Old Louisville Hidden Treasures
Garden Tour History
Old Louisville is an eclectic and diversely populated section of the city that in some areas approaches Manhattan-like density. This gives both public and private green spaces an environmental as well as an aesthetic importance.
Neighborhood organizations are working to restore Central Park, an Olmsted creation that celebrated its centennial in 2004; pocket parks, and other landscaped spaces that replace demolished structures, are adopted by private owners and neighborhood associations; greens along heavily traveled thoroughfares provide visual respite for pedestrians and drivers alike.
Individual garden owners’ talents, effort and dedication to fine landscaping on their own properties contribute to the quality of life for all in the neighborhood. Their gardens display urban landscapes that help to reduce air and noise pollution and decrease the effects of summer temperatures. Their gardens complement the aesthetics of the fine architecture and inspire other residents to create further green spaces.
In 1993, Virginia Ehrlich and Peggy Mims, two Old Louisville residents and activists in the preservation of this Victorian treasure, presented to the Second Street Neighborhood Association the idea of a garden tour that would encompass and benefit all of Old Louisville. Ten years before the Central Park Centennial, the Old Louisville Hidden Treasures Garden Tour was initiated. Over the years, the tour has enjoyed the support and backing of the non-profit Second Street Neighborhood Association membership, as well as sponsors and volunteers from many parts of Old Louisville and the Metro community at large.
Old Louisville’s gardens offer visitors variety in design, with a range from the traditional and formal to the quirky and whimsical. Turn-of-the-twentieth-century carriage houses often form the rear enclosure of the properties, and many times their façades are incorporated into the garden’s design. Huge old trees, found in many gardens, provide welcome shade on hot summer days and inspire creative development of shade gardens. Just as the residences are frequently adorned with gargoyles, balconies and turrets, the gardens display a spectrum of ornamentation, from the Grinch to chandeliers to a kayak.
The landscaping efforts of Old Louisville organizations and individual property owners have played an integral part in the revival of one of the nation’s largest historic neighborhoods. During our existence, by showcasing and encouraging these efforts, the Old Louisville Hidden Treasures Garden Tour has significantly contributed to this progress by enhancing a treasured part of Metro Louisville, often referred to as the City of Parks.