Mayor Greg Fischer today announced Louisville Metro Government has been awarded $50,000 from the national Historic Preservation Fund to survey and inventory properties in the Chickasaw neighborhood with the goal of listing the neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic District.
The Historic Preservation Fund is administered by the National Park Service as part of its Underrepresented Community Grant Program. Louisville received the highest amount awarded this grant cycle.
“We are grateful to the National Park Service and the Historic Preservation Fund for this award. Placement on the National Register of Historic Places would allow property owners in the Chickasaw neighborhood to improve their properties by taking advantage of federal and state historic tax credits,” said the Mayor.
The historically African American neighborhood is made up of single-family residences with few multi-family and commercial properties, a result of the effects of segregation and historic redlining, which led to economic depression, disinvestment and a lack of development in Chickasaw and other west Louisville neighborhoods.
Listing on the National Register as a historic district is an honorary recognition. Louisville currently has more than 40 neighborhoods listed on the National Register including Russell, Parkland, Smoketown, Cherokee Triangle, Old Louisville, the Highlands and Limerick. Being listed on the National Register of Historic Places does not place any new restriction on properties.
The city will now undertake a survey of the Chickasaw neighborhood and determine the Historic District boundaries. It will take two years to complete the survey work and draft the National Register nomination application.
The city is hosting the first of multiple neighborhood outreach meetings from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Catholic Enrichment Center, 3146 W. Broadway.
Develop Louisville, the Chickasaw Neighborhood Association, and the Samuel Plato Academy of Historic Preservation Trades are co-sponsoring the event, which will answer questions about the grant, the survey process, and what it means to live in a neighborhood on the National Register. Louisville Metro historic preservation specialists and representatives with the Kentucky Heritage Council will lead the discussion.
“I hope this national distinction and localized opportunity compels a genuine and collaborative effort, promoting wellness of Chickasaw and surrounding historic neighborhoods,” said Ameerah Granger, President of Chickasaw Neighborhood Federation.
Originally built as a community for African American residents, the Chickasaw neighborhood is generally bounded by West Broadway to the north, Louis Coleman Jr. Drive to the east, the Ohio River to the west and Woodland Avenue to the south. The Chickasaw neighborhood was part of John Garr’s 1,500-acre farm in the early nineteenth century. It later housed the first permanent state fair grounds on Cecil and Gibson avenues in 1908 and the short-lived White City Amusement Park from 1907 to 1910, according to The Encyclopedia of Louisville
The neighborhood evolved after the 1922 construction of Chickasaw Park, one of the multitude of parks in Louisville created by the Olmsted firm. The park was designed for the African American residents of west Louisville because most other parks were considered white-only, according to Life Behind a Veil: Blacks in Louisville, Kentucky, 1865-1930 by author George C. Wright.