Caitlan and I both have a thing for old buildings. Very few new buildings have the same character and charm that the older structures have. We have been blessed to be living among the largest collection of Victorian Era homes in the world. In addition, our neighborhood features the highest concentration of stained glass in a residential neighborhood in America. I could brag on for a few thousand lines, but I’ll just give you some reading material for those of you who are interested.
Along with all this history, beauty, and character, comes other, less desirable, traits. Our pipes have frozen repeatedly. I’m not just talking about the ice storm, but any time the temperature drops below 30 degrees, and there seems to be little we can do about it. We could let the water run, but because all of the drains are slow we would flood our apartments in the night if we attempted that. During the ice storm, we were one of the first to lose power and among the last to have it turned back on. Even then, my landlady refused to come out and turn our water on so I was crawling around in the cellar looking for the right lever to flip. My paint is peeling, which is bad, because it’s lead paint and over my bed. Most recently a leak has developed in my room that threatens the necessary aridity of my computer. Once again, I could write a book on these problems but I will spare you.
So what do we do, when we love the history an old home can provide, but do not want to deal with the added stresses? We move into a renovated and repurposed old building! After Derby this year Caitlan and I will move into St. Francis Apartments on the corner of 3rd and Broadway! There really isn’t a good site to tell you about this building, and I’ve been slowly piecing the history together, so you’re going to have to deal with my abbreviated story of how St. Francis came to be.
The building was constructed in 1913 by the YMCA. It housed living quarters, a gymnasium, several Presbyterian ministers on staff, and one of Louisville’s earliest basketball courts (the first being the previous location of the YMCA at Chestnut and Walnut streets). The YMCA was located there until it moved a block away to a new building on second street, where it remains today. The building has seen almost 100 years of activity in the city. In 1926 the court was home to the first home basketball game between the University of Louisville Cardinals and the Kentucky (State College) Wildcats. Cards won 26-15.
In 1977 St. Francis High School moved into the building, founding an urban “coeducational, independent, interdenominational college preparatory high school.” The school officially bought the building in 1999 and began an ambitious building campaign. The building is split down the middle with the High School on one side, and residential units on the other. Caitlan and I will be moving into a corner unit on the 6th floor and will have windows overlooking both 3rd street and Broadway.
The proximity to the river, Caitlan’s office, the new downtown arena, and UofL’s campus make this a great location. Caitlan and I are excited to make this our first home together.