Germantown-Schnitzelburg history can be read in several books, but Lisa Pisterman's new book "Images of America: Louisville's Germantown" explores the neighborhood through photographs collected from the neighborhoods' residents.
The Louisville neighborhoods offer a lot in the way of community history because they were initially settled by skilled trades people that had immigrated to America. These carpenters, metal workers, etc. built the homes by hand, often using durable yet difficult materials. During the interview, Pisterman recounted the surprise of discovering that molding in her home was made of rosewood, which requires exceptional craftsmanship.
Six years ago, Pisterman moved to Germantown with her husband and, while renovating, found old marbles in the vents and a bank statement from the 1930's that had been used to shim a door. She put her paralegal research skills to use in order to learn more about the original owners of her home. The experience of connecting with her home, and meeting the surviving members of the original family, inspired her to collect the oral history of the neighborhoods and present it through photographs.
"Every house has a story," says Pisterman, and collecting those stories has been most of the work. Naturally a very quiet, "stay-at-home" type of person, she used this opportunity to get and talk to her neighbors. Luckily, Germantown-Schnitzelburg residents are very connected to their neighborhoods because of a family connection through generations, explains Pistersman.
When completed, the book should have about 225 images and captions that will be categorized by churches, sports, street scenes, and community. Pisterman says that, "Not everyone cares about history. I'm sure that there are people that will walk right past my book and not care, but you want people to appreciate what you have observed, and I hope that my book brings a sense of history and pride."
Arcadia Publishing will be releasing Pisterman's first book in February 2011. If you have any stories or photographs that you would like to share with Lisa Pisterman, she is still collecting material for her book - you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture courtesy of Lisa Pisterman.