1131 Payne Street (Courtesy Tipster)
1131 Payne Street (Courtesy Tipster)
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A camel-back shotgun house at 1131 Payne Street in Irish Hill long in foreclosure is set for demolition. Neighboring business owner J.C. Stites, co-founder of 8664, purchased the building at auction in March but plans to raze the house are causing a stir in the neighborhood as some fear future demolition and surface parking lots.

1131 Payne Street (Courtesy Tipster)
1131 Payne Street (Courtesy Tipster)

Stites, who attempted to buy the structure four years ago, said he understands the concerns and resistance of the neighborhood. “It makes me sick to think that I’m tearing something down, but I have to consider what am I saving?” he said, citing lead paint, a sagging foundation, rotting wood beneath vinyl siding, and holes in walls. Stites said he has no plans to pave a parking lot on the site, only to remove the building, plant grass, and extend a picket fence that’s in front of his adjacent business.

According to en amail, he told Lisa Dettlinger of the Irish Hill Neighborhood Association that initial estimates for rehabbing the house were too expensive and the city declared the building uninhabitable until lead in the soil was abated. “I don’t come to this decision easily. I’m an advocate for historic preservation and smart growth. That’s why I invested in this neighborhood to rehab the church building we’ve been in for more than eight years,” the email said. Still, as one tipster writes, revealing the unease of neighbors, “I fear his ultimate goal is to buy the house next that house and also tear it down. He told the Neighborhood association that the house was structurally unsound and it would benefit the neighborhood to tear it down.”

Photos of 1131 Payne Street (Courtesy JC Stites)
Photos of 1131 Payne Street (Courtesy JC Stites)
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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

4 COMMENTS

  1. I moved into the neighborhood 17 years ago and some of the older neighbors told us about our house. Apparently, it was in pretty bad shape before someone named Hoskins decided to renovate it. The beams in the cellar were termite ridden and the whole foundation leaned. They killed the termites, replaced the rotten beams and took a crane and lifted a corner of the house off of the old foundation and repaired it. They then built a camel back and this is a beautiful home now. It is not impossible to do this to the property on Payne street. This is the place that lots of young first time home owners are looking to live in. Lots of older people are also looking to downsize in a neighborhood that is convenient to shopping, dining walking and biking. Don’t sell us short!

  2. As someone mentioned in another thread, Louisville really does need a comprehensive approach to historic preservation that avoids the extremes of “preserve everything” and “tear down whatever you want.” The shotguns, along with the big Victorians in Old Louisville and elsewhere, are Louisville’s two distinctive residential architectural elements. But there are thousands upon thousands of shotguns in the city, and they don’t all need or deserve to be saved. I can’t fault an owner who wants to tear down a house with holes in the walls when it’s not exactly a rare, unique structure.

  3. I’m confused about this situation. So Mr. Stites claims that it “makes him sick” to tear this house down, and doesn’t want to be at odds with the community. Yet he bought the house (on his second attempt), and is going through all this trouble (not to mention the expense of actually hiring someone to bring it down) just so he can put in some grass and a fence? And it would benefit the neighborhood to create an empty lot were two homes used to stand? I’m not buying it. Am I crazy?

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