- Historic U.S. MARINE HOSPITAL
On the right is the United States Marine Hospital, a National Historic Landmark. You can tour the first floor of the hospital and members of the Friends of Marine Hospital are on hand with additional information as well as to answer any questions.
This historic hospital was built in 1852 by the federal government to serve boatmen working on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Robert Mills, America’s first native born architect, who also designed the Washington Monument, designed it. This is the last of seven Marine Hospitals built by Mills on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and the only one left standing. Every registered boatman paid twenty cents a month to receive four free months of health care – – early socialized medicine in America! It served as the primary Louisville hospital until it closed in 1933. Recent exterior renovations were completed several years ago. Funds are still being raised to complete interior renovations
(After turning onto Portland Avenue from Carter Street)
POI A -– To the left you will see one of the former homes of Portland native and football great, Paul Horning (2228 Portland Avenue). Paul resided here in the upstairs apartment with his mother during the time he was being recruited by Bear Bryant.
- PORTLAND MUSEUM
On the left is the Portland Museum. For more than 35 years, the Portland Museum has collected stories, images, and artifacts from the Portland community and kept alive traditions and heritage from this close-knit neighborhood. Originally started as a classroom project in the old Roosevelt School, the Museum moved into its current home, the former Beech Grove mansion, a country estate on Portland Avenue, in the 1980s. Renowned for its imaginative programs for both children and adults, the Portland Museum is active in long range planning, preservation advocacy, and community engagement. It is also the only neighborhood museum in the state of Kentucky. The museum’s current exhibit is LETTERPRESS: Kentucky’s Fine Printers. Today you will see the beautiful work of twelve Kentucky printers, made possible by an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The museum also hosts an annual holiday sale the first Sunday in December showcasing local and regional artists & crafters. So mark your calendars to visit the museum again in December for unique holiday gifts.
POI B – On the right is the Anchor Building, formerly the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, owned by Gill Holland and headquarters of the Portland Investment Initiative (Pii). Pii was launched in 2013 to support the efforts to improve the quality of life and opportunities in the Portland Neighborhood. Pii is the umbrella for various efforts including Portland Stroll District, Artist Row, East Portland Warehouse district, and 21st Century Shotguns. I will share information on each one as we travel throughout the neighborhood.
We are in the original historic Portland business district around Portland Avenue and 26th Street. Future plans are to enhance and leverage into more retail space, tourism opportunities and food establishments, all while supporting the long standing local business that call Portland Avenue home like Shaheen’s department store, the iconic Janes Brothers hardware store opened in 1945, and Sandy’s Florist, locally owned and the owner is the host of the annual Portland Festival the first Saturday in June, all exist in the area identified as the Portland Stroll District Pii initiative.
(After turning the corner onto 26th Street)
POI C & D
On the right you will see the Shippingport Community Garden, a one-acre community garden organized by Louisville Grows, a local urban agriculture non-profit. Behind this is the old Montgomery Street/Emma Dolfinger School that is being remodeled by Gill Holland that will house offices and artist spaces, as well as a non-profit social incubator.
(After turning off of N.W. Pkwy onto 27th St. toward the Locks)
On the right you will see Lannan Park, part of the ring of parks along the Ohio River. We will be crossing thru the floodwall and over the tracks and the Louisville Loop Bicycle and Walking Path that connects the parks.
(After crossing the railroad tracks)
- McALPINE LOCKS AND DAM
On the right is the Portland Canal. Built in 1825 the canal was cut to bypass the river’s rapids, which drop 26 feet in just over two miles. These rapids were called the Falls Of The Ohio, and were the only natural navigational barrier on America’s inland river system.
In 1830, the first steamboat passed through the Louisville and Portland Canal and its early three-lock system. This navigational complex has been enlarged several times in its history. Today, the U.S. Corp of Engineers oversees the McAlpine Locks and Dam. Recent multi-million dollar renovations provided twin 1,200 foot lock chambers allow the largest river tows to pass comfortably through the canal. It now handles more tons of cargo than the Panama Canal. The standard toll is five barges deep by three barges wide carrying weight that is equivalent to 900 semi-trailer trucks! Pretty amazing!
(In turnabout on Northwestern Parkway)
POI E –Warden Pope Mansion
As part of the Portland Enlargement in 1826, Worden Pope owned this property known as Square 4, which was located between Second and Third Cross Streets (present day 29th and 30th Street), on High Street.
The original house was a two-story L-shape brick home, with the front of the house facing Second Cross Street (29th Street).
In 1860, Capt. Enoch Lockhart, superintendent of the Louisville and Portland Canal at the time, purchased the home. Over the years several additions were made to the original structure.
In August of 1910 the K&I Bridge & RR Co. purchased the house and made several more changes. They maintained the house as their corporate office until 1981. The house was empty for several years post K&I’s departure. In December of 2003 Jack and Sandra Miller Custer purchased the home and they are currently in the process of restoration.
(After turning onto Montgomery St. from 29th St)
On the right is the Louisville Loop Bicycle and Walking Path again. We will be passing under the railroad bridge that connects to the historic K&I Railroad Bridge (POI F) on our right. From 1912 through 1929 it was the only way to take a car across the river other than using a ferry. There is now much interest in continuing the Louisville Loop across the K&I Bridge to New Albany. On the right behind the houses, is the Portland Wharf Park (POI G) where archeological excavations have been done by the Portland Museum revealing the foundations and streets of the original Town of Portland.
(As you approach Northwestern Parkway and 33rd Street)
- PORTLAND LIBRARY
The Portland Branch Library, a Carnegie Library built in the Beaux-Arts style, is the third oldest branch in the Louisville Free Public Library system (Crescent Hill 1908, Western 1908). Built in 1912 and opened in 1913, its service to the community has taken many forms over the last century. During the 1937 flood, the Red Cross set up a first aid relief center for flood refugees at the library. It helped more than 1,500 people before the building had to be abandoned. It continues to reach out to the community by forming partnerships with neighborhood schools and service agencies.
Today it has eight computer workstations, one express PC, two child computers, collection and public space on the main floor, and an auditorium used for library programs and as meeting space.
Additionally, it provides the Lincoln Foundation Portland Reading Program (Portland Elementary Grades 1-3) and Computer Learning Lab every Tuesday from 2:00 – 4:00.
Today inside the library auditorium you will see a small collection of photos from the 1937 flood on loan from the Portland museum.
For those who may have trouble with steps, you may use the side entrance on the right.
(Before turning onto N. 34th Street)
POI H – Portland Elementary School – Established in 1853, it is the third oldest school in the Jefferson County Public School System (Can Run Elementary 1832, Shelby Traditional Academy 1850). When the school became old and decrepit, residents would not think of tearing it down. Rather than demolish it, they imaginatively built a new school around it in 1969. You can see the tip of the old school roof above the new entry,
(After turning onto 34th Street
POI – On your right is the historic Squire Earick House – believed to be the oldest wooden house in Jefferson County and the oldest known structure in Portland still standing. In 1819, Lewis Shipman built the house, a heavy timber frame structure in the federal style, on a lot owned by Robert Todd, nephew to General William Lytle, Portland’s founder. Squire Jacob Earick, Portland’s first magistrate, didn’t own the house until 1858, We believe that Squire Earick made many improvements to the house including elongating the windows, adding “Steamboat Gothic” trim, making the kitchen addition, and adding a second floor porch. The Portland Museum is researching and restoring this important Portland landmark and American Treasure.
(As you approach corner of Rudd and 35th Street)
POI J –On your left is the Campbell House built around 1840. The decorative cast-iron porch on the Campbell house suggests an ethnic influence in this originally French neighborhood. Few buildings in Louisville have such iron details. The house is one of Portland’s best townhouses and is Italianate in design. Notice the third floor eyebrow windows and stilted-arch lintels similar to those of townhouses in Butchertown.
(As you approach 35th Street on Rudd Avenue)
POI K & L – On the right you will see the 1937 high water flood marker on the corner utility pole as well as iron mooring rings.
(After crossing 35th Street)
- GOOD SHEPHERD CHURCH – Mass is at 4 PM. Church will not be open for tours, but you are welcome to attend mass.
We will stop on the right at the historic GOOD SHEPHERD CHURCH (the former Church of Our Lady). Founded in 1839, the Church of Our Lady, also known in its early days as “Notre Dame du Port”, has served as a spiritual and social center for the people of Portland. It was founded by one of America’s first priests, Father Stephen Theodore Badin. The earliest congregation was mostly French immigrants — the earliest citizens of Portland. After a fire the current church was rebuilt in 1873. During the Great Flood of 1937, twenty-two feet of water stood in the building and the entire floor collapsed into the basement. In recent years, when St. Cecilia and St. Anthony churches merged with Our Lady’s, the name was changed to Church of the Good Shepherd to reflect its new congregation. A guide will show you around the inside the Church and direct you to refreshments and restrooms.
(After entering Bank St. from 37th Street)
POI M – On the left you will see the historic Portland Cemetery, one of the oldest cemeteries in Louisville with over 7,000 graves. When Portland was a predominately Irish neighborhood, religious differences occurred even here. The cemetery, opened in the 1830s, had separate sections for Catholics and Protestants. Many markers attest to the variety of nationalities in Louisville at the time – French, Irish, German and Italian. Unfortunately, most of the old records were lost in a dispute between two cemetery superintendents. Mary Millicent Miller, the first female to acquire a steamboat master’s license in 1884, is buried here.
(After crossing 28th Street on Bank)
We are approaching the south side of the old Portland Business District. On the left is PNC Bank that bought out Portland Federal Bank started in Portland. Also on the left on the corner is the historic Schweitzer Pharmacy, which needs some tender loving care, by a yet-to-be-found new owner, to restore its former beauty.
(As you pass 26th Street on Bank)
ARTIST ROW, another Pii Initiative we mentioned earlier, is a residential effort focused on the historic and classic shotgun housing form. They are over 40 vacant/abandoned shotgun homes on Bank Street between 26th and 16th streets. Artist Row is strategically working to acquire the abandoned homes in the worst shape and renovate them. Six have been completed to date and work is in progress on the seventh. This initiative is very important due to the fact that after hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisville currently has the most shotgun houses in the nation, and Pii is keen to help save this historic styling.
(As you approach 22nd street on Bank) On the right you will see the iconic arched brick walls of the Shawnee Baptist Campus that originally was the Maryhurst Home For Girls.
The third Pii initiative is 21st Century Shotguns. The plan is to partner with locally and nationally renowned architects to develop ultra modern shotgun houses on some of the vacant lots in the neighborhood. There are over 1400 vacant and abandoned properties in Portland. This can help build up density of living as well as provide a tourism aspect to the neighborhood.
(As you approach 15th Street on Bank)
POI O– Piano Building – Portland Now successfully fought to protect this unusual “flat-iron” building from being demolished by owners in 2003. It became Gill Holland’s first acquisition in Portland. Plans have been discussed for a café to take advantage of its awesome view of the Louisville skyline.
(As you turn onto 15th Street from Bank)
POI P– Oak Distillery – The Hope Distillery located in the Portland Warehouse district is the first known distillery to experiment with steam distillation in 1816. Ten years later, steam power was widely used in the distilling industry.
EAST PORTLAND WAREHOUSE DISTRICT – Another Pii initiative we discussed, plans for the buildings in this area to be developed into cultural, residential and dining destinations. The Tim Faulkner Gallery has been open here for almost two years, there are two new coffee shops open in the neighborhood, McQuixiote and Hot Coffee and the almost 100-year-old Louisville Visual Art is a new Portland resident as their headquarters is now located right here on Lytle providing arts education to kids from all over Jefferson County.
- LOUISVILLE VISUAL ART
Louisville Visual Art is improving lives through visual arts education, community outreach, and artist support, and is the oldest art non-profit organization in the country (1909). They gracious sponsored our juried art show this year. Visit their facility and view local artist’s submissions and interpretation of our theme “Portland: Rising Above the Flood.”
- FAULKNER ART GALLERY
(When turning into Lytle Street from 15th Street)
Tim Faulkner Gallery began operation seven years ago in the NULU neighborhood where it remained for four years and was a favorite spot for local artists, collectors, and musicians. After moving to a warehouse in the Butchertown neighborhood for two years the gallery more than doubled both its event and viewing space when it moved to Portland in February of 2014. The 26,000 square food single story building formerly D.A.E. Industries was a perfect space to showcase the best in local talent. It has also been said that the brick portion of the building, built in the early 1900’s was an orphanage. Children were transported by train and dropped off just outside the building on Portland Avenue. Is this urban legend or fact? Information has been difficult to find. However, its artist residents love the building, now home to the largest art gallery in the region. In May of 2016 Faulkner Gallery will be the host of Beatersville Car & Bike Show (1968 and older traditional rods and customs).
Today the Tim Faulkner Gallery hosts our art and crafters selling their works.
Just past LVA on the left you will see the first renovated shotgun by Gill Holland (1612 Lytle)
POI Q – (At the corner of Lytle before turning onto 17th Street) On our left you will see a vacant corner lot where once stood the boyhood home of Portland native and football great Paul Hornung.
(When turning onto Portland Ave. from 17th Street) –
To your right is Louisville’s urban dyeScape, a network of small-scale gardens that support the cultivation of dye plants for the purpose of natural textile production.
- PROMISE BUILDING
The Promise Building, a historic warehouse building located at 1800 Portland Avenue was constructed at the turn of the century and served as the home for Gantz Furniture until the mid 1970s when purchased by Central Printing. In 2005 the Portland Promise Center purchased the warehouse with a vision to create a hub for economic and leadership development.
In 2012 several families from the Promise Center, with the support of the United Methodist Church, launched a new faith community called Church of the Promise. The new church renovated a section of the warehouse and took up residence in the Promise Building. This past year the church established a non-profit organization called Promise Community Development. The new CDC purchased the building and began to dream of ways to address the economic challenges in Portland through social entrepreneurism.
The dream will turn into reality this Fall with the opening of the Table Café – a restaurant that serves locally grown food with amazing taste, at an affordable price where all can enjoy the flavor of community. The Table operates under a pay what you can model and provides a place where our neighbors can dine with a purpose. Today you will have the opportunity to sample Ale8 pumpkin pork chili.
NELLIGAN HALL – You can walk a 2 ½ blocks up the street to a last minute addition to our event the Nelligan Art Alley Project. You can walk through Nellligan and see a live artist painting a mural. The Nelligan Art Alley Project is sponsored by Wallace Studio.
You will need to either return to the Promise Building to catch a trolley or you are free to walk back to the Family Health Center 21/2 blocks west straight down Portland Avenue. Please be aware if you choose to walk to FHC you will have to cross the busy 22nd Street intersection.
(As you turn onto 22nd Street at Portland Avenue & Portland)
POI R – Portland Gateway sign
On the right you will see the Portland Gateway sign. In the early 1900s this area was home to the Stag Café, a local watering hole that was frequented by Portland residents and visitors alike.
Now we are returning to the US Marine Hospital where we started our tour.
Please feel free to enjoy KidsPort, food trucks, and music. Please complete a comment card before you leave today. We need your feedback to enhance our event moving forward. Cards are available throughout the event and you can return them to any volunteer in a bright green t-shirt. Thank you again for joining us and enjoy the rest of your day!
Make sure to follow the various Portland organizations on Facebook for upcoming events in the neighborhood!
Portland Now Inc.
Portland Art & Heritage Fair
Tim Faulkner Gallery
Good Shepherd Parish
Picking Up Portland
Nelligan Art Alley Project
Portland is Louisville’s ONLY Preserve America Neighborhood. Preserve America recognizes and designates communities, that protect and celebrate their heritage, use their historic assets for economic development and community revitalization, and encourage people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs. Since the program began in 2003, only 843 communities have been designated as Preserve America Communities throughout the country.
. We are excited to have you participate in our event this year! If you have any