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Portland Wharf Park, surrounding area added to National Register of Historic Places

Wednesday September 26, 2007

Donna M. Neary, Executive Director of the Kentucky Heritage Council and State Historic Preservation Officer, presented certificates to Louisville Metro officials today, officially recognizing the historic Portland area's listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  Seven other Kentucky properties were also added to the National Register.

Presentation of National Register certificate
State Historic Preservation Officer Donna Neary, center, presents certificates to Metro Parks Assistant Director Jerry Brown, left, as students from Shawnee High School look on. (Photo courtesy Ky Heritage Council)
"Portland Proper" is the National Register's designation for an archaeological site along the Ohio River, including Portland Wharf Park and a large part of the area known as Portland Proper, the original town of Portland.  The site now consists of the archaeological remains of a once-thriving river town and port, occupied from the 1820s through 1930s and demolished when the floodwall was built after the devastating 1937 flood.

The historic Portland Wharf dates to the early 1800s.  Buried beneath river sediment is an archaeological treasure of streets, building foundations and the wharf.  A 56-acre park being excavated and developed on this site is serving a uniquely important recreational and educational mission, while helping restore the vitality of a neighborhood that boasts a rich heritage.  Metro Parks is working with groups including the Portland Museum, Portland NOW, and the Kentucky Archaeological Survey.

Kentucky has the fourth highest number of National Register listings in the nation, with more than 3,200 districts, sites and structures encompassing more than 41,000 historic features.  Administered by the National Park Service and State Historic Preservation Offices, the National Register program is the official list of the nation’s sites deemed worthy of preservation, recognizing a property's archaeological, architectural or historical significance and providing a measure of protection against adverse impacts from federally funded projects.  National Register listing or eligibility is also the first step in qualifying for federal and state tax credits for rehabilitation of historic buildings.

Video coverage of the Portland Proper announcement is available from MetroTV at this link.

Other properties in Louisville that were added to the National Register include:

  • Mockingbird Valley Historic District – A residential neighborhood five miles east of downtown Louisville consisting of approximately 450 acres bounded by I-71 to the north and Brownsboro Road to the south.  The district has 179 contributing structures including houses, outbuildings, a cemetery and private club dating from 1905 through the 1950s in various architectural styles.
  • Martin Bannon House, 5112 Bannon Crossing – An American Arts and Crafts / Craftsman-style brick home with a glazed brick façade and terra cotta tile roof.  The rectangular, 2½-story brick building originally sat on 18.11 acres with landscaped gardens, a pool and carriage house.
  • The Olympic Apartments, 223 W. Breckinridge Street – A mixed-use commercial/residential complex constructed in 1926-27 in the Commercial Craftsman style.