If you love history and the Victorian era, Louisville has the largest Victorian house district in the country. At the center of Old Louisville sits many Victorian mansions and houses, but this is the only one that is always available to tour year-round (call to get exact tour times. Admission is $10/adult and less for seniors/children and it is a surprisingly long tour for a house and worth the expense in my opinion. On a Wednesday in May, there was a 1:00pm and a 4:00pm tour only).
Our guide was an ancestor of the original owner and she was wonderful and incredibly full of trivia and fact. The neighborhood area is St. James Court in historic Old Louisville (a few miles from downtown Louisville), and is a beautiful courtyard full of Victorian mansions well cared for and it still has the original gas-powered lamplights from the 1800's in the central park area.
The house also features a lot of trivia and facts about the late 1800's Southern Exposition, which was like a World's Fair effort to bring the world to Louisville. Thomas Edison showed off his new lightbulbs here and the expo building was lit by electricity and was only second to New York City in having as much electricity at that time.
Wonderful architecture, three floors of ornate carvings and beautiful historical artifacts and furniture. So happy we got the great granddaughter of the owners to give the tour too.
If you are lucky enough to be here in very early December, try to take the hugely popular Old Louisville's Victorian Christmas Holiday Tour (order tickets EARLY- they sell out fast). This is fabulous to do- just dress warmly as you walk the neighborhood in chilly December (occasional shuttle transport) and tour many Victorian homes that are all unique in architecture and furnishings and Christmas decorations, as well as see how a few current residents decorate their mansions in a more modern style for Christmas.
This Victorian neighborhood is one of Louisville's pride and joys. In early October (first weekend), there is a nationally renowned St. James Art Fair that takes over the St. James Court area and several blocks beyond. Well received artists and some so-so ones, but it is very popular, crowded but enjoyable. Go to the Fair on a Friday vs. Saturday and Sunday for less crowds. Go weekdays to the Conrad-Caldwell house for a more smaller group tour experience.
If you love antiques and/or history of the Victorian era, you will enjoy this tour. Leave the coach potato husbands at home, ladies, and only bring the enlightened history buff guys and mature, interested teens.
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