Irish Hill: Reflecting the Immigrants of Louisville

real estate  /   /  By Tracy

Louisville is the largest city within Kentucky, with the historical charm of an established southern metropolis. Originally settled by Irish Catholic immigrants, this district overlooks the Ohio River. Founded in 1778, Louisville started off as a trading settlement. Gradually, the city grew to accommodate the trade from both the rivers and its architectural growth. As a result, the outlying neighborhoods started to fill up with the various immigrants from all walks of life. Within this sprawling city is the neighborhood known as Irish Hill. The hill was first named Billy Goat Hill, after a goat farm that was part of the district.

Irish Hill was a working class neighborhood, reflecting the growth of the city throughout the 19th century. During the flood of 1937, Irish Hill was instrumental in caring for the displaced residents by providing them food, water and temporary shelter as they moved to higher ground.

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Formed in 1976, the Irish Hill Neighborhood Association was formed to address issues within the neighborhood, such as abandoned houses. Eventually, it disbanded but was reformed in the 1990s. To date, the association has worked to remove a cell tower and negotiate various developments of older complexes, including scrap yards. They have continued to work to preserve the natural creeks of the area, as well as preserve the local historical houses and buildings.

Distillery Commons was once the Old Kentucky Distillery, which was one of the largest distilleries during its operation. Today, it has been redeveloped into several commercial office spaces. This neighborhood was also home to multiple shotgun homes from the early twentieth century. These houses were not more than 12 feet wide and the rooms opening into each other throughout the length of the house. One door on the front and back completed the home. These are prevalent throughout the south.

Larger historical homes with a Victorian feel have also been made part of the National Register of Historical Places. Such homes include the Valentine Schneikert house as well as the Nicholas Finzer house. The Finzer house is still the largest house within the neighborhood.

In addition to shopping and entertainment venues throughout the neighborhood, this is also home to Breslin Park. This park has been the site of recent improvements, including a new playground, a multi-use field and a walking trail that encompasses the park.

Irish Hill is home to those commuting into Louisville for work, but also provides a wonderful view of the Ohio River

One of the historical cornerstones of the district is St. Aloysius Catholic Church, along with its school. The church was dedicated in 1890. The church and school were closed in 1996 by the Archdiocese of Louisville. Although there were strong objections by the neighborhood, the decision could not be overrode. For many families, this was the church that generations of their family had attended. Thus, it still remains a heartwarming and historical part of the district.

 

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