4thSt1920.jpg (12889 bytes)Fourth Street, 1920

Fourth Street was Louisville's commercial center for decades.  During the 1970s, it was transformed into a pedestrian mall.   Trouble was, by the time the River City Mall was completed, most of the stores were in trouble, and soon out of business.  Years of construction and mud and reconstruction and more mud, drove most of the last remaining downtown shoppers and stores out of the city center.  With them went the major hotels and the theaters, leaving an avenue of little more than wig shops by the early 1980s. Slowly, over the past decade or so, efforts at revival have met with some success.  The Seelbach and Brown Hotels are open again, as well as the Palace Theater.  Fourth Street is again open for limited traffic and trolley service, an enclosed Galleria provides some degree of downtown shopping, a new convention center is under construction and a few restaurants can again be found on the street.  The city continues to try to find more ways to breathe life into what was once the vibrant heart of the city.


Louisville After the Bombings?



The Thumbnail Images


The Old Post Office
Demolition 1942-3

The Post Office in the 1920s
The demolished interior
The interior about 1900
Lincoln Park
Site of River City Mall-(4th Street, 1920s)

The 2nd Presbyterian Church
In ruins, 1956

2nd and Broadway
St. X College

The James C Ford Mansion
The Ford Mansion in winter

Inside the Ford Mansion
An Empty Lot


The Warren Memorial Church
Demolition, 1958
The Warren Memorial in 1923
Norton Hall
The Bus Station

The National Theater
In ruins, 1952
In better days
Show Time


The Masonic Temple
In ruins, 1956

The Rialto
Demolition, 1969

The Rialto during the 1920s

The Columbia Building
Demolition 1966

Columbia Building ca. 1900
Columbia Building ca. 1920


The Washington Building
Demolition 1973
In 1907
Cornice Detail

Clear-cutting the city
Wholesale demolition, 1974
The Tyler Block, 1974
Tyler Block, 1931
A Foreign City
Convention Center



After nearly complete destruction in February 1945 at the end of World War II, see what
be done to rebuild a historic city center. 
Click here to see absolutely amazing photos of the ongoing reconstruction of Dresden

(...reconstruction begun in 2002, and what has Louisville done in that time??)

Dresden 1980s                <<nearly same view>>               Dresden 2000s

(By the way, although begun as a public project to restore a world heritage site,
the reconstruction of Dresden has now gotten far enough along that the real estate values have skyrocketed.
Remaining un-reconstructed parcels are going for around $6000 per square yard just for the right to rebuild
historically faithful reproductions of former buildings ...including a palace...on the site.  check this out)


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Old Louisville National Historic District

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