A Window into America's Past
Post Card Greetings from Old Louisville

(Vintage Post Cards from Old Louisville)

Central Park

The 17 acre estate with its 1869-70 mansion originally belonged to the prominent flamboyant Presbyterian Reverend Stuart Robinson.  In the autumn of 1871, he sold it to Alfred Victor DuPont, a bachelor who never moved in.  Instead, Alfred's brother, Bidermann DuPont, took residence with his wife and his large family.

Long before the city purchased the estate in 1904 and commissioned the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of New York's Central Park, the U.S. Capitol grounds in Washington, D.C. and the Biltmore Estate, to lay out the new park design, the DuPonts opened the estate as a park (a money-making venture), and lived among all the activity, which included balloon ascensions, fireworks and concerts.  Indeed, during the Southern Exposition of 1883-1887, the entire grounds were open to the public.  Thomas Edison himself threw the switch for the electric lighting (4600 lights, more than existed at that time in New York City) as well as the premier of the electric trolley, which circled the park and even passed through an artificial lighted tunnel during the four year exhibit.

The DuPonts also owned (purchased) the Central Passenger Railroad which ran the trolley system on 4th Avenue, and extended the lines from Oak south to Magnolia in order to bring people to the lucrative park lands.  (And thus even the name of the park, after the Central rail line, not it's central location.)

The DuPont residence was demolished soon after the Louisville Parks Board purchased Central Park.  In its place, a pavilion and colonnade were constructed. 

When looking at these pictures, it is interesting to see the young park with its original lighting and walks and manicured lawns. Yet it is the people that really make them interesting.  The dress of the day make them truly delightful to look at. Unlike our casual-comfortable era, where people almost detract from the scenery, in Victorian Old Louisville, the people are as pretty as flowers in a garden.  You'll see this especially in the photo enlargements, if you have the patience to wait for the downloads.

Central Park, Louisville, KY, people scene
"A Beauty Spot in Central Park"
Post card mailed 1914

Central Park, Louisville, KY, people scene
"Central Park, Louisville KY"
Post card mailed 1909

Central Park, Louisville, KY, Victorian stroll
"LOUISVILLE, in Central Park"
ca 1900-1905

Three similar views:
Central Park, Louisville, KY, walkway
Roadway in Central Park.
Louisville KY"
ca 1905
Central Park, Louisville, KY, walkway
"Broadway, Central Park
Louisville KY"
Post card mailed 1911
Central Park, Louisville, KY, walkway
"Central Park, Louisville KY"
Post card mailed 1917
       

Central Park, Louisville, KY, winter scene
"Winter Scene, 4th Avenue and Central Park,
Louisville, KY"
Post card mailed in 1910
  

Central Park, Louisville, KY, winter scene
"View in Central Park,
Louisville, Ky."
Post Card mailed in 1914
  

Central Park, Louisville, KY Pagoda
"Pagoda in Central Park,
Louisville, Ky."
Post Card mailed in 1907
    

Central Park, Louisville, KY, outdoor pool
"Children's Playgrounds and Wading Pool,
Central Park, Louisville, KY"
Post card mailed in 1928
     

Central Park, Louisville, KY, Pergola
"Colonnade in Central Park"
Post Card mailed in 1909
    

Central Park, Louisville, KY
" Central Park, Louisville, Ky."
ca. 1910
    

Central Park, Louisville, KY Collonade with Victorian Children
"Colonnade Walk in Central Park"
Post Card mailed in 1908
    

 

Vintage Postcard Views of Louisville

Old Louisville 
     Second Street  
     Third Avenue  
     Fourth Avenue  
     St James Court  
     Central Park  
     The Confederate Monument  
     Churches
     Hotels  
     Schools  
     The 1937 Flood  

Louisville (the rest of the city)
     Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby  
     The Old Court House  
     City Hall
     East to West along Broadway 
     The Seelbach Hotel  
     Railroad Stations   
      Churches 
     
     Without extended descriptions:
      
     Fourth Street   
     The Armory  
     Hotels         
     The Old Post Office and Customs House    
     City Parks   
     Cemeteries   
     Miscellaneous  

 

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