North Iroquois Neighborhood Association

History of North Iroquois Area



Iroquois Park was one of the three major suburban parks created in the late 19th century in Louisville. In 1889, Mayor Charles D. Jacob purchased Burnt Knob, a 313 acre (1.3 km) tract of land 4 miles (6 km) south of the city, for $9,000, and was reimbursed by the city treasurer without approval from the city council or public referendum, meaning the original purchase was probably illegal. Jacob also negotiated with landowners between the city and the then-rural park to acquire the right of way for a 150 foot wide "Grand Boulevard", today's Southern Parkway, which still leads to the park.

The move was controversial at first and called "Jacob's Folly" after early improvements were washed away by rain in the spring of 1889. In 1890 control over the park, then called Jacob's Park, was given to the Board of Park Commissioners. Frederick Law Olmstead was invited to tour the park, and gave an influential speech at the Pendennis Club on May 20, 1891, and signed a contract to design the city's park system two days later. Work was soon underway on the park, by then renamed Iroquois, which Olmstead envisioned as "providing the grandeur of the forest depths in the dim seclusion of which you may wander musingly for hours".

The Iroquois Amthitheater was originally built in 1938 by 275 employees from the Works Progress Administration and has undergone an $8.9 million renovation, while carefully preserving portions of the original structure. The Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Louisville/Jefferson County Metro 


Government and the Commonwealth of Kentucky partnered to fund the renovation, which was completed in 2003. The result is a state-of-the-art, handicapped accessible theater with seating for 2,407 that's ready to stage a variety of performing arts and cultural programs. The Iroquois Amphitheater is the official amphitheater for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and is managed and marketed by Triangle Talent, Inc

Starks Realty Co. began to develop the area then know as "JACOBS" Addition in 1892 after the opening of nearby Jacob's Park (modern-day Iroquois Park).

In 2002 a micro park named Jacobs Park, was created facing Taylor Blvd near the westbound entrance ramp of the Watterson Expressway, formerly a convenience store. With a flagpole from the old downtown Belvedere and a lighted sign welcoming people to the south end, it commemorated Mayor Charles Jacob insight to purchase Iroquois Park outside the city with his own money.

In 1954, Iroquois Homes was built at a cost of $9.3 million dollars on 42 acres of the former Gahlinger family farm. The 72 two story buildings with 850 units, were built over or around a branch of Mill Creek, which flowed thru the property and was filled in or diverted, causing drainage and mold Iroquois Homesproblems. Following segregation practices of the early 1950's, housing officials restricted Iroquois Homes to whites only. Most residents now are minorities. Demolition of the remaining current 635 units  and the only Community Center in North Iroquois Neighborhood's boundaries is expected to be completed by 2014.

Above, Hazelwood Tuberculosis Sanatorium.

Built in 1907 as a TB hospital, Hazelwood Center off Bluegrass Ave., has been transformed and has been serving the most fragile of Kentucky residents since 1971. Today 142 residents live at Hazelwood. Hazelwood also houses the only dental clinic in Kentucky for those with disabilities. This world renown clinic has brought visitors to the North Iroquois area from London, England and all parts of the United States.


This photo was taken circa 1960's of the Plumb Lodge #862 F&AM. They have been  located at the corner of Taylor Boulevard and Carlisle Avenue for 91 years.



 St. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital  moved from 12th and Magnolia Streets to its new address at Churchman and Bluegrass Avenues on January 25, 1958. More than 1000 volunteers drove more than 150 ambulances, moving vans and cars in bitter cold weather to transfer everything, from 26 patients to file cabinets, to the new hospital. Lauded as Louisville's most modern hospital, the new site was the first in Louisville to be air-conditioned throughout, and one of the few to replace bedside bells with nurse call buttons. Frederick Anderson was the first baby born in the new hospital. In 1972 new construction added 107 beds, a new Radiology Department, nursing units and patient rooms, bringing St. Mary's to it's current count of 331 beds. In 1985 a $30 million expansion and renovation added a four-story tower to the St. Mary's campus. It included new and advanced facilities for Physical Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, Special Diagnostics, 84 private patient rooms, Intensive Care and Coronary Care units, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Respiratory Therapy. In 1991 the four-story, $8.3 million Bluegrass Medical Building opened adjacent to the hospital, housing a pharmacy and offices for 60 physicians. In 1994 the hospital acquired the area's largest primary care practice - Valley Medical Associates - as part of an aggressive strategy to become the premier primary care provider by 2000. In 1995 the health care organization created by the merger of Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, Our Lady of Peace Hospital and Nazareth Home Health announced its new name April 18, 1995: CARITAS Health Services. In 2005 The boards of CARITAS Health Services, Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) and Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services (JHHS) each approved an agreement to merge CARITAS and JHHS into a single health care organization - Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare.


This is the  Jacob's Addition School, which served as the second home of  Plumb Lodge #862 F&AM, where all stated meetings were held from September 8, 1916 to April 20, 1917.



Posted by NINA Resident on 03/17/2008
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