chapter  3
27 Pages

How did the Highlands happen?

From suburbia to bohemia to boburbia
WithWilliam J. Weston

The Highlands developed as a streetcar suburb along Bardstown Road. In the Gilded Age it was developed as an outer suburb, wedded to the green spaces of Cave Hill Cemetery and two of the city’s jewels, Cherokee Park and Seneca Park, which were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. After World War II, suburban growth left the city proper and headed eastward. After the race riots of the 1960s and the busing controversies of the 1970s, the Highlands declined. This decline, though, allowed the neighborhood to become Louisville’s first artistic bohemia. The artistic bohemians drew the culture-consuming boburbans. The bones of a streetcar neighborhood proved ideal for creating a stable, desirable, active, and liberal community that stands as an alternative to the gated-community suburbs.