This article appeared in the October 2010 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe, please visit loumag.com.
The word “neighborhood” has always been an elastic term, and especially so in a city that until seven years ago was a whole county. It can mean, to some, a single street, or a group of streets whose homes were built about the same time, or a section of the city drawn around a central focal point, or a suburban subdivision, or section of a subdivision, or even a fifth- or sixth-class city inside the big city. Throughout October we will feature 16 of Louisville’s neighborhoods — not necessary the “goes without saying” selections that come up time and again, but pieces of real estate and social fabric inclusively chosen for their beauty, value, character, amenities and, well, neighborliness. To follow along with this series, please visit the Neighborly 'Hoods section.
If Louisville has a version of New York City’s trendy Meatpacking District, it is Butchertown. Besides the obvious slaughterhouse comparison and historic relevance, the neighborhood is home to a fresh mix of old and new businesses and a melting pot of residents, from young professionals to artists and folks who have lived in the neighborhood for 50 years. The Pointe on East Washington Street is a certified historic redeveloped warehouse that has become a creative hub in the neighborhood, with offices for architects, designers and space for the Alley Theater. The Butchertown Market on Story Avenue is a spiffed-up old seed warehouse with a collection of several unique shops, and the recently opened Blind Pig on East Washington is a restaurant hotspot.
The old still thrives here in more than theme, too. Vendome Copper and Brass on Franklin Street is a multi-generational company that makes, among other things, copper stills (most notably for Maker’s Mark). The tree-lined streets (many named after Whig Party members, such as John Quincy Adams in his later years) have become a new mecca for the urban pioneer; at least four centuries of architecture are available to choose from, and with the majority of buildings being owner-occupied, crime in this area is low. An active neighborhood association keeps the community up to date on Butchertown.blogspot.com, with residents planning monthly gatherings. And even though downtown is just around the corner, there is access to green space — Butchertown Greenway, off Story Avenue, is a walking and bike path that follows Beargrass Creek downstream to Waterfront Park.
Photo: John Nation