Feature: Beecher Terrace

The Beecher Terrace Archaeological Project is the largest urban archaeology effort to date in Louisville. The project is focused on the Beecher Terrace Housing Complex, which occupies 12 city blocks on 39 acres between 9th and 13th Streets and Jefferson and Muhammad Ali Boulevard in downtown Louisville. The Beecher Terrace area lies directly to the west of the downtown area along 9th Street, which has become a symbolic and virtual “divide” between the predominantly black population of West Louisville and the eastern, more affluent predominantly white portions of the city. Built in 1939 as the second low-income residential development in Louisville specifically for African Americans, the aging complex is being replaced with newer housing. Beecher Terrace overlays the remains of more than 380 residences, commercial properties, institutions, and churches of a neighborhood developed in 1860-1870, although evidence of earlier pre-1850 occupations have been found in this early expansion of Louisville to the west. Historic research indicates the area was historically occupied by black and mixed-race working families, as well as German, Irish, and eastern European immigrants. The early neighborhood was found to have been populated by a high frequency of educated African American professionals within the decades immediately following Emancipation.

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