East Jefferson Street Emergency Demo Candidate
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We’ve been expecting this for a while, but this week the news became official: a three story brick and limestone building on the corner of East Jefferson Street and Jackson Street has been declared an “Emergency Demolition Candidate” and will likely be torn down soon. The building has been boarded up for years, but had been standing fine on its own until last Year’s Windstorm 2008 tore a portion of the roof off and knocked out a few bricks. Shortly afterward, a large blue tarp was placed over the building and the remaining windows boarded up. It sat like this for months with no activity.

It was unlikely the building was ever going to be saved; at least by its current owner. The building and an adjacent vacant parcel are currently for sale and when we checked into the details last year and inquired about the building, it was made clear that the structure would likely be demolished upon a sale anyway. Strike two for the building came in the form of doubling the size of Interstate 65 in this area leading up to the proposed mega-Spaghetti Junction. The Bridges project wanted this property and many others for the widening project, but that threat was at least years away. The windstorm provided strike three, and now it appears the building is doomed.

Demolition could be a bit hasty, in our opinion. Other buildings in the area lost their roof and sent bricks into the sidewalk as a result of the windstorm, too. A larger three-story building with similar details as the building in question is currently being repaired by its owner, Bargain Supply Warehouse. A friend of the Broken Sidewalk also restored his own nearly identical three-story building with similar brick damage. The structural walls on the structure are not bowing and besides a few loose bricks and no roof, this one could potentially be saved. Every day the structure sits without a roof (or even a tarp), though, puts the structure at more risk.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: these small vernacular buildings are what makes the fabric of Louisville. We will regret their loss when they are gone. This one is especially sad considering it’s in a rapidly gentrifying area on the downtown edge of Liberty Green. Perhaps one day we’ll realize the loss and stop letting our buildings fall down. But we’re going to have to watch the wrecking ball until then.

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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

5 COMMENTS

  1. it’s a damn shame, especially in light of the idea of the plot just being taken over by a widened expressway. way to revitalize downtown metro!

  2. the boarded up picture won't win it much sympathy, but that last 'before the wind storm' picture shows how great this building is: the proportions and relationships of windows are especially good in this building and the storefront frame – whether stone or cast iron, can't tell – is very thin and elegant. this'll be a loss.

    don't know the circumstances but i'm willing to bet that more revenue has come to the owner from that ugly billboard than they've put back into this building in the past ten years…argh.

  3. as an activist promotion for 8664, tyler allen should make up some of those banners for structures about to be demolished because they’re in inconvenient places. they could celebrate ‘louisville’s wrecking crew’ and have a picture of the decision-makers behind the bridges project.

  4. This is the Old Brass Rail Tavern or Bar on the corner of Jackson and Jefferson St.Use to by a beer for a quarter and a pack of Cig.s for 35 cent.

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