Thursday, July 17th, 2008
In follow-up to my recent posting, David Schooling sent me an absolutely astonishing series of Louisville historic transit photos, with permission to reproduce them.
First, a section of elevated rail along the waterfront.
You can see the rail line to the left in the picture. This was built in 1884 and lasted 100 years into the mid-1980’s. I put this first because it belies one of the central claims of the 8664 group. Namely that the construction of the I-64 riverfront parkway cut the city off from the river. The city was long cut off from the river by this rail line. What’s more, back in the day, the river was dirty, industrial, and a sewer – not the place for a nice stroll.
I think we’re too harsh on some aspects of previous civic decisions. The world was a different place when the riverfront rail lines and expressways were built. Today, rather than saying it was a mistake, let’s just acknowledge that we now live in a post-industrial age where the worst of pollution has been cleaned up. This gives us the opportunity to rethink things for the future.
Here’s the 4th St. elevated station, circa 1905
Ok, so now you know that Louisville had an extensive elevated rail system, which at a minimum had both freight and electrified passenger service. But did you know it also had a freight subway system downtown? I knew Chicago had one of these, but was not aware that other cities did too. Who else might have had one? Here’s a picture.