Louisville Magazine

JUN 2019

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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jtownbeerfest.com LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 6.19 47 Photo from U of L Archives 1788 atop a hillock that's now part of Cave Hill's Section 1, was repurposed as the city's "pesthouse" — a quarantining facility for those with infectious diseases — in the mid 1840s, a couple of years before the cemetery's official opening. Originally, workhouse inmates, sen- tenced to pay off their court costs and fines for misdemeanor crimes through sunup-to-sundown labor, including brick-making and breaking limestone for macadam roads and street curbs, were joined by the children of disabled and aged almshouse tenants, who toiled on the workhouse farm. The untenable pooling of guilty and innocent was rem- edied in 1851 when the almshouse was relocated to Duncan Street in Portland, and, in 1858, a second almshouse was es- tablished in Jeffersontown. (The last of the city-county poorhouses would open in Shively in 1874 and close in 1953.) With suburbs and municipalities sprouting up along the Third Street, Bardstown Road, Preston Street and Frankfort Avenue corridors in the post-Civil War era, cut limestone was in high demand, and the limestone quar- ried at Cave Hill by workhouse inmates (the site is just north of the main lake) was supplemented by a half-dozen other quarries along both sides of Daisy Lane (Grinstead Drive), including one where the Crescent Hill Woman's Club now stands and one that encloses the Crescent Springs Condominiums. You can see quarrying results in many of the retaining walls and bridges along city streets and in Olmsted Parks. So in demand was that quarried stone that in 1879 Mayor Charles D. Jacob expanded the city workhouse from one four-tier cellblock to four of them, two brick and two limestone, surrounding a newly constructed superintendent's residence. As imposing and impressive the workhouse looks in the photo, the county couldn't wait to close it in 1954. The reason? The downtown jail had a surplus of cells to fill and needed the bodies. Arrangements to raze the workhouse were beaten to the punch by a three- alarm fire in 1968. — Jack Welch

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