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West Louisville is comprised of nearly a dozen neighborhoods including Hallmark, Park Duvalle, Parkland, Russell, Beecher Terrace, Chickasaw, Shawnee and Portland, bordering the Ohio River.
Residential mansions once lined Walnut, Chestnut and Jefferson Streets after the 1870s when street cars extended into this area. By the 1890s, many affluent families left for Old Louisville while working class families moved into shotgun houses that still dominate the area today, making Louisville the largest collection of this style of housing in the country. The same style of Victorian architecture and historic homes you will see along Eastern Parkway bordering Cherokee Park in East Louisville also line Northwestern and Southwestern Parkways into Chickasaw Park.
By the 1940s, the region was often referred to as "Louisville's Harlem" for the many African American theatres, clubs and restaurants in the area. Joe’s Palm Room is one of the remaining ones of this era.
The neighborhood celebrates its strong African American heritage with two noted points of interest The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage and Muhammad Ali's Childhood Home.
Across from the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, Sweet Peaches is open for breakfast and lunch serving Southern favorites from smothered pork chops to some of the most amazing desserts including their iconic caramel cake.
Locals flock to Indi’s during the week for lunch and on the weekends to stock up for “the game” and late-night wings and wedges until 2 am. It’s only open Wednesday – Friday and again on “Soulfood” Sunday , but Lucretia’s Kitchen is worth the wait for the rib tips, meatloaf, fried chicken, catfish and all the fixin’s you crave.
Housed in the former Louisville Street Railway Complex or "Trolley Barn," The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage opened in 2009 in this 1876 building. The center's mission is to tell the story of the historic achievements of Kentucky's African American community. Rotating exhibits promote African American culture and history.
The boyhood home of Muhammad Ali was temporarily opened as a museum after a major renovation that returned it to its original state. It was the house that the legendary Louisville native was brought to after his birth at Louisville General Hospital. Though closed to the public for tour, a bronze marker is located in front of the house noting its historical relevance and is a popular photo spot for those following the “Footsteps of Greatness” tour. West Louisville’s Central High School was also a home to "The Greatest". After winning the gold medal in Rome, there was a celebration for Ali at the high school. Central High School is still in operation today.
Two of the nineteen historic Frederick Law Olmsted designed parks are located alongside the Ohio River in West Louisville. In 1892, Shawnee Park started entertaining the many wealthy white families that lived in the nearby mansions. By 1921, neighboring Chickasaw Park was opened to permit black families to enjoy a park experience because in that day and age they were not allowed in Shawnee. This persisted until 1954 when Shawnee was desegregated. Shawnee is also home to a beautiful public golf course with scenic river views.
Some annual events to check out include the Dirt Bowl in Shawnee Park, Taste of West Louisville and the annual I am Ali Festival.