Louisville Magazine

MAR 2014

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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1 4 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3.14 thebit BLOODLINE BUILDING I wouldn't call our waitress chummy, but I certainly wouldn't describe her as stif or cold. She was, maybe, just on the edge of disinterested, but afable enough and seemingly good-natured. Te thing is, though, she didn't greet us in any way — just dropped by the table, propped herself against a support pole, pulled one of those old- style diner tablets from a back pocket and said, "What can I get you?" Granted, the place was as much a bar as a restaurant, so it was kind of a bartender's way of saying hello. None of us expected her to say, "Hi, I'm Ashley and I'll be your server and your presence here lights up my life." But how about just "Hi"? We had waited about 50 minutes at the bar for a table because we knew the upscale-priced food was worth it. And yeah, the vibe in several of the city's new, nontraditional din- ing spots has been purposely bohemian — dive bar chic, if you will — not disingenu- ously smiley-faced like other restaurants; we recognized that. Still, when we asked about specials, the waitress said there weren't any; the cooks were "feeling lazy." Flat humor, I guess, and a nice touch if you're going for real or feigned anti-graciousness. Once we got our food, she didn't come around to tritely ask, "How is everything?" And when someone in our party let her know as she was remov- ing plates that there was a birthday girl at the table (hint, hint), she merely noted that "we do have desserts." It reminded me a little of the frst time my wife and I visited the famous Durgin- Park restaurant in Boston's Quincy Market, where, at least then, waitresses rolled out white paper "tablecloths" on long communal tables and were known for their curtness. Te frst words I heard from our waitress that day were "Move your arm" when I got in her way. Tat was Durgin-Park's schtick — and its mystique. Funny — in the upscale restaurant world, the guiding service philosophy has long been that the customer pays for privilege and is to be fawned on, whether by jabbered or silent servitude. Te philosophy of negligence was reserved for dumps. But, as Durgin-Park and the dive-bar-with-great-food movement have proved, negligence can be a sought-out commodity — welcomed realism in an otherwise artifcial society. — Jack Welch Waiting Game JUST SAYIN' 1837: Congress gives the go-ahead for construction of the U.S. Marine Hospital for river workers and boatmen. 1845: Construction begins, based on a design by federal architect Robert Mills, designer of the Washington Monument and Treasury Building. 1852: The hospital opens on April 1. The independent town of Portland is re-annexed by Louisville in the same year. The hospital treats mariners suffering from commonplace issues like cholera and burns from boiler explosions. 1869: The Sisters of Mercy, a Roman Catholic charity organization, begins operating the hospital. 1933: The hospital closes, becoming medical- worker housing for what will become the Portland Family Health Center. 1950: The city of Louisville buys the hospital for $25,000, using it for offce space. 1975: The Louisville and Jefferson County Board of Health takes over. 1997: It is listed as a National Historic Landmark. 2002: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers donates $1.5 million to help preserve the hospital. 2003: A year of nationals: The National Trust for Historic Preservation names the hospital to its 11 Most Endangered Places List. The National Park Service gives it "Save America's Treasures" status. 2004: Louisville's history buffs form the U.S. Marine Hospital Foundation and the Friends of the Marine Hospital, planning to preserve and restore the building. 2005: Major restoration begins. Construction workers hammer in rooms where doctors once worked with surgical tools. 2007: Exterior restoration — including a replica of the original cupola and period-specifc window shudders — is completed. 2014: The U.S. Marine Hospital Foundation continues restoration efforts, focusing on interior renovations. U.S. Marine Hospital Northwestern Parkway between 23rd and Carter streets, Portland Illustration by Carrie Neumayer 12-25 BIT.indd 14 2/19/14 9:53 AM

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