I was surprised to be welcomed by a beefeater at the Frazier
Museum downtown Louisville. Here the history depicting the evolution of weapons
and warfare throughout the ages is presented in the chronological sequence but
ends with a display with old cars and dresses from the “gilded age.” There are dioramas of some famous historical
battles such as the battle of Culloden. It
also offers impersonation of historical people and the day I was there Annie
Oakley, a famous sharpshooter of the late XIX century who performed with
Buffalo Bill’s Circus was featured.
Old Louisville is a neighborhood that was developed in the
in the grounds where the 1883 Southern Exposition took place. After the closure
and removal of the buildings of the exposition the land was sold and the
Belgravia and St. James Courts developed.
Most of the mansions have survived and among the most prominent is the
Conrad-Caldwell House located at 1402 St. James Court, also known as Louisville
Castle. It included electrical and internal plumbing systems, the latest
innovations of the era. One interesting
item was the design of the lamps in places such as the living and dining rooms were
designed both with electrical and gas supplies in case on failed. The mansion is furnished with items of the
age and one in particular attracted my attention—the Baby Daisy Vacuum Cleaner. It was man-powered and required two persons
to operate. It came also as an electric powered version but appears that former
unit was more popular. It was invented
in France but mostly fabricated in England. Behind the Baby Daisy there are
other dust removal artifacts such as the carpet beater resting against the
corner. I have visited many of these
mansions but this one is the only one that will deserve a second visit.
The Pink House at 1473 St. James Court is the second most
appealing to me, not just because of its color but because of it was built as a
casino and later used by the Women’s Temperance Union …if the walls could talk.
It has the most beautiful door.
There are other homes of varied styles in the Old town
trying to imitate those of the original Belgravia and St. James neighborhoods
in London, England. The mansion below
located at 1424 St James St. is in the Venetian gothic style and those who have
visited the real Venice in Italy, will recognize the style except for the
colors. The home at 424 Belgravia Court
has an interesting double set of stairs. By the way, when I arrived in
Louisville, I went to the Old Louisville Chamber of Commerce at 1217 South and
4th Street to look for guides and it was closed…the building was
empty and no directions as to where it was moved to.
A visit to Louisville is not complete unless one crosses the
river and visit Clarksville. Here at the
“Falls of the Ohio” Meriwether Lewis met William Clark before commencing their
famous expedition west after Louisiana Purchase by Thomas Jefferson from
Napoleon in 1803; the greatest real estate deal in history. Interestingly Roger Clark a Revolutionary War
hero and the founder of Louisville was the father of William Clark. There is a
river drive that begins where the monument to the explorers is located and
driving up river there is the walking bridge and an old house that now operates
as an ice cream shop. It was closed
because who wants ice creams outdoor in the winter…it was already freezing. Another
point of interest at the end of the road is Steamboat Museum.
Back in Louisville driving around saw the Goose Creek
Dinner, I cannot pass one; they are a welcome relief from the chain eateries. The country style meal was excellent and the
prices…a travel back in time when a buck was worth a dollar. And as bonus, I
found this graffiti in the wall of the garage next door. So with this blog I
finish 2014. Next for 2015, a return to
the wild places…stay tuned.