Exploring the history of Louisville’s Old Spaghetti Factory building

We’re uncovering remnants of Derby City’s architectural past one building at a time.

The Levy Brothers Building is a five-story, red, Richardsonian Romanesque building in downtown Louisville. Its first-floor is home to the Old Spaghetti Factory and there's a street-level awning with the restaurant's name on it.

The Levy Brothers Building is currently home to the Old Spaghetti Factory.

Photo by LOUtoday

As a city with 244 years of history, we’ve got some pretty cool buildings scattered throughout the 502 — which is why we’re starting a new series to explore these architectural remnants of the past one building at a time.

Because let’s facade it, though we drive past some of these buildings each day, we don’t always remember their origins. And the first one that’s caught our eye is the Levy Brothers Building at 235 W. Market St — better known today as the Old Spaghetti Factory.

This Richardsonian Romanesque five-story feat — designed by Clarke & Loomisfirst opened in 1893 as the Levy Brothers Clothing Store. The red, smooth-faced sandstone building used to be lined with bright lights to attract customers, popularizing the now archaic phrase “lit up like Levy’s.” It was also one of the first buildings in the city to be outfitted with electricity.

While it’s had the addition of an annex + some first-floor modifications, the building’s exterior remains largely unchanged from its original design. In 1978, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places and Levy’s ceased retail operations in 1987.

During its 90-year tenure as a department store, Levy’s had a custom of sending a pair of tiny pants to newborn babies throughout the city with a card that read, “When he shall have outgrown these we shall be glad to have him call on us for another pair.”

Now, the Levy Building is home to the Old Spaghetti Factory and apartment units. We love the look of this giant, half-circle window of an apartment overlooking 3rd + West Market streets.

Have a cool building you’re curious about? Tell us all about it and we might cover it in our next installment of Behind this Cool Building.