This busy couple enjoys living, working, volunteering, supporting local businesses, and raising their young daughter in Old Louisville – and can’t imagine living anywhere else!
Charlotte Gross, originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2006 (how many times can we say Charlotte in one sentence?!). After graduation she moved to Connecticut for work – obtaining her master’s degree in Higher Education Counseling from Central Connecticut State University in 2014. Later that same year she moved to Washington, D.C. to begin her job as the Assistant Director of Research and Grants for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, where she still works today. Jake Gross, originally from Tucson, Arizona, completed his Bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Spanish at DePauw University in 2000, his Master’s of Public Affairs in 2004, and his Ph.D in History, Philosophy, & Policy Studies in Education from Indiana University in 2008. In 2011, he moved to Louisville to work in the University of Louisville’s Department of Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development, where he still works today. Jake also began his role as the Editor of the Journal of Student Financial Aid, a scholarly journal owned by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, a few years later. However, it wasn’t until 2015 that the two met while attending a professional conference. After a long-distance dating relationship, Jake proposed during one of Charlotte’s visits to Louisville at the Angel’s Envy bottling facility downtown (in honor of the first bourbon they shared together) the week before the 2016 Derby. The couple eloped in July of that year to Algodones, New Mexico. After their marriage, Charlotte moved to Louisville where she kept her current job and became a teleworker, traveling back to her company’s D.C. office every other week.
When they began house hunting, the couple knew that they wanted to live in an urban walkable area, giving Charlotte as close to a D.C. feel as possible. After looking at several houses in Beechmont, the Highlands, and Butchertown, the couple finally viewed their current home – a 3,400 square feet residence. They left the showing and made an offer that evening! While the home is said to have been built in 1900, the earliest documented residents, Isaac Thomas Woodson and Loula Bell Wood Woodson, are reported to have taken up residence in at least 1897, if not earlier (Charlotte and Jake are still trying to reconcile this discrepancy!). Isaac was a Kentucky native who earned his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis. He was later elected as the county attorney for Hart County and served two years as its representative in the Kentucky Legislature. After a brief stint in California, the couple returned to Kentucky and had taken up residence at 219 W. Burnett Avenue by the time Loula Bell died in 1897. It is reported that Isaac decided to stay in the home for the remainder of his life, and passed away there in February 1911. John W. Price, Jr., MD, and his wife, Barbara Thurston Atwood Price, lived in the home in approximately the 1960-70s while John was a professor at the University of Louisville and attending surgeon at Louisville City Hospital. Both John and Barbara were very involved in the University of Louisville Medical School, and in 1957 they founded Price Institute of Surgical Research, which is one of ten University of Louisville Institutes and Centers within the School of Medicine. Still functioning today, this center has funded 29 surgery residents and countless publications. Several attorneys have also owned the house, including Louis J. Hollenbach, III and his brother John in the late 1980s, and Randall Allen Hupp and Burch Popham throughout the 1990s. In 2004, the house was the purchased by LJP Investments, who completed its renovation. While the details about the extent of their renovation are unknown, photographs suggest they rewired the entire house, refinished the flooring, and renovated the kitchen and all bathrooms. The next owners were Patrick Rafferty, a professor of music at the University of Louisville, and his wife Barbara, who lived in the home 11 years before selling it to current owners Charlotte and Jake Gross.
The couple’s love of bourbon is carried out throughout their first floor. The living room holds their expansive bourbon collection, which they hunt and collect together. In the dining room is a custom built table by Jason Cohen, wood artisan and owner of Bourbon Barrel Furniture in NuLu. The tabletop is crafted from old Jim Beam rick house floor boards and the legs and made from Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrel staves. On the dining room wall tour goers will also find the couple’s bourbon stave guest book, made by Germantown artist Jon King, owner of DrunkWood.
The family’s favorite holiday is Christmas and evidence of that is abundant throughout their home beginning in early November. The intricate decorations include five Christmas trees, one of which is 16’, a vintage ornate Santa collection, themed mantels, and a 5’ tall animatronic Santa that resides on the third floor in their daughter’s bedroom.
Throughout the home tour goers will find artwork the couple has collected from the St. James Court Art Show. Highlights include a collection of circus-inspired fibreglass figurines by Belgravia Court artist Ancizar Marin in the master bedroom; an original acrylic and gesso by St. James Court artist Marcus Ryan in the living room; two Kentucky Derby-themed prints from Third Street artist Chris Hartsfield in the entryway; several handmade ceramic pieces by St. James Court artist Stephanie Pierson-Hutson (owner of Pond Scum Ceramics) in the third floor bathroom; tree frog prints from Fourth Street artist Steven Daniel (owner of Adventures of a Tree Frog) in the powder room; a series of bourbon-inspired prints by St. James Court artists Cricket Press; prints of Old Louisville from Third Street artist Wadia Newman in the second floor bathroom; and a framed poster from every Art Show they have attended in the second floor hallway.
Since living in Old Louisville, this couple can’t imagine living in any other area of the city. Both Jake and Charlotte have offices in their home and frequently migrate around the neighborhood working at North Lime Donut Shop, Quill’s Coffee and the Old Louisville Brewery. They continue to give back through volunteerism: Charlotte is the co-chair for the Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour, the secretary for the Second Street Neighborhood Association, a committee member for Dining at the Mansions in Historic Old Louisville (benefitting the UofL LBGT Center); Jake is on the Zoning and Land Use Committee, and coordinator for the Old Louisville Walkers and Runners group which meets on Wednesdays at the Old Louisville Brewery. They share their home with their five-year-old daughter, Cammie, who previously attended the University of Louisville’s Early Learning Camps (along with children from most of the other homes on the tour this year), and currently attends Audubon Traditional School. Their daughter loves the neighborhood and can frequently be seen sitting in her wagon (the Cammie Uber) heading towards Central Park for Kentucky Shakespeare’s summer plays, the Old Louisville Brewery for board games and family-friendly fun, or to Floral Terrace for the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Jake and Charlotte both enjoy living in Old Louisville and raising their daughter in a rich, diverse neighborhood!