Louisville neighborhood series: a guide to local communities

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These stories are part of our LOUtoday neighborhood series. Know a neighborhood we should spotlight? Email us here.

Shelby Park

By Katie Molck

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Crow mural by artist Wilfred Sieg III at the entrance of Shelby Park on Mary St. | Photo by @shelbyparklouisville

Today we’re taking a tour of one of the 502’s fastest-growing neighborhoods, Shelby Park.

Around 3,257 Louisvillians call this area nestled between Old Louisville and Germantown home + we’re taking a deep dive into what the buzz is all about from a butterfly farm to Louisville’s first indoor market.

🏘️ The quick history

Developed in the late nineteenth century, Shelby Park was named after Kentucky’s first governor, Isaac Shelby, who also helped create the city park there of the same name, and was once primarily occupied by German immigrants.

Most of the homes that make up the neighborhood were constructed between 1900 and 1910 and are mostly shotgun-style homes and camelbacks, but some two-story brick, federal-style buildings exist there, too.

Today, Shelby Park is seeing a cultural resurgence much like its neighboring communities, Germantown and Schnitzelburg. It’s home to Logan Street Market — Louisville’s first indoor market + art galleries, local restaurants, a butterfly farm and two breweries.

🍺 Eat + drink

Logan Street is the cultural epicenter of the neighborhood + most of these eateries are within walking distance of each other.

  • For craft beer enthusiasts, fill your pint at Atrium Brewery and Wild Hops Brewery inside Logan Street Market.
  • You scream, I scream, we all scream for Sugar Room ice cream — get a blueberry soft serve with fruit loops and banana chips.
  • Square Cut Pizza located in the same building as Sugar Room — dishes out traditional Roman-style pies
  • Sip a bourbon at Trouble Bar
  • Snag a fancy hot dog from Red Top Gourmet Hotdogs
  • Grab a crew and spend an evening at Toasty’s Tavern for modern pub food + cocktails — the cheeseburger and Bee Knees cocktail are must tries.
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An ice cream cone at Sugar Room. | Photo by @shelbyparklouisville

🌳 Park

It’s no surprise that Shelby Park is in, well, Shelby Park. The 16-acre recreation area was designed by the Olmsted Firm in 1907 and became one of the most popular parks in Louisville at the time — hosting track + tennis meets that attracted crowds in the thousands. It was also home to a pool which closed in 2008.

What to enjoy today:

  • Splash pad
  • Playground
  • Community center
  • Tennis + basketball courts
  • Walking path
  • Picnic tables + shelters

🎨 Arts + culture

The neighborhood is home to some of the best murals in the 502 (see the enormous crow mural by Art Cartel), but there’s plenty more to see and visit in the area.

  • Idlewild Butterfly Farm is a working farm, the livestock is just itty bitty. See butterflies and exotic bugs in the insectarium
  • A cornerstone of Louisville art scene since 2007, Tim Faulkner Gallery not only boasts a free gallery, but a full bar to grab drinks
  • Logan Street Market is the cultural institution of the neighborhood with 25+ locally owned businesses inside the building
  • If you’re looking for a place that sells antique and modern furniture, look no further than YesterNook
  • Browse artist Karina Daniel Parris’ whimsical works at her shop Lovely Earthlings
  • The Shelby Park Art Walk will allow you to explore all of Shelby Park’s murals + street art

📚 Live in Shelby Park

  • $245,000 | This four-bed, two-bath renovated home is the heart of Shelby Park and has a large front porch + separate garage.

📚 Community

If you ever get a flat tire on your bike, roll it over to Falls City Community BikeWorks. The nonprofit has tools, parts, and volunteers to help you make repairs on your bike.

Portland

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The Portland neighborhood was founded in 1811. | Photo by @theloutoday

Today, we’re visiting the largest neighborhood in Derby CityPortland. Home to 10,000+ Louisvillians, this historic area is situated on the banks of the Ohio River with its borders touching the Shawnee, Russell, and Central Business District neighborhoods.

Here’s a breakdown of the neighborhood’s history, homes for sale + local businesses.

History

Portland was once a standalone town before Louisville annexed it in the 1850s. William Lytle established Portland in 1811 after purchasing 3,000 acres of land. The first settlers in the area were the French, who landed on Shippingport Islandwhich is a whole nother story but if you’re interested, check out this Curious Louisville podcast episode.

Back on the mainland, wealthy families and boat captains settled in Portland + to this day, many Louisville Catholics can trace their roots back to the neighborhood. In 2006, Portland was designated as a Preserve America Community.

Real Estate

Thinking of relocating? Check out these homes for sale in the area.

What to explore

  • FifteenTWELVE Creative Compound | It’s the creative extension of Rockerbuilt Studios and is home to The Coffee Boxx, local artist studios + regularly hosts community events.
  • Louisville Visual Art | This artistic hub offers youth and adult programming + weekly calls for artists.
  • Louisville Grows | A local 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Louisville Grows focuses on greener, healthier, more sustainable neighborhoods through educational programming, tree planting events + seeds and starts sales.
  • Portland Branch | In the words of “Arthur,” having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card — check out this LFPL branch, which is the third-oldest in the local library system.
  • Portland Museum | This cultural institution is a must-see for those looking to experience the 200+ years of heritage and history of the area through art exhibitions, workshops, and special events.
  • Portland Wharf Park | Take a walk or ride your bike at this historic site that also connects to the Louisville Loop.

Where to eat + drink

  • Shippingport Brewing Co. And Sallyforth Taproom | This local brewery has a taproom with rotating selection of craft beers, dishes out pressed sammies + soups.
  • The Table Cafe | This pay-what-you-can eatery offers soups, salads, sandwiches + a kids menu.
  • Porkland BBQ | All proceeds from this barbecue joint, operated by nonprofit Love City Inc., go back to the community.

Bonus: Need more? Watch this hour-long video on Portland by local historian Tom Owen.

Harrods Creek

By Katie Molck

You’ve likely driven through Harrods Creek knowingly or unknowingly — on your way to Captain’s Quarters for an Ohio Riverside drink or to cross the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Indiana.

However, today, we’re not just passing through. We’re pulling the LOUtoday car over to take a closer look at this Louisville neighborhood located within the Glenview-Prospect neighborhood.

Harrods Creek is a small community roughly bordered by the Ohio River to the west and US 42 to the east. Its zip code is 40027 — which is contained within 40059 + Metro District 16 represented by Councilperson Scott Reed.

Now that we’ve had a quick look around, let’s learn more about Harrods Creek’s history, a few restaurants + a $3 million estate listing with a driveway designed by the Olmsted brothers.

History

  • Harrods Creek became a neighborhood of Louisville in 2003 when the city merged with Jefferson County.
  • In the 1700s, it was a popular overnight stop for river travelers wishing to avoid the down-river “swamp.”
  • Captain’s Quarters contains a thick stone wall and a fireplace from the former Harrods Creek Tavern, an early stopping point for riverboats.
  • Prominent and wealthy Louisvillians built estates on the hilltops on Wolf Pen Branch Road in the early 1800s

Eat

The Pine Room, 6325 River Rd.

This neighborhood restaurant is just 200 yards from the Ohio River and has everything from shrimp po’boys to bolognese pasta + craft cocktails and live piano music.

Harrods Creek Tavern, 6313 River Rd.

Formally known as Darkstar, this tavern is under new ownership and has been remodeled. Catch live music on Mondays + pub-style food seven days a week.

Cunningham’s Creekside, 6301 River Rd.

This restaurant is located on Harrods Creek and is famous for its American-style fare. It’s open for lunch + dinner.

Captain’s Quarters Riverside Grille, 5700 Captains Quarters Rd.

Captain’s Quarters is arguably the most popular spot along the river with a full menu ranging from pizzas to seafood favorites, several bars + plenty of seating indoors and outdoors.

For sale

If you’re looking to size up — and we really mean size up — then consider this nearly $3 million estate for sale at 5802 River Road. The restored, 116-year-old property is on the National Register of Historic Places. Here are a few features:

  • The 10,000-sqft living space has five bedrooms and seven baths + a billiards lounge, formal dining room, and cathedral ceilings.
  • Its mile long, tree-lined driveway was designed by the Olmsted brothers — who happened to complete the design the same time they completed New York’s Central Park.
  • Outside the estate has a heated in-ground pool, private walking gardens, and stone terrace overlooking the Ohio River.
  • 10+ acres of secluded woodland

Parks

Technically, Harrods Creek Park isn’t located in the Harrods Creek neighborhood, but it is situated on the same creek within Prospect, so we think it still counts.

The 105 acres of park offers four miles of hiking trails ranging from easy to moderate, fishing + canoe and kayak launch access. See images of the park here.

What to do

Nachand Canoe & Kayak, 7001 River Rd.

In the summer, rent a kayak or canoe for a half-day or full-day trip along Harrods Creek.

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