Louisville's Butchertown

The Butchertown neighborhood is located just east of the Downtown area, bordered by the Ohio River to the north, Interstate 65 to the west, Main Street to the south, and Mellwood Avenue and Beargrass Creek to the east. Butchertown features a variety of historic sites, retail, dining, art galleries and entertainment in a blended working-class & industrial community setting.

Places to go in Butchertown

  • Pho Ba Lou
  • Hi-Five Doughnuts
  • Bistro 1860
  • Butchertown Grocery
  • B-town Pie Company
  • Hall’s Cafetaria
  • Freddy’s Market and Deli
  • Sergios World Beers
  • Downtown Animal Hospital
  • Copper & Kings
  • Play Louisville
  • Work the Metal
  • J.Gumbos
  • LVL 1 Hackerspace
  • Producers Veterinary Supply
  • Dave Armstrong Extreme Park
  • Bluefin Seafoods
  • Thomas Edison House
  • CrossFit the Ville
  • Bittners
  • Barry Wooley Design
  • Sign 4
  • The Voice Tribune
  • GoodWood Brewing Company
  • Hyland Glass
  • Pyro Gallery
  • Black Heart Gallery
  • Pohl Iron & Wire Works
  • City Space on Main Storage
  • RegenEn Solar
  • Louabull
  • Foodcraftlvll
  • Electric Blue Reprographics
  • Stock Yards Bank
  • Plumbers Supply
  • The Point
  • Workshop, The creative workplace
  • Cellar Door Chocolates
  • Bourbon Barrel Foods
  • Quarter Master Costume Rental
  • Kentucky Water Alliance
  • Guest House on Story
  • Reuff Sign
  • Willet Lumber
  • R & B motors
  • Story Avenue Park
  • Greg Thornton’s Preowned Cars
  • The Paw Zone
  • Apocalypse Brew
  • Big Al’s Beeritaville
  • ECO Cell
  • Louis’ “The Ton”
  • Linden Hill Bed and Breakfast
  • The intuitive connection
  • Hadley Pottery
  • Hall Reese
  • Revcore Supply
  • Liz & Roo
  • St. Joseph School
  • Current 360

Butchertown Feature Events

The annual Butchertown Art Fair and Home Tour in the Spring and the well-known Oktoberfest in the Fall are staples of Louisville's event calendar.

archive pig drawing
  • Butchertown Art Fair
  • Butchertown Home Tour
  • Butchertown Oktoberfest
  • Games on Tap at Louis’ The Ton
  • Kentucky Shakespeare Productions
  • Hamcrafted
  • Annual Holiday Bake Sale at Copper & Kings
  • Republic Bank First Friday Hop
  • Wigs on Tap with Gilda’s Club
  • Namaste Soiree
  • Fly Over Film Festival
  • Taste of Butchertown
  • Umpteenth Annual $20 Art Sale
  • PorktoberFest

Butchertown Preservation District

It was not until 1830’s that Butchertown began taking on its urban character. Around 1887, Louisville annexed parts of the area and it spurred a broad intititive of development among new Louisvillians in both industrial and local businesses. Up until this point, butchering animals had been banned from the city core, but this did not present a problem in the Northeastern area of Downtown because the city’s Eastern reaches were more practical for the task, with Beargrass Creek as a location for dumping animal wastes. Many of first waves of German immigrants quickly embraced the opportunity, becoming butchers and building a rich close-knit community.

To accommodate the growing industry, the Bourbon Stock Yards was established in 1834. Other related businesses such as tanneries, cooperages, soap makers, agricultural supply dealers, blacksmiths, and, of course, breweries and distilleries. soon sprang up.

Faced with even further encroachment by industry, a few remaining homeowners finally banded together in the mid-1960s to fight for neighborhood preservation. Their first success came in 1966 when they persuaded the city to switch the neighborhood’s zoning to partial residential. A new corporation, Butchertown, Inc., began buying dilapidated structures to renovate for resale. The result was a more stabilized community that was quieter, yet energetic.

Butchertown’s remarkable preservation movement was inspired by the revitalization efforts of Old Louisville, and its success led to further renewal in other areas. Butchertown is a patchwork; a working-class neighborhood co-existing with industrial and commercial buildings that trace their origins almost to the very beginning of Louisville. While that diversity makes it hard to pigeon-hole the place architecturally, there is a quirky cohesion of materials, scale and spatial arrangement that makes Butchertown identifiable and unique.

The Butchertown Preservation District suggests that property owners planning to make exterior changes to a historic building should start by identifying the features and materials that give their structure its unique character, as well as its historic and non-historic elements. By taking the time to recognize and understand significant features, you will be much more likely to plan a project that is compatible with the original style of the building.

Butchertown History

Butchertown’s history can be traced to the year 1796 when Henry Fait established one of Jefferson County’s first gristmills in the area.

One of the oldest neighborhoods in Louisville, Butchertown was established in the early 1796 when German and Irish immigrants settled in east Downtown Louisville along the original Beargrass Creek. Many of the residents were metal workers, butchers, or somehow worked to support the butchering community. Like much of Downtown Louisville, Butchertown experenced many of Louisville’s most memorable historical events, including the major flood of 1937 and the "Bloody Monday" riots of August 1855. Once a community that included both residential and industrial aspects, the diverse community is seeing a rebirth as and art and cutural district and is being recognized as a valuable and a quickly growing segment of the Downtown development. It is not unusual to see blocks of newly renovated buldings, and, in some cases, new construction where there were previously neglected spaces. Louisville’s Butchertown is, however, a preservation district. With much effort and energy, they are maintaining the Victorian Bric-à-brac charm as well as the many grand buildings that date back over 100 years. Shopping, dining, nightlife, and retail have also found a strong foothold in the community. Also, a great deal of literature on Butchertown and its history can be found in local bookstores, including Edna Kabala’s Louisville's Butchertown.

pig black shadow

Gallery

Images from around Butchertown

butchertown mural of woman
butchertown logo mural

Butchertown Map

map of butchertown businesses

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