Louisville Magazine

NOV 2018

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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46 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 11.18 most immigrants settling in the area came from Germany and Ireland, with a few from England. As the number of German and Irish households declined from 1900 to 1920, the percentage of immigrants from Eastern Europe and Russia rose. Bader says Russell was a diverse, eclectic area, a mix of working-class and upper-class white and African-American families. In 1890, a tornado tore into Russell and then east through downtown. A few years later came a financial crisis, the worst in United States history at the time. It was the result of inflation, heavy farm debts and falling crop prices. In the spring of 1893, the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad and the National Cordage Company, two of America's largest employers, collapsed, setting off financial panic in banks and the stock market. Unemployment soared. More than 400 banks suspended operations as they struggled to meet withdrawal requests, selling assets and calling in loans, which resulted in the bankruptcy of more than 15,000 businesses. Bader says that Russell grew into "one of the worst slums" in Louisville, blemished by poverty, residents packed into unsafe tenement housing. By the Great Depression, with so many working-class Americans out of a job, low-rent public housing surfaced as a way to help. In the early 1940s, Beecher Terrace was built for blacks and Clarksdale, in the Phoenix Hill neighborhood, was built for whites, at a combined cost of about $5 million. Both projects were lauded not only for addressing a housing issue but also for clearing out what had become notorious, dangerous neighborhoods. Down went the old, up went the two-story, boxy buildings that have now met their own expiration date. Baxter Square, that's one site within Beecher Terrace that will remain untouched as renovation occurs. It is home to a spray park, basketball courts and a community center, and Bader and her team were curious about the open, green space. In 1880, this park — Louisville's first public park — was built atop Louisville's first public burial ground. Bader wondered: Are gravesites still there? According to an 1870 Courier-Journal article, relatives of those buried at the Baxter Square burial site had an option to relocate Madison Original Ale was bottled in Louisville, but the glass bottle itself came from an 1800s glass factory — Star Glass Works in New Albany, Indiana. An elegant plastic comb, dating to the mid-1800s, when plastics and other synthetic materials were just becoming more widely available.

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