Last week’s Allen family adventure took us to one of the oldest neighborhoods in Louisville, Butchertown. It’s a neighborhood that has carried a stigma for the odors that used to emanate from the Stockyards (and still do from the lone remaining slaughterhouse – our kids were quick to point that out). However, Butchertown has seen a major transformation in recent years; where Kentucky’s largest livestock auction once stood, Home of the Innocents, one of the country’s leading providers of care to fragile and neglected children, now resides as a beacon of change and hope for the future.
Homes are being renovated, infill is happening where once-vacant lots stood, East Market Street is booming, the corner stores are coming back – and Tyler’s campaign headquarters is in the Billy Goat Strut Building at 600 East Main Street. This place is hopping! We began our visit at the floodwall, and remembered that we had crossed through the floodwall a few weeks earlier, but about 40 blocks away, at the McAlpine Locks. Engineering is amazing.
So is the human body. Everyone knows kids are happier on a full stomach, and we hadn’t had lunch yet. Vernon Lanes was a possibility, but bowling would win hands down over (sigh) “another neighborhood visit,” so that fun would have to wait. We stopped in front of Miss Cs’ of Kentucky Kitchen and Pantry and I jumped out to see if it was kid friendly. “So long as they stay in their seats and don’t throw things, we love kids!” Uh oh, this was going to be a gamble. But the KY Proud fare, including pimento cheese and tuna sandwiches, was well worth the risk, as were the homemade preserves. We have a new favorite lunch spot.
Next stop: the Thomas Edison House, which was celebrating Edison’s 163rd birthday. (He’s not still alive.) We listened to one of Edison’s phonographs (did you know early recordings were played from cylinders rather than discs?), turned an incandescent lightbulb on and off, and sent each other messages in morse code on two telegraph machines. Inspired by this creative genius, when we left I asked the kids what they would like to invent. Responses were: wings for people, a free I-pad, and chocolate cheese. We’re unlikely to be applying for patents at the rate of Edison (who applied for 1093).
With a brief interlude for a soccer game (at Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club just beyond the Butchertown border) we headed to Muth’s Candy, which is also teetering on the edge of Butchertown’s official boundaries. The day before Valentine’s Day called for chocolate and modjeskas. Muth’s Candy, a local institution which has been around since 1921, no longer gives tours, but we peeked around the display case and saw rows upon rows of modjeskas (DELICIOUS caramel covered marshmallows). We bought some too. Yum.
Our tour of Butchertown concluded with a sweet ending at Muth’s, but there are so many other places we’d like to explore in this neighborhood. Tyler attended an event the night before at The Pointe, a recently redeveloped historic industrial warehouse which has been converted to a modern, green, multi-use building. The Butchertown Market (which features home decor retailers, artist studios and lofts), Louisville Slugger Field, Louisville Extreme Park, and Waterfront Park are all on our list too! And our next visit will have it’s sweet ending at a newer but equally confectionary local bakery: Cake Flour. Yum again.