What Is A Housing Project?

Clarksdale Housing Project Just Before Demolition
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The new HOPE VI development named 810 East Broadway held an official ribbon cutting yesterday. We’ve told you about the building all through construction and gave you a tour of the building last week, but the rest of the news came on board today with fresh coverage after the press event. Some news outlets labeled the 22-unit mixed-use building a “housing project.” We feel this term isn’t appropriate for describing the future of public housing in Louisville.

Housing “projects” are what we’re replacing. The old Clarksdale Homes (pictured above) were torn down to create the mixed-use, mixed-income Liberty Green development. 810 East Broadway is part of that transformation. While the building does have sub-market rate apartments, it’s part of a new approach to public housing called scattered site development where small numbers of units occur all throughout the city. The term housing project, for us at least, still carries a negative stigma from the 20th century equivalent and isn’t constructive to describe the new nature of these developments, especially 810 East Broadway.

But it’s really all just word play. This is a development project and it includes housing. Housing project. So, you could suppose that Waterfront Park Place or the Fleur-de-Lis on Main, or Lake Forest subdivision for that matter are all housing projects. But they don’t get headlines that read “City opens new housing project” from Fox 41. Most were more sensitive. The C-J simply called it “public housing” or an “apartment complex” while Wave 3 says it’s a “housing complex for working families.” WFPL had the best headline reading “New Housing Development Opened Downtown.” It gets to the point without allowing stereotypes to fester beneath stigmatized words. And it generates the most excitement.

This is a new housing development in a beautiful new building that is one of the most contextually sensitive in Louisville. The city should be excited there’s 22 new housing units near downtown and over 3,000 square feet of new market rate retail space on Broadway. This building will be great for the city. The design of the structure (by Kersey & Kersey Architects) may have been a little too good, though. Apparently 810 East Broadway blends so well with its historic surroundings, Wave 3 thought it was a renovation: “The 801 East Broadway building at the corner of Shelby and East Broadway has been completely renovated to provide 16 one-bedroom apartments as well as six two-bedroom apartments.” It’s like the building has been here all along.

Are we concerned about nothing or do you agree 810 East Broadway isn’t a “housing project?” Even Mayor Abramson was delighted that we’ve progressed from warehousing the poor in barracks. Your thoughts in the comments.

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Branden Klayko


  1. you want the tv news and the papers to choose a more accurate and descriptive language over words that are sensationalist/provocative?! good luck with that.

  2. I absolutely agree with you. Part of changing our culture of understanding is changing our language. If we are to move beyond the culture of the projects we can’t just build new buildings, we have to build new characterizations.

  3. I grew up in Clarksdale. I lived at 400 S. Hancock and 748 Fehr St. I went to school at St. Boniface in the third and the fifth through the eight grades. I was an alter boy at St. Boniface as well as a choir member.

    I know that it was time for the projects to go; but, that area and St. Boniface especially was such a huge part of my life. A big part me went with Clarksdale.


  5. The Liberty Green area is certainly one of the most transformed areas of Louisville. In less than 100 years, the area has radically transformed from an old historic neighborhood into the Clarksdale Homes, and now into a neighborhood completely dissimilar from either one but with a much less disruptive built form.

    The people make the community, though, and not the buildings as evidenced by Charlie and Ron’s comments. I wonder if there is anyone in Louisville who grew up in the original Phoenix Hill setting and has now witnessed the neighborhood torn down and rebuilt twice. What an amazing story.

  6. I grew up in Clarksdale as well, on the 500 block of E Muhammad Ali Blvd. I lived there from 89-98′(out way before the demolition proposal)But it’s still a shame to see my neighborhood and my whole childhood go. The demolition was good and bad for many reasons. The city claims that it was primarily for the people and to rid the area of crime, but the real reason was primarily to increase the retail value for the downtown area. Think about it. Anyone remember downtown in the early 90’s? It was nothing but scrap metal yards on the east side along the river. Now days you have new condos, 4th street live, Slugger field, Waterfront park, etc,etc. How is the city going to bring attraction to all these new things with a notorious housing project only blocks away? That was the real reason for the demolition. Not to mention the stressful process for former Clarksdale residents to get back into Liberty Green after being promised 1st dibs. It’s one big mess. Louisville did a lot of families dirty by demolishing Clarksdale. Yes there were bad times, just like anywhere. But there was also a lot of good about Clarksdale including the people. Only the negativity is what shined through with the help of the media. Now my whole childhood is gone. I can’t even go down my own old block to see the building I grew up in, and in a way it hurts. All you have are memories. I loved growing up In Clarksdale and there isn’t any other neighborhood or project in Louisville that i would have wanted to be from. It made me who I am today and I will never forget it. Only someone from there would understand what I mean. We was the biggest, livest, and most notorious projects in the city even before Cotter and Lang homes(Southwick) was demolished, Clarksdale was still like it’s own city within the city. RIP.

    Oh and by way Charlie Day there is/was no Fehr St, in Clarksdale or even in the city of Louisville for that matter. There is a Fehr Rd, but again that’s not in Clarksdale or any where near it. However S Hancock that you mentioned is. Just wanted to point that out.

  7. It’s true as you point out, Clarksdale, that a sense of community is more than just the architecture that’s around it. I find it fascinating how you describe the close-knit community at Clarksdale as a sort of city within a city. I don’t believe, however, there was anything sinister behind the demolition. As you described it with scrap yards everywhere, the city wasn’t in great shape back in the early 90s. It evokes a scene of a city in trouble. Much of the new development you cited is Louisville getting back on its feet.

    It’s sad to lose the physical reminders of the memories of our childhoods, but it’s important to recognize the benefits that Liberty Green brought to the entire city. Gentrification is bound to happen with new development and we will have to address it when it comes along, but LG provides a definite buffer that theoretically at least should provide a more well-rounded community. I can’t speak for the ease or difficulty or stress in moving from Clarksdale to LG or elsewhere, but I imagine such a transition could be difficult for anyone. It is a major move to redevelop such a large swath of the urban landscape, but the existing conditions and really a lot of urban development throughout the 20th century has forced such a large scale move to be made now. It appears, I hope, as if we’re heading towards a more stable future.

    Lastly about Fehr Street. The street name did exist a very long time ago as the eastern stretch of what is now Liberty Street. Fehr Avenue was the name east of where Liberty curves near the hospital district at Preston Street. Other names for this stretch of street through history include Grayson Street and Green Street.

  8. I wasn’t aware of the Fehr Street info. I guess that must have been a long time ago. As a matter of fact I didn’t even live in Clarksdale when Muhammad Ali was still Walnut Street before naming it after Ali. I don’t think anythig was sinister about the demolition either Branden. However it’s just ironic about all the businesses and newly redeveloped downtown going up in a matter of 3 blocks away. The city would be wasting is time trying to revitialize downtown with all these attractions, having Clarksdale near by. Condos wouldn’t sell and people would think twice before going to or parking near Slugger Field or anywhere else near by. It’s not a coincidence Clarksdale was chosen, is all I’m saying. Clarksdale was bad I agree. But there are 4 other projects. Why wasn’t they chosen? The answer to that is location. Shephard Square is further away from the river south of Broadway. Park Hill is isolated enough, located west of Old Louisville in some what of a no-mans land with nothing major around. Beecher Terrace is the cleanest and less violent project in the city. Plus its located right next to the Housing Authority, therefore it’s tended to much more. It will be the last to go (if ever proposed at all). Lastly Iroquois, is in the south end. I must say it is now going through demolition. But that is now. Now that Clarksdale is gone. Iroquois is the armpit of the south end but not vital in location like Clarksdale was.

    All I’m saying is that the city wanted to make it sound as if it was demolished for the people and to make it a better community when that may be some what true but it isn’t the only reason, nor the real reason. That is an excuse. If it was for the people then, why is it so hard for “the people” to get back in? The city wants to bring retail value to downtown, which is the same reason why condos are going up left and right. Liberty Green is even close in size to house the amount of people that Clarksdale did, especially when more than half of LG isn’t even affordable now and being sold as condo units. Not to mention it isn’t completed yet. But even once done, the numbers don’t add up regardless. People don’t want to look at all the effects and only want to look glass half full. Many families were effected by this. And again I was out 4 years before they even planned to tear it down, so my family wasn’t effect other than my childhood gone. So I’m holding ay personal vendetta or anything. Facts are just facts. Clarksdale is gone regardless so there’s nothing these families can do now but accept the fact they were forced into other neighborhoods, school districts, and lives altered without any say so what so ever. Why? It all boils down to money in the end, just like everything.

  9. I lived in the Clarksdale projects from 1960 to 1972.Had a lot of good times there.Liberty st was Fehr st when they tore down the Fehr Beer company on Jackson st around walnut to Preston and down to Fehr st it was one city block around it.I went up the ladder on the big black smoke stack.It was 200 feet high.They had to call the police to get me down.
    I went to Saint Boniface school from 1961 to 1969.It,s a Shame the had to tear down the place because of the crime.The Police would not go there
    To respond to the calls.

  10. Decisions regarding the future of housing projects should not involve the considerations of families lucky enough to be sheltered within at the time that such future plans are considered. The intentions of the tax payers and the city/county community at large are the ones which should influence the future of housing projects. HPs should be seen as a temporary bridge to enable families to become self-sustaining. I resent the notion that it is seen as acceptable for people to have “grown up” in housing projects. Nothing against those people that have…the fault lies with the community who has allowed this phenomenon to exist.

  11. Title Frank Fehr Brewing Company, Louisville, Kentucky.
    Description Fehr’s Brewery at Preston and Fehr Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky. An iron gate connects a brick wall and a brick building, cutting off a cobbled section in front of a building behind. High above the gate is an arch. The Frank Fehr Brewing Company was originally on Green Street (now Liberty Street) between Preston Street and Jackson Street in 1872. It went on to become the largest brewery in Kentucky. It joined the Central Consumers Corp. with other breweries in 1901. Fehr Brewery was the only brewery in the corporation to reopen after Prohibition. The brewery closed in 1964. A housing facility for the elderly, called Dosker Manor, was built on the site of the brewery.
    Subject Buildings
    Brewing industry

  12. I still have one of those Fehr’s Bears Lamps. A little red and white bear with a gold pole going up for the lamp. My brother and I each had one growing up. Mine is at my mother’s. His is probably there too.

  13. I lived at 443 Jackson street for 12 years.Meet a lot of friends there.
    There use to be a concrete camel in the courts and a big seal.
    Rest in Peace old friend.Will be missed

  14. Does any one have Pic. of the Projects from the 60s.
    If Please send them to me .
    Thanks ED

  15. ^ Although I didn’t live there then or even born in the 60’s, I do have pics of Clarksdale in the 60’s and even earlier.

  16. Clarksdale was yet another mistake by the national gov trying to determine whats best for its citizens…not that people don’t need a bridge, but it became a lifestyle that eventuaully sank into drugs and crime. My family has lived/owned property in the neighborhood since the mid 1800’s and the area is near as it was prior to Clarksdale as it has ever been.

  17. [ Edited: No personal information in the comments, please. I’ll help facilitate the photos, though. ]

  18. I thought you were going to get Pic. from or through the person called Clarksdale for me.
    thanks ED

  19. Hi Clarksdale

    The guy from this site says for you to contact him and send him the Pic.and he can send them to me.

    thanks ED

  20. i lived in clarksdale from 1959 thru 1972 i sure miss that place i lived at 751 marshall ct. went to st. boniface would love to see some old pictures is ypur name eddie goldsmith if so i remember you and your brother and i believe your sisters name was bonnie

  21. [ Note: Please. It’s against Broken Sidewalk policy to post personal information in the comments. Feel free to contact bs (at) brokensidewalk (dot) com if you have any questions or concerns. ]

    dear eddie, haven’t seen any of you forever would be nice to see you all again. i thought i was the only one who still thinks about the jex.

  22. dear ed cant get you on space book my address is 3422 vetter cal or write i’m in the phonebook do u remember me

  23. dear ed I couldn’t find the right ed goldsmith on facebook. i know your the guy i went to school with. do you still see any clarksdale people. i still see a lot of people from there. do you remember charlie brown greg noakes, stids and burkey, mike radcliffe,david gowers,eddie nelson david elble and so many more i still have contact with.some guy posted in january that clarksdale was only a goverment turning all of us into criminals with low income housing.perhaps mike dosen’t remember people freezing to death and the lack of decent housing that plagued during the 1930s. Clarksdale was warm and a safe place to to live better than a pop belly stove full of cole. there were gettos before projects.

  24. I tried finding you on FB. Theres a few Eddie Goldsmiths on there, tried filtering by location..none for Louisville.

  25. Clarksdale (rip), you really should get your facts straight before trashing someone’s comment. It is good that you now know that Fehr actually did exist. What did you think? Nothing in that area existed before you lived there? Jeez.

  26. Does anyone have the pics of the Clarksdale Projects around 321 S Jackson Street? It was right behind the St. Boniface church. I lived there in 1963
    until 1967. Does the last name Tungate or Calhoun ring a bell for anyone? I would like pics of the inside of the apartment. Someone please help me and thank you

  27. I grew up in clarkdale(1960-1970) we live at 742 fehr ave. I went to st.john’s and st.boniface, then attend worener jr, high and then Male high. Walk from the project to both high school from the project’s. I would love to have picture from the 1958 thru the 1970’s of clarkdale, thought I was poor then, but they really were the best years of my life, great people (we were all family in those days) would love to see a clarksdale reuion 1960 thru 1970’s. That would be great, remember the clarkdale dance on friday nights.If any one has any picture please e-mail at stardust1970@insightbb.com

  28. My grandmother was a widow and lived on Hancock, in the 1940s. St. Boniface was on Fehr Street, and the Haymarket was west of that part of town. There was also a ball park in Hancock.
    The people living there at that time were wonderful neighbors.

  29. I lived in Clarksdale from 1958 to 1965 on Ballard Ct. I have many fond memories from those days. We had to move because my dad got a good job and was making too much money. One of the saddest days was moving away from there. Alway a yard full of kids to play with, and summer nights the parents would sit outside of talk. I remember going to the Wesley house and went to camp in the summer. ANyone else remember the Wesley House. I also remember playing on the seal in the back court, going to the ballpark and playing ball (I also broke my arm in that park)on the monkey bars. And I do know there was a street call Fehr, because my older brother Gary got hit by a car on that street. I went to Hiriam Roberts School. A few yrs ago I was in at the German Cafe, a little bar on Goss Ave. and there were many people there from Clarksdale. Not sure but they may have been having a reunion. I do remember some saying they lived in Clarksville in the 50’s and 60’s.

  30. My grandmother Abbie Wheatley, her friend Frank Claus, my father Pat Wheatley lived in clarksdale on an end unit I think in abt 1939 ??Does anyone remember my dad? I have pics of them out in their yard with a 2story building with a smokestack in the background. Maybe a factory? also have pics of my dad (teens) at a playground, maybe a school playground. I would appreciate any info. S. Wheatley

  31. @Charlie Day – I said I had lived there from the late 80’s to mid 90’s apparently long after most people are referring to. people on here are going back to the 50’s and 60’s. Im only 28. So try to stop sounding like a smartass, I said I wasn’t aware. I was speaking on what I know from my years at CDP. I was around until a few years right before it got demolished in the high of its crime, so Im more of a “newer school” resident that most.

  32. @Peggy Magan – I also remember The Wesley House. I was just a few blocks North East of CDP going into the Butchertown neighborhood. I too went to the summer camps that they had sign ups for. I went out to Camp Loucon out near Leitchfield, Ky. They used to have sign ups for all the young project kids to get out and away from the hood for a week or 2. I actually enjoyed that. Memories. I remember Clarksdale Day every year. There was a lot of good time there. I practically lived at east louisville park on hancock & liberty. I walked there from my spot on Muhammad Ai Blvd(old Walnut St.) & Hancock St.

  33. @Ed Goldsmith – I grew up in the Clarksdale projects and lived there from 1963 and then went to Omer Carmichael Elementary onto Woerner Jr. High.Had some good times there too as I lived behind St. Boniface church

  34. omg how i wish i could go back i think i was 4 years old when we moved in around 1958 and i moved out in 1971. i lived at 742 fehr st and had 5 sisters..i dont remember anyone on here but maybe mike putman his grangma lived there mrs.lambert,scotty jewell was at my house all the time and he protected me back then.i went to st,johns and st boniface and good old clarksdale dance,,wow the memories r so good..but it looks so different now.

  35. @gail wheatley – Gail. My father was Pat Wheatley, my grandmother Abbie Wheatley, who lived at 403? Clay St. Did you know them? Are you related? Im trying to find anyone who knew them or find any relatives. Are you related? I can give you more info if you need. S. Wheatley

  36. my siblings perished in a fire on marshall ct april 1962. would so love to have some pictures of marshall ct. thanks