Old Louisville has the largest existing collection of Victorian Residential Architecture in America. It is south of downtown Louisville. Victorian Old Louisville began with the Southern Exposition of 1883, a World's Fair style of event held after the Civil War at the current site of Old Louisville. A massive exhibition hall measuring 900' x 600' (the size of over 10 football fields) was built to showcase and promote the rebirth of the South's industry, commerce, and innovation. Louisville was ideally geographically located as a transportation hub. The building was dismantled in 1889 and the land divided into large residential lots laid out similar to a traditional English neighborhood plan, incorporating open courts, pedestrian pathways, and English named streets. St. James Court is the heart of Old Louisville. As Louisville thrived in the 1890's so did the wealthy class, who made Old Louisville their home. The houses were built one grander than the next, and the beauty of the houses reflect the best craftsmen that money could buy.
The term Victorian actually refers to the time period at the turn of the century and is an umbrella term for all the various styles of architecture at this time. Pre Victorian Georgian and Federal houses were mostly boxes with symmetrical windows and flat walls with few details. Victorian Style evolved due to the expanded variety of building materials, now affordably transported by railroad from all over the country such as elaborate columns, windows, brackets, and railing. Victorian homes exploded the box look with complex shaped walls and textures including turrets, elaborate porches, bay windows, wood shingled walls and fanciful dormers.