The Louisville Preservation Fund – now Vital Sites – was established as a 501(c)(3) in 2014 as a revolving fund focused on historic properties in Louisville. East Broadway Row is our first major project, and its success will serve as a demonstration vehicle for future revolving fund projects. We will leverage resources from private developers, private landowners, and nonprofits to formulate creative solutions for the reuse and preservation of historic structures. We launched this project in October 2017. View photos from our media event held October 9th, 2017. View photos from our Hard Hat Tour event held March 3, 2018.
East Broadway Row includes five ca. 1890 shotgun houses on East Broadway near the intersection with Baxter Avenue. The houses were donated to our organization in November 2016. Shotgun houses were a very popular house type in the southern United States, particularly from the end of the American Civil War until the 1920s, and there is a large concentration across the city. The Encyclopedia of Louisville states that these houses are “tangible reminders of solidly built, attractive, late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century worker housing. They remain one of our most viable and adaptable local house types.” All five houses are currently vacant and were previously used as offices, for storage, or as residences. They will all be rehabilitated and sold. Construction for our rehabilitation project began in November 2017.
As part of the historic renovation, we will work with the Kentucky State Historic Preservation Office to ensure architectural details are preserved according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and anticipate utilizing state historic tax credits as an incentive for prospective homebuyers. Revitalizing vacant properties maintains the character of the neighborhood and streetscape, brings residents back to the community, and recognizes the value of these historic houses.
After completion of this project, Vital Sites will have a basic operating procedure to replicate this model on similar undervalued and at-risk historic structures. East Broadway Row will serve as an example of how developers can work cooperatively with property owners and nonprofits to ensure preservation of historic properties in our community.