With the Paristown Pointe project well underway, one notable aspect of the development that hasn’t received much attention is the reconstructed road that will run between the Paristown Hall performance venue and a reimagined Louisville Stoneware Co.
Construction workers are in the process of repaving Brent Street with bricks, making it the first new brick road in Louisville in at least the last century – or so believes Steve Smith, who is the managing partner in the $28 million Paristown Pointe development. The point is to revive a little Louisville history.
The Paristown neighborhood was established in 1854, adjacent to Beargrass Creek and just east of Broadway; Smith said research leads him to believe it was Louisville’s first designed subdivision, and the first brick streets likely were laid then. Louisville’s streets remained paved in brick for many years.
But over the generations, as concrete was developed and paving methods improved, most of the brick roads in Louisville were paved over. Smith’s interest in preserving the general history of the neighborhood, which once was a thriving area with many businesses and factories, is what led him to decide on using vitrified brick as part of Paristown Pointe.
The new Brent Street will not only be driveable in cars, but Paristown Pointe also has been zoned so that the street can be closed for special events, creating sort of a bricked common area.
“I think there’s something timeless about walking down a brick street,” Smith says.
But unlike brick streets of old, which were laid in sand, Paristown is utilizing a more modern method to ensure durability and smoothness. Many Louisvillians have driven on Peterson Avenue Hill, just off Lexington Road near Cherokee Park, which many refer to as “the bumpy street.”
That street was originally laid in sand at angles to help create traction for horses, due to the steep grade. Peterson Avenue Hill, one of the last visible brick streets in Louisville, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
The use of bricks in the Paristown Pointe project also pays homage to the rise of brick used in paving streets as well as building homes in the 1800s, Smith says. By 1875, Louisville had become a major brick manufacturer, with no fewer than eight brickyards producing a total of more than 15 million bricks annually.
The new road being laid on Brent Street will include approximately 120,000 bricks, Smith adds.
The new-look Brent Street will re-open in May, while Old Forester’s Paristown Hall, a music and events venue with indoor and outdoor spaces, is scheduled to open late this summer.
In addition, the Louisville Stoneware Company building will be renovated this fall and will include shops, a food hall and The Café, a staple of the neighborhood for several years. Phase one of the development is slated for completion by the end of 2019.