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We don’t go into detail here on Broken Sidewalk on the vast majority of demolitions that take place around the city. We stick to the most important structures and the biggest losses to the community. But every month, about an entire block’s worth of houses scattered across the city vanishes into thin air.

As preservation skeptics are all-too-fond of pointing out, not every building can be saved and not every building is historic. We agree, but it seems someone brings up that old argument every single time a building in Louisville is set to be torn down, no matter the merits of the structures at hand.

Most of the demolitions that take place around the city are run down wooden houses that are too far gone to save, but mixed in are a handful of jewels that the community will later regret tossing to the curb.

This is the first in a monthly series documenting the demolitions that take place around the city—whether they’re worth saving or not. Most of these go unnoticed, yet they are the reason Louisville remains pocked with vacant land. And they represent a significant loss to the city’s prized collection of shotgun houses, which are disappearing fast.

We hope by exposing the extent of demolition going on in the city, others will realize just how much we are losing each month. We’re certainly not advocating to save all of these buildings, but where else will they be eulogized if not here?


718 South 23rd Street

Owner: McWhorter Development Company
Demolition can take place after: February 25, 2015

This one should have been saved. At first, we thought this once-beautiful brick and stone house on 23rd Street was part of MSD’s plan to raze 128 homes in the area, but it turns out that it’s owned by a private company and sits just beyond the demolition zone. The house still appears to be sturdy and would have made a great candidate for renovation. It sits just a half block from Broadway and a stone’s throw from the planned West End Walmart, which would have made it an ideal walkable location. But it appears the city is throwing out the notion of walkability in this part of town anyway.


528 Lampton Street

Owner: Louisville Metro Housing Authority
Demolition can take place after: March 27, 2015

This is another one that should not be torn down. This sturdy brick shotgun house has definitely seen better days, but it’s structural bones appear to be good and it sits right across the street from the reconstruction of Sheppard Square in the quickly revitalizing Smoketown neighborhood. Its site nestled against the old church also adds to the charm of the street and the lintels above the main window feature hand-carved stone. The original cast-iron fence set in a limestone base also lines the sidewalk. Making it doubly tragic, this one is owned by a public agency, the Louisville Metro Housing Authority.


980 Schiller Avenue

Owner: Louisville MSD
Demolition can take place after: March 19, 2015

We’ve already gone over this disappointing demolition plan put forth by MSD, and based on reader feedback, Louisville residents aren’t too pleased. We’ve added it into this roundup since its demolition permit can be issued next week. This is one of the last commercial storefronts of its type in Louisville and there’s absolutely no reason this property couldn’t be saved in place or moved to a vacant lot. If you’d like to make a last ditch plea to save the structure, you might try calling MSD Customer Relations at (502) 587-0603 or call Preservation Louisville at (502) 540-5146 and urge them to make a stand.


2120 Bolling Avenue

Owner: Latoney R. Potter
Demolition can take place after: April 4, 2015

It’s a shame to see this tiny shotgun house go, as it still features its original wooden detailing including gingerbread shingles on its front facade. The house stands as one of the more ornate structures on its block There are already a number of missing teeth on the block and a handful of infill houses are being built with larger side yard spacing, reducing the area’s density.


1415 South 28th Street

Owner: Louisville Land Bank Authority
Demolition can take place after: April 4, 2015

Another former beauty owned by a city agency will bite the dust. This two-story home will be the first missing tooth on its block.


3114 Northwestern Parkway

Owner: Pamela W. Heintzman
Demolition can take place after: April 4, 2015

The photo shows the back of the building facing Tyler Avenue, a sort of Portland neighborhood alley, but this shotgun house looks like many others in the city. It’s just one more missing tooth in an area pocked with vacant land.


3140 South Third Street

Owner: Churchill Downs
Demolition can take place after: April 3, 2015

It looks Churchill Downs has plans for the corner of South Third Street and Central Avenue. The racetrack has been buying up land in the area to the east of the Twin Spires and much of this block is owned by CD or Metro Louisville.


2319 West Ormsby Avenue

Owner: Larry E. Gatewood
Demolition can take place after: April 4, 2015

This simple shotgun house might look humble, but it’s part of Louisville’s architectural heritage.


1762 West Oak Street

Owner: The Estate of Elsie McAtee
Demolition can take place after: April 4, 2015

A lot has changed in this part of Dixie Highway, especially along the commercial corridor. What was once urban is now, well, not particularly recognizable. The neighborhoods have fared better, but here’s one more vacant lot for the area.


627 East Ormsby Avenue

Owner: Dorothy M. Hanley
Demolition can take place after: March 13, 2015

Shelby Park is one of Louisville’s hottest neighborhoods, located right next to Germantown and Old Louisville and just a few blocks from Downtown. It’s always a shame to see a house on a mostly intact area bite the dust.


2211 Wilson Avenue

Owner: Alan Martin
Demolition can take place after: March 13, 2015

This shotgun house has definitely seen better days. It’s a shame that the mature tree in its front yard will likely be a casualty of the demolition, what with Louisville suffering from the worst urban heat island effect in the country.


1624 West Breckinridge Street

Owner: Creny Properties, James Henry Crenshaw
Demolition can take place after: February 27, 2015

Just one more shotgun about to be blasted away.


1419 Berry Boulevard

Owner: James Michael Rademaker
Demolition can take place after: February 27, 2015


1404 Woody Avenue

Owner: The Estate of Albert Roth
Demolition can take place after: April 9, 2015


1524 West St. Catherine Street

Owner: The Estate of Delbert King
Demolition can take place after: April 10, 2015


1625 West Ormsby Avenue

Owner: Derrick & Connie S. Carr
Demolition can take place after: April 9, 2015

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  1. This is eye opening. How can the public learn of properties that are in danger, but not yet approved for DEMO? And is there anyway to then market them to likely buyers?

  2. Sorry cat hit hand resulting in Rhan…. Thanks for highlighting Waste Louisville, our green sustainable visionary proposal to continue to fiddle while Louisville burns.
    We have an amazing housing stock that is being dumped quickly and quietly every day. This is Louisville’s affordable housing stock. I spent the past four hours in three older buildings in need and one in rehab. Some people see the forest and the trees. Unfortunately Develop Louisville , code for Clueless with a Bullet, considers this progress. Less blight, which for me is code for possibility. Water poured through house number one. No problem we can and will fix that. Instead of subsiding fancy hotels and spapartments, how about affordable units in existing housing stock ? When you have housing for all income levels neighborhoods thrive . We should have the Housing Collective, where these owners can donate the house like we do cars. So many opportunities wasted.

  3. Preservation Louisville has been letting people know about these demos through our facebook page in a weekly segment called Tear Down Tuesday- we have been trying to engage people for a quite some time with this issue- maybe you can just promote our feed BS?

  4. Thanks for taking this on, Broken Sidewalk. The notice for demolitions
    Metrowide clogs our email box weekly. We use to post selected ones, but the volume is a lot for an all volunteer group to deal with. It is really a crisis in structural loss and less about “preservation” than absolute waste. We appreciate your effort to compile and present in a way that reminds us what is being lost and where. Another interesting exercise would be to track what replaces these structures and how many owners own multiple neglected structures. If only there was enough energy and people power to study, identify troubling patterns and find better solutions. Keep up the good work! You are awesome!

  5. This is a terrific post. The major structures that are demolished are significant, but these smaller dwellings and places are part of the fabric of the community. They really tell the story of Louisville and it is a shame so many are haplessly demolished.

  6. Broken Sidewalks- should do a story about these publicly bought properties, bought and held while city agencies plan to demo them at taxpayers expense. Builders and homeowners, cash in hand would like to renovate them. How do we put these back on the market . There is another one at 532 Breckinridge in the same condition also owned by metro.