probably relating to their structural stability.  However, given their historic facades, something had to be saved.  Well, the buildings were saved.  Sort of.  If by building one is discussing the front quarter only, then yes, these buildings were saved.  In the spirit of going green, they were also re-purposed.

Aerial photo, from Bing.
Yea, they torn down four historic buildings, and used the resulting space for a parking lot. -facepalm-

A now-exterior wall on the building nextdoor.
A fence was put up to protect the parking lot from criminal parkers.  If one approaches the fence, the bizarre becomes even more apparent.  The remains of now-gone doorways and staircases are visible along the brick walls, along with the outlines of floors and the sloped roof.

Another shot of the front shows the steel skeletons that now support the facade, given the absence of floors.  The blue sky makes for interesting photo effects.

Shot from across Main Street.
Another rear shot. The empty space is quite large.
Another building along Main Street.  The red cone is a memorial to the 1890 tornado that swept through the area.
Further west on Main, another building is trying to become a parking lot.  A stairwell collapsed in this building a few years ago (if my memory serves me right), injuring a few people.  The building is in structural distress, and a steel lean-to is apparently holding it up.

Part of 8th street is closed, as these shores would be quite a traffic obstacle.

With any luck, this pictures will be archived by Google, and in 15 or 20 years people will view them, reflecting on how poor Main Street looked in some spots.  I believe the situation is temporary, but one never knows.

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