For citizens of Possibility City, it is no surprise to learn that Louisville is the stateâ€™s largest city. Itâ€™s one of Kentucky’s two first-class cities, and in terms of population, itâ€™s the 30th largest city in the United States. Founded in 1778, Louisville began shortly after the birth of the nation, so its history is consequently vast and varied. As impressive as these facts and figures are, they are not what make Louisville a truly fascinating place to live. Due to a city/county merger in 2003, Louisvilleâ€™s boundaries and jurisdiction are roughly equal to those of Jefferson County, making Metro Louisville a beautiful mosaic of cities and neighborhoods that all add a unique color and texture.
From quiet subdivision-sized cities to deed-restricted communities to neighborhoods seemingly crafted from another place and time, Louisville is a rare city that can truly boast a unique claim: It is both a small town and a metropolis. For this very reason, Louisville has continually drawn in successful businesses and individuals from all over the country. No matter who you are, thereâ€™s guaranteed to be a home for you somewhere in the variety.
No matter your taste, means or family size, Louisville has a residential area to entice you. Itâ€™s impossible to talk about them all, but we at The Voice-Tribune have assembled a cursory survey of some of Louisville’s nuanced communities to walk you through the subtle changes in architecture, culture and geography throughout the city. And hopefully, youâ€™ll soon have a new neighborhood to call home.
Anchorage is one of the oldest cities in the state to become part of Metro Louisville. Captain James W. Goslee, an ex-riverboat captain on the Ohio River, built his retirement home there and called it â€œThe Anchorage.â€Â The Matamora was Gosleeâ€™s ship, and while there is no written account, oral tradition has it that the captain removed its anchor to bring it closer to his home and heart. It is said that it now hangs inside a locomotive wheel that sits in the center of town, forming a monument that pays tribute to both the Ohio River and the railroad that helped bring industry to the area. Located east of Oxmoor Center and EP â€œTomâ€ Sawyer State Park, Anchorage has a long history that is actively preserved by the cityâ€™s Historic Preservation Commission. Today, citizens of Anchorage honor that tradition by dropping anchor and laying roots, as it is common for families to remain there for decades. Perhaps that is in the cards for you and yours.
Norton Commons is the newest of the neighborhoods in Louisville, its creation as recent as 2005. â€œNorton Commons was the first mixed-use, new urban neighborhood to be built in Louisville in almost a century,â€ says Marilyn Patterson, marketing director for Norton Commons. The neighborhood sits on 595 acres in northeastern Jefferson County and is currently home to approximately one thousand residences, over 60 locally-owned businesses and numerous parks, pools and green spaces. â€œTraditionally-inspired homes of different sizes and varying price ranges offer accessibility to almost everyone, while retail stores, restaurants, service providers, schools and civic buildings promote a true sense of community. Norton Commons is not just a neighborhood â€“ itâ€™s a lifestyle. And this lifestyle comes with more life per square foot,â€ asserts Patterson. It was designed as the regionâ€™s first traditional neighborhood development, or TND, a concept that serves as the cornerstone of the new urbanism movement. This movement promotes the creation of diverse, walkable and vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods assembled in an integrated fashion, resulting in a complete community. Itâ€™s a neighborhood with a unique brand that manages to look both expensive and cutting-edge in addition to warm and welcoming.
One example of a neighborhood in Louisville that carries around ample cachet is Lake Forest, a deed-restricted community that boasts an active community association and built-in social scene. Approximately 20 minutes east of downtown, this neighborhood features tranquil lakes and mature trees that add a soothing quality to the surrounding pools, jogging trail and tennis courts. The area even surrounds an award-winning 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed golf course. With annual community-run social events such as an Easter egg hunt, unequaled Fourth of July fireworks, a Halloween party for children and a visit from Santa, there is never a shortage of things to do with your family in Lake Forest.
Another example of a prestigious, deed-restricted neighborhood is Glen Oaks, which is unique in that half of this 31-acre development lies in Jefferson County,Â and the other half lies in Oldham County. The result is an area with all the advantages of urban living but also perhaps a bit more indicative of life in the rest of the state. â€œThis new development is secluded yet easily accessible and features lots of green space as well as a large tree-protected area. Itâ€™s also one of the cityâ€™s last remaining and finest golf communities,â€ says Bob Dye, president of the Glen Oaks Homeownerâ€™s Association. If youâ€™re looking for security and tradition, you can look no further than Glen Oaks.
If traditional isn’t your thing, The Highlands â€“ the epicenter of the â€œKeep Louisville Weirdâ€ slogan â€“ is around to cater to every kind. Centered along the three-mile stretch of Bardstown Road and Baxter Avenue, The Highlands gets its name due to its being located atop a ridge between the middle and south forks of Beargrass Creek. Some residences were even highly elevated enough that they were able to offer shelter to those seeking it during The Great Flood of 1937. Since that time, the area has flourished financially thanks to an eclectic mix of conservative aesthetic, local restaurants that rival the best in the country, a vibrant nightlife and â€œweirdâ€ boutique shops for everything whether it be clothing, furniture or art. Whether you have a family or not, there is never a dull moment in this part of town, and as you are in one of Louisvilleâ€™s pulsing nexuses of activity, youâ€™ll never feel like youâ€™re missing out.
Perhaps a more low-key but similar neighborhood to The Highlands is Clifton. Uniquely, Clifton was developed over a period of 60 years, which is an unusually long span for a Louisville neighborhood. In that time, Clifton has amassed its own small empire of locally-owned shops and restaurants as well as a thriving arts scene. The Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center and the Clifton Center both call this area home, and between the two, there is no need to venture outside of it for arts and entertainment. Every week, concerts, art classes, gallery showings, dance recitals, plays and other events are in never-ending rotation, making the area along Frankfort Avenue a must-see display of culture that is not going anywhere any time soon.
For many, a quiet residential area with a serene, park-like atmosphere is all they need. Thatâ€™s where the city of Seneca Gardens â€“ situated between Woodbourne Avenue, Carolina Avenue, Taylorsville Road, Bowman Field and Seneca Park â€“ comes in. Although completely surrounded by the city of Louisville since 1948, Seneca Gardens is self-governed through its election of a mayor and four commissioners. Appointed positions include clerk, attorney, treasurer, engineer and forester. This team represents the residents in ensuring that the city maintains its beauty and is provided basic services including police and fire protection, garbage collection, road maintenance and water drainage. 2010 census data shows Seneca Gardens population to be 696 people with every building in the city except for that of Keneseth Israel Synagogue being residential. This small but fascinating city within a city is centrally located and remains a popular, beatific spot to call home.
A nearby, oft-neglected part of town is Hikes Point. The area was settled by American Revolutionary War veteran George Hikes in 1791 on land sold to him by William Meriwether, so it is an area steeped not only in local history but the national variety as well. After World War II, Roy McMahan purchased the nearby Eberle family farm and built several subdivisions and shopping centers, transforming Hikes Point into a strong retail area with all the amenities. Today, McMahan Plaza stands in his honor in the heart of the neighborhood. In addition to its beautiful trees and well-tended homes, Hikes Point was also the original home of Southeast Christian Church, which grew to become one of the largest Christian congregations in the U.S., although it has long since moved from the area. Since their move away from Hikes Point, the area has been home to Canaan Missionary Baptist Church, one of the largest Baptist churches in Kentucky, which moved from the Shively area of the city to Hikes Point in 1998. If itâ€™s affordability for your family with a rich history and tradition of faith you want, Hikes Point is for you.
The complete opposite of newÂ â€“Â although nonetheless vibrant â€“ can be found in a completely different part of town with Old Louisville, an area that is positively alive with history. â€œWe are the city of Louisvilleâ€™s great urban jewel with the largest contiguous collection of Victorian mansions in the United States,â€ says Shawn Fields Williams, executive director of the Old Louisville Neighborhood Council. At the center of Old Louisville is Central Park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and home of Kentucky Shakespeare, supplier of the countryâ€™s oldest free Shakespeare festival. Surrounding this urban oasis is one beautiful neighborhood after another. St. James Court, with its varied and unique architecture such as the iconic fountain of â€œVenus Rising from the Sea,â€ is the site of one of the countryâ€™s largest outdoor art shows. Belgravia Court is an intimate walking court that has some of the most beautiful Chateau-esque mansions and elegant 19th century townhomes â€“ it feels like you have stepped into Europe. Even more so than any other neighborhood in Louisville, history seems to seep from the pores of Old Louisville and permeate the air, taking you back in time with every stray glance.
Even further east is the area of Stone Lakes. Like so many other areas in Louisville, this community is highly sought after, and it has been awarded by Homearama on more than one occasion. The homes start at $250,000, and there are custom-built estates that rival anything to be found in the rest of the city. This neighborhood was only developed a little over 20 years ago, so there is still a sense of newness to the overall aesthetic, making Stone Lakes the perfect place if youâ€™re looking for something with a little extra seclusion and vibrancy.
Moving east and heading down Taylorsville Road, one will pass Jeffersontown and eventually hit Saratoga Woods, a community whose homeowner’s association takes the expression â€œborrowing a cup of sugar from your neighborâ€ to heart. Everything there is oriented on helping your fellow neighbor out whether it be carpooling, babysitting or handiwork. Thereâ€™s even an official recipe exchange on their website. Saratoga Woods has long been considered an idyllic, picturesque neighborhood, so if that sounds like the community culture youâ€™d like to be part of, you’re sure to feel right at home.