18" x 7 3/4" print on artisan paper, showcasing some of Old Louisville's finest examples of Victorian architecture.
The neighborhood known as "Old Louisville" boasts the largest existing collection of Victorian Residential Architecture in America. It is south of downtown Louisville. The history of Old Louisville begins with an event called the Southern Exposition of 1883, a World's Fair style of event held after the Civil War at the current site of Old Louisville. The main attraction of the Southern Exposition was a massive exhibition hall measuring 900' x 600' (the size of over 10 football fields). The event promoted the rebirth of the South's industry, commerce, and innovation. Louisville was an ideal geographic location as a transportation hub and the new growth made Louisville a very wealthy city.
The building was dismantled in 1889 and the land was divided into large residential lots laid out to a similar traditional English neighborhood plan, incorporating open courts, pedestrian pathways, and English named streets. This 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. This drawing depicts Victorian and Eclectic styles (from left to right): Beaux Art Classicism, Richardsonian Romanesque, Eclectic Chateauesque, Chateauesque, and Richardsonian Romanesque style. Other Victorian styles such as Queen Anne, Second Empire, and Folk Victorian, can be seen in Old Louisville. Victorian architecture evolved due to the expanded variety of building materials that were now affordable as they were being transported by railroad from all over the country. Pre-Victorian houses had mostly flat walls made of stacked brick with little detailing. Key to the Victorian styles were the playful walls in various dimensions, shapes, and textures. Turrets, elaborate porches, bay windows, wood shingled walls, and fanciful dormers gave homes complex front elevations.