Tucked in at the end of a C-J article about the Frazier International History Museum‘s recent Fontaine Ferry exhibit were hints about the museum’s future expansion. I recently spoke with Krista McHone at the museum to discern what might be coming to a 19-foot-wide missing tooth on West Main Street.
Plans for the museum expansion are in their earliest conceptual phases and a feasibility study has yet to be completed, but the Frazier International History Museum is optimistic that the project will move ahead as the institution becomes more established as a center for history.
The property that will house the addition is a vacant parcel directly east of the museum that McHone described as a sort of service alley for parking cars. Because the row building that once filled the space was demolished years ago, the museum expects more leeway with regard to the expansion’s design and layout that will allow it to more fully fulfill the museum’s mission. Renderings of the expansion will emerge when plans have further evolved.
Programmatic elements include educational spaces and classrooms, a library and seminar rooms, and a shop to repair historic artifacts. Once complete, the addition will help create a seamless urban edge along West Main Street currently marred by the missing row building.
Based upon evidence on the site, the now demolished row warehouse likely had a similar appearance to a stretch of near-identical structures directly to the east. A limestone facade can be seen chipped away that might have extended all the way to the Frazier Museum. The last remnant of the former building can be found in an arch topped by three windowless apertures at mid-block visible when standing at a distance.
Although the project won’t be moving forward immediately, the Frazier Museum’s plans mark an exciting point in the evolution of West Main Street as the street’s last missing teeth are filled in. It’s especially heartening that such a difficult, narrow space can find an infill project that will benefit one of Louisville’s great institutions on Museum Row.
- Frazier International History Museum (Official Site)
Having worked on that block for almost 7 years, it is good to hear that something is planned for that space, though I always marveled at the fact that there were so many monumental buildings on that block on both sides of the street that are apparently vacant, or utilized for storage at most. Hopefully someday someone will come along with the money needed to complete the rehab of a block that may have been the turning point in the revitalization of downtown.
Anyone aware of the Spertus Institute building in Chicago by Krueck + Sexton? This is a prime spot to try something just as innovative and exciting: