Highlands-Douglass Neighborhood Association

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Highlands-Douglass Neighborhood Association


The original core of Highlands-Douglass   neighborhood was “Woodbourne,”’ an estate of approximately 200 acres assembled during the 1830s by Starks Fielding, a Mississippi cotton planter. The focal point of the estate was an imposing, white-columned Southern Colonial mansion, located today between Woodford Place and Douglass Boulevard adjacent to Douglass Boulevard Christian Church. The home was purchased by the church in 1949, renamed after Briney, a former pastor, and now serves as a religious education facility.
In 1870, Woodbourne was purchased by George L. Douglass, an executive of Western Union. Upon Douglass’s death, the estate passed into the hands of his daughter, Mrs. S.R. Carter. Shortly after the creation of Cherokee Park, she donated several acres of the estate to the Board of Parks Commissioners as part of the park. Included in the donation was Big Rock, one of the park’s most popular features. But the vast majority of the property was laid out during the early twentieth century as Douglass Park Subdivision.
The combination of large historical revival and Victorian houses and apartment buildings located along Woodford Place, Douglass Boulevard, and Woodbourne Avenue between Bardstown Road and Ellerbe Avenue suggest that the western half of Douglass Park Subdivision developed at a fairly rapid pace. A major factor in this development was the extension of the Bardstown Road streetcar line to Douglass Boulevard, early in the 20th century. By the mid 1920’s the Douglass Loop was a thriving commercial district. The eastern half, however did not geow rapidly. A few older historical revival homes attest that some residential development did occur before the depression. But most of the area was resubdivided into six smaller units between 1938 and 1952. The numerous resubdivisions of the eastern portion of Douglass Park help to explain the mixture of historical revival and contemporary brick and stone ranch houses located along Valetta Lane, Park Boundary Road, Millvale Road, and the eastern end of Douglass Boulevard.
Several other parcels of land near the Douglass estate were subdivided between 1906 and 1914. In 1907, Kenilworth, a small subdivision at the intersection of Bardstown Road and Taylorsville Road, was platted by the Highland Realty Company. Kenilworth Place, the subdivision’s main street, interects Bardstown Road at a right angle. Its entrance is flanked by two tone pillars.
One block east of Bardstown Road, Kenilworth meets Hampton Court. Immediately opposite the intersection is one of the neighborhood’s showcases – an impressive two-story, brick Italianate mansion with a tall central tower, bracketed cornice, and window hoods. The date of construction is unknown, but its design suggests that the residence wa built before the civil war.
In 1911, the Louisville Trust Company platted Woodbourne Heights. The residences in these areas consist primarily of frame Victorian houses and small bungalows.
Like most other neighborhoods in eastern Louisville, the Douglass area experienced a moratorium in development during World War 1, which was followed by a building boom during the 1920’s. More than a dozen new subdivisions were laid out in the Douglass neighborhood during the first half of the postwar decade. Two large ones among those were Lauderdale in 1920 followed by Cherokee Village in 1922.
The housing styles found in the subdivisions developed during the early 1920s are indicative of the socioeconomic character of the neighborhood’s residents during the period. North of Douglass Boulevard, large, expensive, historical revival style homes, especially the Colonial English, Tudor and Dutch revival are dominant, suggesting that the area had a heavily upper middle class population. By the same token, the homes south of Woodbourne, along such streets as Wrocklage, Weber, Wallace, and Talbott are primarily brick and frame bungalows.
As early as the 1870s and 1880s developers in such neighborhoods as Crescent Hill and Cherokee Triangle were forced to discard the gridiron pattern when dealing with difficult topography. For the most part, the grid prevailed. But to the north, in the upper middle class subdivisions, the street pattern exhibits an assortment of loops, curves, and circles calculated to respect the natural contours of the land. The same is true for the newer subdivisions which border Cherokee and Seneca parks.

Won't you be our Neighbor?


For just $12 per household per year, you can become a member of the Highlands-Douglass Neighborhood Association. Your membership will help us serve our community by:

  • Working with your Metro Council representative to improve our neighborhood
  • Promoting safety and security in our area
  • Bringing neighbors together by sponsoring neighborhood events, such as block parties, the Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social, the Big Rock Jazz & Blues Fest, and more…
  • Maintaining and improving the integrity of our park side neighborhood

To join, please mail your check for $12 to Highlands-Douglass Neighborhood Association, P.O. Box 5194, Louisville, KY 40255 or email hdna@gmail.com. 

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