Hogs being led to the Bourbon Stockyards on Market Street (See credit below)
Hogs being led to the Bourbon Stockyards on Market Street (See credit below)
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Okay, so the photo above technically isn’t within the official boundaries of Butchertown today, but during the days of the Bourbon Stockyards, East Market Street shared many similarities with Butchertown one block north. Edna Kubala, who just finished her new book Louisville’s Butchertown, says livestock in the streets was once a common site in the area.

Louisville's Butchertown by Edna Kubala
Louisville’s Butchertown by Edna Kubala

Butchertown has been in the news quite a bit recently, but much of its history has been a mystery—until now. Kubala’s book fills in the gaps revealing the secrets behind the neighborhood’s architecture, businesses, and people. After reading through the book, due out next Monday, February 8th, and studying its more than 200 photos, I was left with a much deeper understanding for Butchertown as a neighborhood in transition.

Walking along Story Avenue today, it’s easy to notice that much of the built environment isn’t original. Louisville’s Butchertown reveals the lost architecture of the neighborhood such as the grand Oertel’s Brewery and documents the changing face of neighborhood businesses like Edinger’s who once crafted wagons and now manufactures truck beds on Main Street.

Louisville’s Butchertown, published by Arcadia Publishing, costs $21.99 and will be available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at 888.313.2665. Edna Kubala is also offering a chance to win a $25 Louisville Originals gift card if you pre-order the book (more details here). She will be participating in several book signings in upcoming weeks (details below.)

Ice warehouse on Main & Hancock before a devastating fire (See credit below)
Ice warehouse on Main & Hancock before a devastating fire (See credit below)

The book is arranged as a pictorial tour with detailed descriptions narrating the journey. While Butchertown’s heritage as a neighborhood of butchers is emphasized, Louisville’s Butchertown delves deeper to understand the tight-knit neighborhood that’s always been at the heart of the area. Kubala also dedicates a chapter to the legacy of flooding in the neighborhood with many photos unseen until now.

Edna Kubala moved to Butchertown two years ago knowing little of the neighborhood’s history. She was amazed to learn just how old the neighborhood really was—much older than Old Louisville where Kubala lived in college. She set about interviewing long-time residents and businesses and looking into forgotten archives to record the neighborhoods history before it was lost.

While researching and conducting interviews, Kubala recounts how much she enjoyed talking with neighbors about their memories of Butchertown. One of her favorite stories involved a herd of cows on Washington Street. Long ago, one resident’s mother wearing a red scarf accidentally provoked the herd sending them stampeding in her direction. She ran to safety but swore never to wear red again in her life.

Photographs and stories recounted in Louisville’s Butchertown may be centered around a single neighborhood, but their influence spans all of Louisville. Butchertown helped shape the city and its long history is closely intertwined with all of Louisville. Be sure to check out the book next Monday or pre-order your copy from Edna Kubala’s web site to dig even deeper into the history of Butchertown.

Young''s Place at Story Ave. & Cabel Street in 1937 flood (see credit above)
Young’s Place at Story Ave. & Cabel Street in 1937 flood. (see credit below)
[ All photos reprinted with permission from Louisville’s Butchertown, by Edna Kubala. Available from the publisher online at www.arcadiapublishing.com or by calling 888-313-2665. ]

Book Signing
Saturday, February 13, 2010
noon – 4 pm
Thomas Edison House
729-31 E. Washington Street Louisville, KY 40202

Book Signing
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
6 – 8 pm
The Eye Care Institute
1536 Story Avenue Louisville, KY 40206

Book Signing
Saturday, February 20, 2010
2 – 4 pm
Barnes & Noble 2705
801 S. Hurstbourne Pkwy. Louisville, KY 40222

Book Signing
Saturday, February 27, 2010
3 p.m.
Miss Cs’ Kitchen and Pantry
1319 Story Ave Louisville, KY 40206

Book Signing
Friday, March 05, 2010
12 – 1:30 pm
Borders 556
400 S. 4th Street Louisville, KY 40202

Book Signing
Friday, March 5, 2010
6 – 8 pm
Urban Design Studio
507 S Third Street, Louisville KY 40202

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Branden Klayko

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

2 COMMENTS

  1. I look forward to seeing the continued evolution of this neighborhood into a dense residential area, an expanding small business hub, retail and entertainment area, and the home of compatible industrial tenants. The only question is whether the SJ/new bridge redesign will reverse the progress already made. Someoneone should tell that lady she can wear red again. Cows are red green color blind.

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