Louisville is home to incredible landmarks, like the world’s oldest ornamental water tower and a really big vampire bat. While these attractions can be easily visited any time, there are few former landmarks that are no longer in the public eye, literally.
Louisville Falls Fountain
In 1988, the 375-foot-tall Louisville Falls Fountain launched into the Ohio River with the intention of being the tallest floating fountain in the world, but its days on the river were short-lived.
The fountain floated near the Belle of Louisville + spewed 15,000+ gallons of water per minute in the shape of a fleur-de-lis. But, after a tumultuous 10 years, the $2.6 million water feature was sold to a local port captain for $15,750. It was hauled to McBride’s Fleet, a tow boat service in New Albany, IN, where it was laid to rust.
As of 2022, the Falls Fountain was still tied to a barge at McBride’s fleet. See it on this satellite image.
Debuted at Theater Square in 1976, the Louisville Clock featured iconic landmarks + Louisvillians — like the Belle of Louisville + King Louis XVI — running in a Derby race. At 12 p.m. each day, the 40-ft ornamental timepiece would spring into action with characters “racing” around the track.
It was removed in 1993 and sat in storage at the Kentucky Derby Museum. In 2005, the clock was restored, but in 2015, it was dismantled again and moved to a storage facility in Portland where it remains today.
ear X-tacy sign
One of Louisville’s most missed businesses, this legendary music store was founded in 1985 + was the cornerstone of “keeping Louisville weird” for 26 years. We know you’ve seen the bumper stickers.
In 2010, Rolling Stone called it “arguably Louisville’s second-greatest tourist attraction after the Kentucky Derby.” While ear X-tacy called it quits in 2011, the landmark neon sign is kept in the Frazier History Museum’s “Cool Kentucky” exhibit.