History of Louisville’s neighborhoods reflected in holiday trees

The writer adds a touch of flair to one of the Metro Parks holiday trees, now on display inside of Metro Hall.

By JON REITER
Communications Coordinator
E-Mail Jon

Visitors to Metro Hall (5th and Jefferson streets in downtown Louisville) will, for the next month, see 15 beautifully-decorated holiday trees adorning the main lobby for the next month as the city hosts its annual Light Up Louisville celebration.

The trees were decorated by staff and volunteers from various Metro Parks Community Centers, and aside from doing a great job decorating the trees, they’ve given the public a glimpse into the history of the centers themselves and the neighborhoods that call them home.

For instance:

  1. The Russell Neighborhood, which houses the Baxter Community Center, was known in the 1940s as “Louisville’s Harlem” because of the contributions of its African-American residents to arts, music, culture and politics.
  2. The Beechmont Neighborhood (home to the Beechmont Community Center) came to be known as that because of the high concentration of Beech trees in the area.
  3. The California Neighborhood (home to the California Community Center) was named after the state of California because its first settlers found property and housing values to be so cheap they equated it to the California Gold Rush of 1848-49.
  4. The Parkland Neighborhood (also known as Southwick, home to the Southwick Community Center) was ripped apart by a tornado in 1890, and had to be rebuilt, piece-by-piece.

The city is encouraging folks to come downtown to enjoy the annual holiday parade and show of lights that has become most closely associated with Light Up Louisville on Friday, Nov. 26. But be sure to stroll through the rotunda in Metro Hall and take a look at the beautiful work that was done on these trees by our staff – and to learn a little bit of history about your community while doing so.

Learn more: http://www.lightuplouisville.org

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