By David Williams
Administrator, Old Louisville Neighborhood Center
I confess. When I started looking for a home in 1986, Old Louisville was not my first choice. That crowded neighborhood four miles to the east of us was. But when the owners of a house on Second Street offered it for a bargain, I snatched it up and have never regretted it.
My home is a beautiful Richardsonian house with marvelous mantles, intricate wood floors, and a few surprising anomalies (don’t we all have those!) It’s pretty unique because it’s been owner-occupied for all but three years since it was built in 1895. In 1928 it was subdivided into three apartments: a comfortable arrangement that’s allowed me to live rent-free on the first floor for the last thirty years.
Springtime is the best time in Old Louisville. The dogwoods, the redbuds, the azaleas, the wisteria, the phlox, not to mention the tulips and daffodils and—you get the picture—turn our neighborhood into a real stunner. Visitors to the Center in Central Park often compare us to Savannah. I always tell them Savannah’s a close second!
As a history fanatic, I find Old Louisville the perfect place to live. Even after thirty years, I’m still discovering marvelous new tidbits about its history, like the amazing find I uncovered for the quiz in this week’s issue. I love living in a solid neighborhood full of stories. I feel like mine is just a small paragraph in a huge sprawling novel full of adventure, laughter, sadness, romance, and intrigue that’s been enthralling Louisvillians for 150 years with no end in sight.
I always get angry when I hear people from outside the neighborhood badmouth it. The neighborhood they describe has nothing in common with the one I live in. Yes, there are issues of crime, overflowing garbage, and other problems that all urban neighborhoods face. But to hear them describe it, Old Louisville is Crime Central. “Don’t go down there! Lock your car doors! Speed up when you get to Hill!” Sheesh. I’ve walked these streets all hours of the day and night and never felt unsafe. I wish I had a magic wand so I could change those attitudes with just a quick flick of the wrist.
Forget that neighborhood to our east: you can never find a parking spot! Give me Old Louisville any hour of the day. There’s nothing more peaceful than sitting in the garden on a weekend, reading a book, sipping some wine, watching our cats chase butterflies through the flowers, and falling asleep. Burglars be gone!