Whiskey Row, Louisville

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Whiskey Row Historic District
Louisville - Hamilton Brothers Warehouse.jpg
A portion of Louisville's historic Whiskey Row on West Main Street
LocationLouisville, Kentucky
Architectural styleRevivalist, Chicago School
NRHP reference #89000385
Added to NRHPJune 4, 2010


Whiskey Row refers to a block-long stretch from 101–133 W. Main Street that once served as home to the bourbon industry in Louisville, Kentucky. The collection of Revivalist and Chicago School-style buildings with cast-iron storefronts were built between 1852 and 1905. In 1857, the buildings were built and used to store whiskey barrels that had been produced from the distilleries nearby. [1] On a list of Louisville Most Endangered Historic Places, the buildings were slated for demolition in 2011,[2] but an agreement between the city, local developers, and preservationists saved Whiskey Row.

Numerous distilleries would transport whiskey barrels to the Louisville market for sale by train or wagon. Main Street became extremely populated with whiskey firms that it decided to name the buildings Whiskey Row. Due to the countless roles that Kentucky played in the liquor market, it later became the leading producer for distilled spirits. Some of the top liquor companies such as Brown Forman, Greenbrier Distillery, John T. Barbee, amongst other major companies have their offices and businesses in Louisville. [3]


On July 6, 2015, a fire partially destroyed three of the Whiskey Row buildings extending from 111–115 W. Main Street. Developers vowed to continue redeveloping the properties.[4] The accidental fire began in the basement of one of the buildings that were at the time being renovated. The workers who had been renovating the building were trying to peel away old cast iron piping by using acetylene torches and grinders. According to Maj. Henry Ott, of the Louisville Fire Department, he believes that the slang left behind from these tools dropped and smoldered. [5] Once the fire started from the basement, it made its way up to the rest of the building and across to the two others. Thankfully, the buildings were vacant and there were no injuries. [6]


As of today, Whiskey Row the buildings have been renovated into Old Forester Distillery[7] (its original 1880s home at 119 West Maine Street), luxury apartments, restaurants, and retail businesses. [8] When the entire Whiskey Row project is finished, the 100th block of Main Street will include a distillery tourist attraction, two upscale hotels, and a huge retail outlet. [9]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Article in "USA Today"
  2. ^ Hall, Elizabeth. Kighting Design & Application. 42 (9). Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Article in "Kentucky History"
  4. ^ Bailey, Phillip M.; Shafer, Sheldon S.; Kim, Gina; Kaneshiro, Janica (July 7, 2015). "Fire ravages Whiskey Row buildings". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  5. ^ Article in "Louisville Business First"
  6. ^ Article in "Louisville Business First"
  7. ^ https://robbreport.com/food-drink/spirits/old-forester-returns-whiskey-row-reopening-distillery-2800213/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Article in "Kentucky History"
  9. ^ Article in "Courier-Journal"