This past weekend, we didn’t really visit Old Louisville, we simply found ourselves there while participating in our daily lives. Which seems appropriate. While there is much more for our family to explore in Old Louisville, we do have some ties to the area already.
My father grew up in Old Louisville and his grandfather lived in the building that is now the Rudyard Kipling, at Fourth and Oak. It’s a great spot to seek out and appreciate regional musicians. I used to work in Old Louisville, at The Filson Historical Society on Third Street in the Ferguson Mansion, a beaux-arts mansion built in 1905. In 2008, Tyler and his partners renovated an old office building, just around the corner at Fourth and Ormsby, into the Central Park Lofts.
We also know and appreciate the interesting foods of Old Louisville (not counting the fried dough at the St James Court Art Show). Our kids LOVE the cinnamon rolls at Ermin’s Bakery and Cafe on First Street (I’m a fan of their breakfast casserole). I sometimes wander down to the Third Avenue Cafe with fellow expressive therapy students from U of L and enjoy a tasty black bean burger with tomato soup on the side. Ollie’s Trolley. Dizzy Whizz. Burger Boy. Enough said.
But this past weekend wasn’t about food. On Saturday, our eleven-year-old daughter danced in Louisville Memorial Auditorium with members of her dance team from Absolute Dance. Memorial Auditorium was built in 1922 to commemorate those who served in WWI, and just entering the theater’s grand foyer, you can feel the spirit of past performers who have graced this space. (Probably not too many of them were hip hop dancers like our daughter!)
The next morning, we parked on the other side of Fourth Street and attended Central Presbyterian Church which was hosting a joint worship with our church, Covenant Community Church. During our time there, I was most grateful for the incredible hospitality of Central Pres. members. Everyone I met was welcoming and greeted our family with a smile. One gentleman brought coloring pages for our squirrelly seven-year-old, and another woman retrieved him when he tried to flee the sanctuary during communion. Many of the members brought delicious food for the potluck meal which followed the service. Hmm…maybe this weekend was about food afterall!
After church, we headed to Central Park with hopes of capturing a family picture for Tyler’s campaign publicity pieces. You won’t be seeing any of those pictures. Our noses were all red because it was so cold outside. But we did wander through the park, climb around the amphitheater, and look longingly at the playground and tennis courts, wishing for warmer weather. (Warmer weather will bring the 50th summer season of Kentucky Shakespeare – free theater!)
Tyler chose Central Park as a venue for pictures because it represents “where the park meets the city.” Central Park is a small, but beautiful park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1904. It is surrounded by not only the well-trafficked St. James Court but by hundreds of other examples of period architecture. Old Louisville is not only the historical center of the city, with it’s wonderful housing stock and walkable streets, it is also a vital part of our future.