Monday, July 14, 2014

Hearts Homes & History: 1023 Ash Street

For those of you who may not be familiar with our Hearts Homes and History feature, the genesis goes something like this:

About two years ago during a feverish brainstorming session, the SACC Housing Committee was looking for ways to promote community pride and to recognize the rich history our neighborhood.  One of the committee members suggested doing a feature on some of eye catching houses in the neighborhood and interviewing their owners.  Another suggested doing features on histories of the houses their and the families who lived there before. Then someone had a Eureka! moment and suggested we combine the two into one article.    That got us to “Homes and History” and then someone else suggested adding “Heart” into mix because, well, that is, according to the proverb, where home is.   And rightly so, because a house without a heart is not a home.  Since that time we’ve featured several neighbors in our newsletter.  This year we've moved to the blog where we have all this (is it really infinite?) cyberspace to kick around in.  In the past we only ran Hearts Homes and History features in the summer, but we decided that there are so many worthy candidates that we should just make it a year round feature.  Look for other articles to appear here throughout the year. 

On to the main feature…

We are very proud to announce that the first Hearts Homes & History Winner of 2014 is Michael and Rebecca Lovelace of 1023 Ash Street. Their house, which was extensively renovated in 2012,  was selected because of the wonderful landscaping the beautiful wooden front porch and the fan-shaped scroll work on the gable (a typical feature of shotgun houses built at the beginning of the century).   

After Renovations: The Current Home

Before Renovations

Michael is from upstate New York and Rebecca is from New Orleans.  They met in college and came to Louisville from Phoenix Arizona when Michael was accepted into the U of L Medical School.  Rebecca works for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and does most of her work via the computer but travels back to New Orleans occasionally for work and to visit friends and family.    They moved to Schnitzelburg about 9 months ago.  Michael’s hobbies include golfing, running and gardening.  In fact, he has two raised beds in his backyard full of sprawling squash, zucchini, and tomato plants.  Rebecca enjoys cooking and likes to travel. 

Michael's raised beds in their backyard.

The Lovelaces said they picked Schnitzelburg over other Louisville neighborhoods because the housing was very good value for the price and the houses here were cozy – just the right size for a couple.  They also said that location was a big plus.  Being 10 minutes from the airport makes traveling easy and being close to downtown and U of L cuts down on Michael’s travel time to classes. Rebecca added, “All these shot gun houses reminded me of New Orleans, so I feel very at home.”

The Lovelaces on their porch.
When asked what they liked most about living in Schnitzelburg they said the biggest asset was the sense of community – the neighborhood restaurants, bars, coffee shops, Emerson Garden.  “We’ve lived in a lot of different neighborhoods in different states and this is the most connected place we’ve ever lived in.  There’s always lots of stuff going on - the play in the park, the Blues Festival, the spring and fall walk, the Dainty Contest, and the neighborhood association has its own Facebook page which makes it easy to keep up with what’s going on.   It’s a very active neighborhood.  And there’s a lot of renovation going on.”  They also liked the fact that, despite being close to downtown, the streets are quiet here. 

In terms of improvements, Rebecca said a dog park would be a nice addition.  “It’s a good way to get out and meet your neighbors.”  Mike, who runs regularly, suggested designating a running route.  This would be a route that has relatively light traffic that would be more conducive to running than, say, some of the heavier traveled streets.  “This would be helpful, especially to those new to the neighborhood,” he noted. 

Michael and Rebecca’s house was built in 1892.  Construction of this block of Ash began in 1891. At this point in time, only lower Ash between Shelby and McHenry and a scattering of houses in the next block from McHenry to Merry Street (now Hoertz) had been developed.   The first resident in the newly built cottage was F. Xavier Koebel.  Xavier was born in 1819 in Mothern, Alsace, France. 

In 1888, Xavier and wife Madeline sailed to the U.S. aboard the ship, La Bretagne, along with Wendel, Aloise, Catherine and Joseph Koebel.  Of the 875 passengers aboard the La Bretagne sailing from Le Havre, 735 passengers were indicated to be "immigrants" on the ship's roster.  A history mystery within this story is the disappearance of Xavier's wife, Madeline Schiehl Koebel. Xavier and Madeline were 68 years old at the time they embarked for the U.S. It is not known if Madeline died during or soon after the voyage, or if she simply chose for one reason or another not to accompany Xavier to Louisville upon arrival. Her place of burial is unknown. The Koebel family plot can be found at St. Michael's cemetery. Xavier died in Louisville in 1893. His gravestone is inscribed with the word "Vater".

Congratulations, Michael and Rebecca! We hope to see you out and about at some upcoming events in the ‘Burg.  Stay tuned for next month’s Hearts Homes and History winner. And don’t forget, if you are out a on a summer stroll and see a house that you would like to nominate for an upcoming Hearts Homes and History feature send us the address & and few lines about what you like about it to

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July Newsletter & the Rail Corridor Planning Project - What is it?

Check out the July newsletter!  It's a busy month in and around Schnitzelburg!  Certainly something for everyone: a block party in Emerson Park, a community potluck at St. Elizabeth's, the World Famous Dainty Contest, and more!  Also, don't forget that July 1st marks the beginning of the membership year!  A one year membership is $10 for households and $20 for businesses.  Find more information in the  July newsletter or at the "Membership" tab at the top of the page!

The Germantown Shelby Park Rail Corridor Planning Project: Other than a mouthful, what is it?!

Basically, it's people from Louisville Metro, U of L, and some urban planners/consultants that are meeting with the community to create a plan that will help the area grow with positive development that is community supported.  They aren't here to build anything or create new laws.  They are here to make a plan that can help mold the future of the study area (shown in the map below), which includes parts of German-Paristown, Schnitzelburg, and Shelby Park.

The project focuses on the area inside the purple line.

In their words, from their website:
Louisville Metro Jefferson County through its Department of Economic Growth and Innovation(EGI) in partnership with University of Louisville Center for Environmental Policy and Management (CEPM) and an urban planning and environmental consultant team lead by Lord Aeck Sargent are working with community members and stakeholders to create a brownfields area-wide plan and implementation strategy for the Germantown/Shelby Park Rail Corridor. This project is funded through Louisville Metro EGI by a grant from the U.S. EPA Brownfields  Area-Wide Planning Program.

What are brownfields?  They are defined as vacant or underutilized sites where the threat of contamination has made redevelopment more complex. Brownfields come in all shapes and sizes. Common examples include abandoned manufacturing facilities, gas stations, and dry cleaners.  Examples in the study area include the former Goss Avenue Cotton Mill, Hope Worchester Mill, Bradford Mills, and the Waste Transfer Center.  

The project coordinators address many questions we, as community leaders, often ask: What do you like about this area and what is important to you?  What do you want to see changed?  How do you see the community in the future?  What businesses do you want to see take root here?  How can we better use the structures already standing?  How can we be greener?

So far this year, there have been three community meetings held to introduce the project (April), discuss 'how clean is clean?' (May), and identify neighborhood assets (June).  The next meeting, slated for July 8th at 6:30 pm at the AmVetsPost, will cover green infrastructure, how to manage storm water runoff, and how this connects to the larger efforts to improve Beargrass Creek.  There will also be leaders from the community talking about green infrastructure and new projects happening in the study area.

Community input is very important to the project.  It's residents and stakeholders who know what is going on in the community at the ground level, know how it's evolved over time, and what its needs are.  They need your voices.  Not convinced if you should join the conversation?  Project coordinators are providing free Danny Mac's pizza to all those who participate.

For more information, and to stay current on news and events, including community meeting announcements, visit the Germantown/Shelby Park Rail Corridor Project Facebook page.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Shelby Park Fundraiser

There has been a wealth of positive momentum going on in and around Schnitzelburg lately and, this week, we would like to turn our attention to our neighbors in the Shelby Park community.  From planting 160+ trees this fall to providing free, hot meals to children all summer long*, the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association is blowing us away with their spectacular endeavors.

On June 28th at the Cure Lounge (1481 South Shelby Street), the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association will be hosting a "Good Time Fundraiser" to support another worthwhile endeavor: the revitalization of the Shelby Park Community Center, nee the Shelby Park Public Library and formerly a Carnegie Library.  Plans include a computer center, an extended library with updated books, and wiring the entire center to provide WiFi to the center and (hopefully) the entire park - the first free WiFi hot spot park in Louisville.

Bryan Burns, Vice President of the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association, was kind enough to answer some questions about their upcoming fundraiser for us.

What demographic will be served by the community center's computers and books?  Are the number of computers you are going to buy contingent on the amount you all are able to raise?

The SPNA is hoping that all age groups will make use of the computers, internet, and books.  Whether it be for generally surfing the web, children having a place to do homework, or adults doing things such as find job opportunities, we want to make sure the center becomes an amazing resource for the entire community.  (Editor's note: The community center hours are typically 8 am - 5 pm.)

As far as how many computers we get in place, it will be determined by how much money we can raise.  We were actually already able to acquire a few computers for donation but, according to those currently in charge of the Shelby Park Community Center, current Metro Policy does not allow for accepting donated PC's, only money for the purchase of new ones.  It's not a policy I'm personally a fan of and it may diminish our returns, but we will do what we can to work within the restrictions set in place.

Beyond this, we are also looking to improve TARC stops in the neighborhood, and even installing bike repair stations.

Mark my words, Shelby Park is the neighborhood to watch.

Tell me more about the status of getting the community center set up for wireless.  When will this happen?

We're still waiting to get many of the details regarding WiFi in the community center, but we have been told that funding will be there, and it will happen very soon.  On the neighborhood associations behalf, I have contacted Councilman Tandy's office and spoke to him in-person regarding the installation of wireless internet in the park and he was quite receptive.  It was actually his suggestion that extending internet throughout the entirety of the park was a plausible idea.

I believe the logistics are being determined by Community Revitalization Services and, at this point, I'm unsure if park-wide coverage is their goal.  That is, however, where SPNA would like it to ultimately go.  Free, park-wide WiFi is something that if it doesn't pan out in the immediate plans, we're going to push for it at a later time.  If it comes down to being something that we would have to finance ourselves, I'm fairly certain the majority of our board would be fine with that, particularly if the community continues to support us in the way they have.

As far as I know, once this happens, it will be the first Metro-operated park in the Louisville area that offers this.  It would be a fantastic thing for District 4 to have.

Will people be able to donate gently used books the night of the fundraiser for the center?

This is actually the first of our two planned fundraisers.  We are also planning to hold a "Stock the Shelves" fundraiser/book donation party at the Shelby Park Community Center on August 29th.  We're looking to offer free music and free food for anyone in attendance in addition to some more raffle prizes and a silent auction.

What does the $5 admission cover?

Access to the back room where the fundraiser will be held.  You get to play trivia, get access to the raffle, and hear the music and poetry.

You can buy additional raffle tickets for $1 and every raffle ticket is redeemable for $1 off your next meal at Smoketown USA.

What are some of the other local businesses involved in the fundraiser?

Prizes will be given to multiple winning teams of the trivia game and certain others will be awarded to raffle winners.  We have a pair of tickets to any show put on by Actor's Theater this upcoming season, as well as tickets to the Kentucky Science Center, that can be won through the raffle.  The raffle will include other merchandise as well.

Honestly, the response from members of the Louisville Independent Business Alliance has been overwhelming and we had to actually stop taking donations at some point because organization, structure, and logistics were becoming difficult.

While $5 might be a lot to pay per individual on a standard night of trivia, this game will have the highest stakes and the largest prizes on the line of any trivia night I've been to.  Multiple teams can expect to walk way having made their $5 donation back and more.  Hundreds in prizes are on the line.

An incomplete list of businesses that have donated so far includes Taco Punk, The Nitty Gritty, Falls City Brewing, Bourbon Barrel Foods, Hwang's Martial Arts, Book and Music Exchange, Carmichael's Bookstore, Chef Maria's Greek Deli, Guest Room Records, Dirty Tease, WHY Louisville, The Monkey Wrench, Ah, Whatta Bout Mimi, Comfy Cow, Sister Bean's Coffee House, The Dundee Candy Shop, Woodstock Antiques, and, of course, The Cure Lounge.

I would also like to mention that Alex Gustafson of Gus Bus Trivia is donating his time to MC the trivia night.  People who enjoy trivia should check out some of the other weekly games he hosts.

Additionally, a great new neighbor of ours, Casey Hamm, brought in his friends Nzuri Music to entertain us with music, and Loohavull Lip Slam to offer poetry after the game of trivia.  Please check them out!

Thanks for your time, Bryan, and we are looking forward to Saturday night!  We hope others will join us in having a good time and raising money for a worthy cause.  Thanks for all Shelby Park Neighborhood Association is doing in the community!  

*Dare to Care is providing meals at the Shelby Park Community Center to those 18 and younger for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Monday through Friday (with the exception of dinner on Friday).  Breakfast will be served 8-9 am, lunch noon-1 pm, and dinner 4:30-5:30 pm (again, with the exception that no dinner is served on Friday).

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

All-American Prom

Didn't make it to prom?  Maybe you did and it wasn't as magical as you expected.  Maybe you went and it was wonderfully magical and you would love to relive it.  Whatever your prom experience, the AMVETS Post #9 is giving you a chance to redo prom!

The All-American Prom is set for this upcoming SATURDAY, JUNE 21st at 7:30 inside the AMVETS Hall at 1567 South Shelby Street (right here in Schnitzelburg!).  Tickets are just $10 and are on sale now!  (Sorry, kids, this prom is for adults only.)

Enter the prom on a red carpet.  Have your prom picture taken (everyone gets a FREE picture) and pose in the photo area.  Snack on finger food or order Danny Mac's Pizza (located inside the Post).  No need to sneak a flask into prom - the Post has a full cash bar if you're looking to spike your punch.  Music will be "Timeline Style," playing hits from the 1950's to the present.  A Prom King and Queen will be crowned by the crowd!  There will also be door prizes given away throughout the evening.

The All-American theme will be reflected in red, white, and blue decorations, but you don't have to match the theme.  Just come have a great night and make some special memories.

The All-American Prom is a fundraiser for Paws with a Cause, a nonprofit organization that trains and pairs service dogs with veterans in need, a project the AMVETS helps fund every year.

Tickets/reservations, donations, and door prize donations can be made by contacting Danny Mac at (502) 635.7994 Monday through Friday between 4 and 10 pm.  Reserved tables for small groups are available.  Only 100 tickets are available, so don't miss the opportunity!

Go shopping or dust off that old dress or suit!  We can't wait to dance the night away at prom!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Front Porch Wednesdays

Warmer weather is upon us and it's time to begin Front Porch Wednesdays! Started as a part of the Go Green Germantown movement, Front Porch Wednesdays is an annual tradition that is still young, but one that we hope will continue to grow in popularity.

Front Porch Wednesdays is a simple idea: try to make an effort to spend some time each Wednesday evening throughout the summer and into the fall on your front porch or taking a stroll through the neighborhood.  There are lots of different ways to participate!  Maybe it's a night that you take your children to Emerson Park.  Maybe it is a night that you and your dog take an extra long walk along some streets that are not part of your normal route.  Maybe it is ditching your car and walking to a nearby local business (al fresco dining, anyone?).  Try to smile and say hello to everyone you see.  Meet new neighbors in the process.  Perhaps you and a friend or group of neighbors would like to form a Wednesday Walking Club?  Maybe you might even take along a little bag and pick up a little litter?

Unplug or turn off your electronic devices.  Leave them in the house.  Disconnect from your technology centered world and connect with your natural surroundings!  Immerse yourself in the neighborhood and become more observant of the things around you.  Getting to know our surroundings better and the names and faces of those in in the neighborhood has many benefits.  Wednesday nights are the perfect time to meet your neighbors and establish a relationship.  Who knows when you will need a neighbor in a pinch for a missing ingredient in a recipe you're working on, or to pick up your mail when you are out of town.

The lack of trees can be very apparent in the warmer months as walking down a street without any shade can be brutal.  Think of ways we can add more green (and admire the new trees!).  Think of ways to improve our community.

Give Front Porch Wednesdays a try when your schedule allows.  Generally, the prime time to be out and about is from 6 - 9 pm.  We hope that most of you can participate often and you will enjoy it!

See ya around the neighborhood!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June Newsletter + June General Meeting

The June SACC Newsletter is here!  The newsletter is jam-packed with news and events in the area, including the Playdate in the Park on June 22nd in Emerson Park.  There's something for everyone, so be sure to read all about it!  As always, check the SACC blog and Facebook page for the latest updates.

Put it on your calendar: June is a General Meeting Month!  We hope you and the family join us for an ice cream social on the patio of the All Wool & a Yard Wide Democratic Club for an evening of sweet treats and socialization!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Shelby Street Love, Schnitzelburg Style

Shelby Street is one of the three streets that make up Schnitzelburg's triangular boundary.  It's home to a lot of local businesses (from bars to sewing circles) and residents, and now it's home to a few new trees and shrubs thanks to Go Green Germantown!

Go Green Germantown and Invested in Shelby* hosted a beautification project this past Sunday afternoon where volunteers met up on the 1400 block of Shelby to plant trees and shrubs, trim overgrown trees, weed-eat, clean up the sidewalks, and pick up trash.

Here's the project in numbers:

20 bags of trash (and 2 cans) were picked up by
12 volunteers who planted
7 trees and
5 shrubs in
3 hours!

Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who showed up and got their hands dirty!

Interested in volunteering?  Go Green Germantown is always in need of a few helping hands.  Contact them through their Facebook page or via email at

Since Go Green Germantown is not a 501c3 and depends on the already limited funds of the SACC, please consider donating to Go Green Germantown (PayPal link on the right or send $ to the SACC P.O. Box - you'll get a receipt and a huge thank you!).  To date, Go Green Germantown has planted over 130 trees in and around the Schnitzelburg area.  Their operating costs cover trees, shrubs, planters, mulch, tools, and more.  What you give goes right back into the community.

Happy Volunteers: Michael and Amanda

Volunteers clearing the ditches.

The resulting streetscape.

Twenty bags of trash, debris, and yard waste was removed from the 1400 block!

*What is Invested in Shelby?

Started as a project for their Neighborhood Institute class, an SACC board member created an Instagram account that captured images of Shelby Street in hopes to bring awareness to what currently exists on the bustling street and to encourage people to imagine what Shelby Street could one day be.  The pictures give us a detailed, intimate look at a part of our neighborhood that we typically zoom through.

Invested in Shelby now primarily focuses their efforts on a Facebook page that allows them to reach a broader audience and highlight some of the great things going the community has going on in the area.

From Invested in Shelby's Facebook page:
Shelby Street is a busy border street of the Schnitzelburg neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky, and one of our main corridors of transportation to Downtown. The purpose of this page is to draw attention to Shelby Street--showcasing the good--not so good--unique--and potential just waiting to be brought forth. Join in the conversation and let's come up with solutions to improve this sometimes neglected area!
Photos from Invested in Shelby's Instagram page 

What do you love about Shelby Street?  How would you like to see Shelby Street improve?  Let us know!