SoBro is set to lose another historic corner commercial building, the kind that was listed as one of Louisville’s Ten Most Endangered Historic Structures (or typologies in this case) according to Preservation Louisville. (Why does it seem that most times the word “preservation” comes up it’s only when we’re about to lose a little bit more of the city’s history?) This time it’s a partially-mutilated, two-story, purple-painted brick building on the corner of Seventh Street and Cawthon Street. The photo above is from a little over a year ago and was snapped while crews were installing what looks like a new roof on the building.
According to Whitewashed Windows & Vacant Stores, who spotted the Intent to Demolish sign, a fire broke out and gutted the second floor about a month after the photo was taken. The building stood for a year after the fire without being declared an emergency demolition by the city, so it’s likely not imminently falling down, but it is a shame to lose one more piece of SoBro.
While the structure was in need of quite a bit of work to return its appearance to how it looked originally, the bones were still there. Nearly every window in the building besides the storefront had been altered at some point, much how the windows at the old Wayside block in Nulu had been, but it should be clear by now that with a little effort, it’s entirely possible to fix such a mistake (check out the before and after on East Market). The most important part of the building architecturally, the limestone storefront on Seventh Street, was intact but largely hidden by a deteriorating awning.
This building was only one block east of another corner store also demolished because of fire earlier this year. Based on a cursory glance at an aerial map, it appears there are only about half a dozen historic corner stores left in all of SoBro when there were undoubtedly dozens at one time.