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What's This?

Last month, we took a look at the portion of the old Vermont American building at Main and Jackson streets that’s being demolished to push a 12-lane elevated highway through Downtown Louisville. While the consequences of that size of a highway in an urban area are pretty dire, the one small piece of good news is that the plan won’t raze structures not directly in its way, like the western half of the VA building.

Here’s a view of the structure from 1948 from the University of Louisville Photographic Archives when it was known as the American Elevator & Machine Company building (photoshopped, of course) offering a rare glimpse of the building in better condition (and with proper windows). While the portion to be torn down dates to 1905, a round stone on a now-missing pediment of the corner building reveals that the remaining portion was built in 1902. A faint painted advertising mural on the south side of an adjacent building still reads “American Elevator.”

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Branden Klayko

Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

2 COMMENTS

  1. thanks for this! it looks fabulous in that photograph.

    over ten years ago i participated in a charrette in which one of the projects was to propose reuse of this building. some of the designers were bending over backwards to make something design-y and modern out of those arched window openings. this picture makes clear that the best answer is the simplest. beautiful photograph.

    right now, with all of the closed openings and other unfortunate modifications, it’s hard for people to imagine the potential this building has/had. i wish there was a way to get this picture in wider circulation. it would be like an ‘ah-hah!’ moment for so many. (others would wonder if it’s a different building altogether…)

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