Back in the 20th century, folks didn’t appreciate historic architecture like we do today. There was something about intricately carved stone details that must have been off-putting to them. Many a building not demolished was covered from head to toe in a metal or tile anti-facade. Upper-story windows were made useless, but that was okay because cities weren’t for people… suburbs were for people. Today, we’re timidly peeling away these mistakes and crossing our fingers something of the historic facade still remains underneath. New Albany got lucky this time. A near-perfectly preserved three-story brick and stone building has emerged from under the iron curtain and is preparing for a facelift.
This building on Pearl Street was once the home of a Fashion Shop who put up the metal facade. You can faintly make out the faded outlines of old neon letters running up the metal facade (pictured below). The only damage we spotted to the original building were on two skinny stone rows that had been chipped away. We had a chance to go inside this structure a while back before any restoration plans were announced. The ground level retail space is simply a large open shell, but climbing up to the upper levels was like stepping into a time machine. Fortunately for the building, it was sealed up and forgotten and every last detail from intricately carved wooden molding to the original 19th century wallpaper were still intact. There’s quite a bit of potential for this one.
A similar reveal on Fourth Street in Louisville at the site of the old Tiff’s Records and now home to the Bycks Lofts wasn’t so lucky. The original limestone face underneath a nondescript beige anti-facade was completely destroyed. A once intricate commercial building had its details chiseled away for mid-century banality. A new metal and terracotta tile facade was eventually installed for the loft project.
There is, however, some hope for another anti-facade on Louisville’s Fourth Street. There’s another old Fashion Shop just south of Bycks Lofts, now home to the Fashion Club store, that’s suffering from a sort of pink tile facade problem. We believe the building still has its brick and stone facade in place under the ugliness, and from what we hear there’s a beautiful four-story building under there. Unfortunately, the current owner of the property has no intentions to remove the facade or restore the building.
- Bycks Lofts On Fourth Street Ready To Go (Broken Sidewalk)