Those giant diagonal supports propping up the burned-out facades of 111 Whiskey Row on West Main Street have become a familiar site, either as a beacon of hope at the tenacity of the developers to preserve the stories Whiskey Row Block, an odd feat of engineering, or a major traffic headache. But with recent progress building a new steel structure inside the brick walls of the three old bourbon warehouses, the scaffolding is beginning to come down.
Take a look at these photos, taken last Thursday, showing the easternmost limestone facade scaffold free for the first time since last year’s devastating fire. The facade has been fixed up and a steel structure installed holding the facade and brick party walls in place.
The same process is in the works for two other facades along Main Street and the three building’s corresponding facades along Washington Street to the north. On Thursday afternoon, crews could be seen laying brick at the top of the Washington Street facades.
Todd Blue’s surface level parking lot where the guts of two other buildings were demolished in what’s commonly referred to as a facadectomy is serving as a staging ground for construction. The lot is filled with salvaged bricks and new steel awaiting installation.
Also of interest if you’re following Whiskey Row is a recent report on bourbon’s history in shaping Louisville by the Courier-Journal‘s Bailey Loosemore. That history notes that bourbon has always been part of Louisville since its founding in 1778. Loosemore reports that by 1832, Main Street already housed 15 to 20 distillery offices storing barrels and offering samples to potential customers. That number grew to some 50 offices Downtown at its peak, earning Main Street the moniker Whiskey Row.
While prohibition and changing transportation trends largely put an end to the row, Loosemore reports, in recent years Downtown Louisville has seen quite a resurgence with five new distilleries set to open by 2018.