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Kentucky: A road trip through the state - Part 5 - Orlando / Florida Guide

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Kentucky – a road trip through the state:- part 5

While you are in town then a trip out to Old Louisville is something you must consider. If you like old homes and fabulous architecture, this is a tour you will not want to miss. This is now one of the largest preserved districts of Victorian architecture within the whole United States. The neighbourhood extends more than a mile south from downtown to the University of Louisville' s Campus and contains three distinct National Register Districts. Most of its classic homes are brick, many of them in the Romanesque, Queen Anne, Italianate and Craftsman architectural styles. Another claim to fame is that the neighbourhood boasts the highest concentration of residential homes with stained glass windows in the U. S.

It was declared a historic preservation district in the 1970s and many consider Old Louisville one of the most architecturally vibrant neighbourhoods in the country. Also with more than a thousand old homes it is one of the largest as well. Old Louisville came into existence in the 1870s as a southern extension to one of the city' s first suburbs. Most of the construction was done primarily between 1880 and 1905. However in one boom period about 250 homes were built. This happened between 1883 and 1886 and these homes were built to house the city' s wealthiest families. This flurry of building activity was also associated with the city' s role as host of the Southern Exposition. This was similar to a World' s Fair and featured the first public display of Thomas Edison' s light bulb. This was billed as the largest artificial lighting display in history. When the 4, 600 lamps were turned on the Victorian era Louisville neighbourhood’s was turned from night into day.

A good and knowledgeable guide is what you really need as you view the area. There are so many stories that they can tell you while pointing out the architectural details as you walk around the neighbourhood. As you walk around you will learn all about the men who became the major owners of the bourbon industry, the racetrack and stables and above all else the tobacco industry. It was these men who lived here and competed with each other that made the historic district into what you see today.

The district claims to be the most haunted neighbourhood in America. However claim seems to crop up in just about every old neighbourhood in the entire United States. This is all brought out on one of the many night time walking ghost tours that you can take. It seems that almost every house is haunted and your guide can easily find you a haunted church, a haunted street corner, or a haunted park. Some of the verified stories are strange but as long as you view this as a night’s entertainment then you will not go far wrong.

At its peak in the late 1800s, Old Louisville was the centre of the city' s social life. Its Central Park was a 17-acre patch named not for the New York landmark but for the Central Street Railway line that brought people out from town to the park land.

By the mid 1930’s the area was in decline with many of the grand mansions turned into apartments and rooming houses for immigrants and the poor. Then in the 1960s the city began revitalization efforts with help from some Federal funds and this has resulted in the neighbourhood regaining its former glory that you see today.

The next section of our trip continues in part 6

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