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.
Northwestern Parkway becomes Southwestern Parkway before running into Broadway in the Shawnee neighborhood, and the majestic oak trees that line the roads cast giant shadows onto the pavement, hardly a sliver of sunlight breaking through. Peaceful is the word that comes to mind when trying to describe the scene. Near the golf course, the English Tudors, with their intricate stone chimneys out front, are — well, they’re pretty adorable. A quick car trip — or better yet, bike ride — down the route proves what longtime west Louisville inhabitants already know: This is one of the city’s prettiest streets.
The almost 300-acre, Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Shawnee Park, which dates to the late 1800s, is another of the neighborhood’s assets. On a weekend afternoon, do not be surprised to find a remote-controlled airplane buzzing through the sky. Stay on your bike and pedal down a trail that, if you squint hard enough through the trees, offers an Ohio River view. Basketball and tennis courts, a pond and picnic tables are popular hangouts with the locals. And during some summer evenings, neighbors plop into lawn chairs and spread out blankets on a baseball diamond to watch family-friendly movies like The Blind Side on a large screen.
Several people who live in the area say East Enders do not make it to Shawnee Park very often. One even called it Louisville’s “most underutilized gem.” The upside: Shawnee residents get it all to themselves.
Photo: John Nation
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