Archive for Historic Old Louisville

Summer Camps Flourish in Louisville

Planning things to do for and with the kids this summer? Why not try something new, you know how easily bored they are, especially the teen-agers. Load the family in the car and take off for a 4-day theater experience they won’t soon forget.  The Conrad Caldwell House in Old Louisville is hosting a 4-day “Mystery At The Mansion Camp”  for teens this summer.  Make reservations at a near-by Bed and Breakfast for wonderful accommodations, including breakfast each day, and enjoy the experience with them.  So much fun for all!

Mystery at the Mansion camp
June 23-27 2014 9:00 am-12:30 pm (for 7th-12th graders)
At the Conrad-Caldwell House in Old Louisville
“Perform a classic whodunit mystery in an actual mansion. Come create a murder with us!”

SUMMER CAMPS“Time is running out to sign your kids up for this years Mystery at the Mansion camp by Drama by George! A great time was had by all last year- so don’t miss out on the fun! Save some too when you use the discount code: summer20camp.” (excerpted from conrad Caldwell ad). Register here

All-New Mystery for 2014! Heiress Danielle Harcourt has it all: Brains, beauty,and rich parents. But her good fortune comes with a price- namely, murder. During this unique camp you’ll rehearse and perform a classic “whodunit” mystery in an actual mansion. Come solve a murder with us!

Mystery at the Mansion is only one of the exciting summer camps planned for this year by Drama By George, an organization, originated and run bt George Halitzka, a dedicated director, playwright, and teacher. His organization of teachers, actors, work with kids of all ages, specializing and utilizing the following to create the potential for character transformation through our relationships, workshops, and performances.

“Their programs, such as after-school drama clubs, don’t just teach theatre–they also strive to instill character values like self-confidence, teamwork, and self-discipline. Many of our plays focus on additional character themes such as bullying prevention, responsibility, friendship, and compassion.” (excerpt from article on Drama By George website.)

Performance-tested scripts perfect for theatres, schools, and churches.
Drama Workshops for Schools: All of our workshops incorporate KY and IN standards in the Arts and Humanities.
Dramatic assembly programs for schools, featuring costumed superheroes
Opportunities to: Perform in a play, make a movie, learn comedy improv, or create a murder mystery.

Check out the various camps available for kids and teens this summer during the months of June and July

Nancy Hinchliff, Writer/Innkeeper

A Ghostly Halloween in Old Louisville, Kentucky

You don’t have to stay home to celebrate Halloween. Locals or visitors within a couple of hours of Louisville, Kentucky can pack the kids in the car and drive over to Old Louisville, the third largest historic preservation area in the country. Once there, they will find plenty of treats at most every door as they go trick or treating in the spookiest neighborhood in the US. And, be assured, there will be plenty of ghosts lurking in the shadows.

Ghostly HalloweenIf you venture out on Halloween night, you’re liable to see ghosts peering from the silent gardens and leaning against many of the old iron gates. It is said that they sob from the windows of the Victorian mansions, crouch behind the bushes growing along the walkways, and sit on the steps of the Christian Science Church on the corner of Third and Ormsby. The tree-lined streets dotted with turn-of-the-century mansions are covered with gargoyles, chameleons, serpents, swans, turrets, and towers.

Bring your trick or treat carryalls. Knock on the huge antique doors lit by Victorian lanterns and punctuated with beautiful stain glass. Walk quickly past the hidden balconies, secluded courtyards, and secret passageways to avoid any unruly spirits. You wont regret it and the kids will love it. Thrills and chills await costume wearers of all ages.

If you decide to spend the night, there are ten beautiful bed and breakfasts to choose from, all situated in the heart of Old Louisville. You can book on the internet or call ahead to make a reservation. It’s an ideal location for taking advantage of all Louisville has to offer on Halloween. If it suits you or your family, you can spend the whole day and check out some of the activities available. Louisville loves Halloween and you will love Louisville.

Nancy Hinchliff, freelance writer/innkeeper

Call and reserve a Ghost tour (Tour the spookiest neighborhood in the USA)

The Spirit Ball/ (a gathering of spirits at the Conrad Caldwell Mansion)

Summer in Old Louisville: Shakespeare in The Park

by Nancy Hinchliff, innkeeper and freelance writer

If you’re contemplating visiting historic Louisville, KY next week and looking for something to do, you might consider an outdoor festival or play. Louisville has plenty of both, and many of them are free, including movies, live theater and concerts.

A special treat is William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, which will be running today and all next week during Louisville Kentucky’s Shakespeare in The Park festival. Performances are held in historic Old Louisville’s Central Park bordered by Fourth Street, Park Avenue, Sixth Street and Magnolia. They will be ongoing until July 29 each evening at 8:30 p.m., pre-show at 7:30 p.m.

Shakespeare in the Park is the oldest free Shakespeare festival in the United States. Each summer, in Louisville’s Central Park, Kentucky Shakespeare, the non-profit behind the festival, stages the work of the Bard of Avon.

This year, which marks the 53rd year for this annual festival, Shakespeare in the Park presents Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Jane Page. Interested in learning more about the play? Here is a plot summary. Performances take place daily, July 12-29, at 8:30 p.m. Pre-show entertainment starts at 7:30 p.m.

Central Park is historic itself—the park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the man who designed New York City’s Central Park. The Shakespeare in the Park performances are free and open to the public, making the event ideal for a family picnic. Or sit on the benches for a grown-up date night. If you prefer VIP seating—two reserved Adirondack chairs in the front rows, frozen drinks and wait service for snacks and beverages—contact Kentucky Shakespeare and reserve your spots.

If you go, be sure to check out Louisville’s wonderful bed and breakfasts. Many are close to Central Park, as well as in other beautiful parts of the city. You can check availability here.

St James Court Art Show this week-end

The St. James Court Art Show ® is a juried fine arts and fine crafts show. Always held the first full weekend of october,

it is produced by a consortium of five non-profit neighborhood associations and one church — St. James Court, Belgravia Court, South 3rd Street, 1300 South Third Street, South Fourth Street — and the West End Baptist Church

St James Court Art Show Old Louisville, KY It hosts an impressive 750 artists from North America. Held in the heart of historic Old Louisville among the country’s largest collection of Victorian homes, the St. James Court Art Show® has for over five decades provided our neighborhood, city and state with a rich cultural and artistic legacy.”This Art Show is one of the largest art shows in the country. Booths and tents span over blocks and blocks of Old Louisville, displaying every kind of art object and craft imaginable. Our Inn will be filled with artists, two of whom are jewelry makers who have been returning to stay with us for the past five years.Centered on the picturesque fountain, the court was envisioned as a haven for turn-of-the-century upper class and was completely occupied by 1905. Slaughter set up deed restrictions to ensure that all houses on the court were constructed of either brick or stone. From its start, court residents established a homeowner’s association, one of the oldest in the country. Described as the epitome of Victorian eclecticism, the neighborhood included homes in such styles as Venetian, Colonial, Gothic and others. The Conrad Caldwell House on the northwest corner of St. James Court prominently features the turrets, towers and bay windows associated with the Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style. Through the years the court has been home to several city officials, judges, doctors, writers, poets, and business leaders. St. James Court residents are proud of the unique history and friendliness the neighborhood offers. When strolling through the tree-fringed court, you too will experience a vibrancy and vitality that no suburban neighborhood can match.

Rain or shine, the St James Court Art Show™ is free and open to the general public. To ensure everyone’s experience remains safe and enjoyable, all attendees must adhere to the art show’s rules and safety guidelines.

Respect Your Fellow Art Show Patron

  • Pets are not permitted (only service animals with identification are allowed at the show)
  • Bicycles, skateboards, and rollerblades are not permitted
  • Musical instruments or other audible music devices are not permitted
  • Solicitation is not permitted
  • Inappropriate or unsafe activity will result in removal from the event premises
  • Political candidates are asked to keep their “hawking” to a minimum

First Aid and Security at the Art Show

First Aid: An Advanced Life Support team is located at the corner of 4th and Magnolia Streets. Additionally, Basic Life Support teams will be in the north lane of Hill Street (handicapped parking lane) and at Third Street. An emergency transport vehicle will be on site with each team at all times during the art show.
Security: Uniformed security officers are present throughout the art show event area. Additionally, Fourth Division Police station in located in Central Park. Any unsafe or illegal activity should be immediately reported to a uniformed security officer and the he St. James Court Art Show® Headquarters. In the case of an emergency, 911 service is also available.
Lost and Found: Lost and Found is located at the St. James Court Art Show® Headquarters in Haskins Hall at the Conrad Caldwell House on the corner or St. James Court & Magnolia. (information from
St. James Court Art Show ® was voted best art show in the nation in an annual survey of artists by the trade journal Sunshine Artist in 2003, 2004 and 2006.
By Nancy Hinchliff, Innkeeper/freelance writer

Fantastic Fall Foliage, Spooky Neighborhoods, and Halloween

by Nancy Hinchliff, Innkeeper/freelance writer

Fall Foliage

Fall is a great time to jump in the car with the kids and head for our beautiful state. October is the most colorful month

turning leaves in Kentucky

of the year in Kentucky. The state parks are either at peak color or soon will be. Although the Oak trees are still green, a variety of trees, from Dogwood to Sourwood and Blackgum to Maples and Hickories, among others, are in full color. Trees are showing off their glorious reds, yellows and oranges all along the countryside. And hopefully there will be some color throughout the remainder of the month.

Old Louisville

Plenty of ghosts

It has been said that Old Louisville is one of the spookiest neighborhoods in the country. Why? Because, according to legend, there are ghosts on every block peering from many of the gardens and leaning against the mansion gates. They sit on the steps of the Christian Science Church and sob each night from the windows of the houses down the street. Seems as though they’re everywhere.

Old Louisville has beautiful tree-lined streets with turn of the century mansions built in seven major kinds of architecture. They are decorated with gargoyles, chameleons, serpents, swans, turrets, and towers and enhanced with a variety of wrought-iron fences, hand-carved doors, and stained-glass windows.

Ghost stories galore

There are also hidden balconies, secluded courtyards, and secret passageways. All of this dark and spooky ornamentation sets the scene for our ghostly reputation. I keep thinking there must be some explanation for all these creepy decorations … some reason why they’re here … and why so many of them? It certainly is something to ponder. The many ghost legends and the historical accouterments make Old Louisville one of the most interesting areas in Kentucky.

The Spirit Ball

The Spirit Ball, a wonderful Masquerade Ball in Old Louisville, will be held on Saturday, October 30, 2010 from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. This will be the fifth annual Spirit Ball and will be held in one of Louisville’s most opulent Victorian mansions, a 1890s masterpiece known as the Conrad-Caldwell House. Gourmet fare and expertly mixed cocktails amidst the backdrop of costumed splendor will be served. Join us and keep the past alive as you enjoy a one-of-a-kind masquerade ball that is sure to be the highlight of your Hallowe’en season for years to come. Tickets are available online now

A magnificent Richardsonian Mansion on St. James Court, it is the finest example of this architectural style in the city.

ghostly Conrad Caldwell house in Old Louisville

Also known as “Conrad’s Castle,” this is one of the most stunning of Old Louisville’s houses and defines Richardsonian Romanesque architecture.


You don’t have to stay home to celebrate Hallowe’en. Bring the kids, stay in Old Louisville, and go trick or treating in the spookiest neighborhood in the US.

Hallowe’en, “celebrated each year on October 31, is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity and life and death, Hallowe’en is a time of celebration and superstition. Hallowe’en has long been thought of as a day when the dead can return to the earth, and ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts.” … “The more secular community-based Hallowe’en has become a children’s holiday. Although the superstitions and beliefs surrounding the holiday may have evolved over the years, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people can still look forward to parades, costumes and sweet treats to usher in the winter season.”

The American Hallowe’en tradition of “trick-or-treating” probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as “going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.

celebrating haloweenl

The tradition of dressing in costume for Hallowe’en has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Hallowe’en, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Hallowe’en, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

Other Attractions

October is a great time to visit one or two of the wineries and distilleries for samples of superb Kentucky wine and Bourbon, and makes a great day trip from Louisville. A drive down the Bluegrass Parkway to the horse farms or a trip down a country road to the Huber Farms, just across the bridge in Indiana, for fresh apple cider makes an enjoyable fun day of fall fun for the whole family. There are also plenty of Fall festivals and outdoor concerts going on.


The Louisville Bed and Breakfast Association has twenty member bed and breakfasts. Their Inns are beautiful, comfortable, and clean. Rates vary according to room sizes and amenities. All of them serve wonderful breakfasts each morning and will be happy to accommodate your dietary needs.

If you decide to visit, be sure to book a Ghost Tour with the Old Louisville Visitor’s Center.

Summer is a great time to visit Louisville, Kentucky

Summer is a great time to visit Louisville! There are many activities, festivals, concerts and all sorts of fun things to do, both during the week and on weekends, as well.

July Events:

The Kentucky Shakespeare Festival ( performs classics from the Bard in Central Park in Historic Old Louisville ( This year is the 50th Season of Summer Shakespeare in the Park! It is now the longest running Shakespeare Festival of its kind in North America. The season started on June 16th with “The Tempest” and the final performance was July 18th with “Twelfth Night” at 10:00 AM. Admission is free and donations are accepted. Kentucky Shakespeare is committed to the fundamental belief that the arts are for everyone, and to their “Free Will” campaign, which allows them to bring the summer season of professional theatre to the public free of charge through the generous support of their funders, donors and community. The works of Shakespeare are used to enrich our community through accessible, professional, theatre experiences that educate, inspire and entertain people of all ages.

Another wonderful “Period” festival is the Annual Jane Austen Festival at Historic Locust Grove ( Inside the Visitor’s Center, a Regency Emporium features booths with beautiful silk shawls, fabric, bonnets, jewelry, and antiquarian books. You can even have your silhouette cut! There is also a fantastic silent auction with Jane Austen books, movie memorabilia and tea-themed baskets and much more. Fans from all over the country came for this event wearing period costumes and you feel as if you accidentally stepped in a period movie. This year’s featured author is Kim Wilson, member of the Jane Austen Society in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her works include, “In the Garden with Jane Austen” and “Tea with Jane Austen”. There are more talks and demonstrations to attend and the ever-popular Regency Style Show.

The Second Street Neighborhood Association presents The Annual Old Louisville “Hidden Treasures” Garden Tour ( This walking tour features ten gardens in the center of the Old Louisville Historic Preservation District – the largest residential Victorian neighborhood in the United States. “Outdoor rooms are the focus of this year’s tour,” said Judy Payne, the event chairperson. “The homes selected on Third and Fourth Street feature terrific outdoor living spaces in the garden.” Highlights this year include examples of an outdoor entertaining area and a variety of water features and sculptures. Several of the gardens were designed by master gardeners and represent a full spectrum of time on a master garden plan – from a first-year garden to more mature gardens. With the support and backing of the Second Street Neighborhood Association, as well as sponsors and volunteers, the Annual “Hidden Treasures” Garden Tour has become a successful Old Louisville summertime tradition.

Anytime you squeeze more than 100 bands and more than 20,000 people together over the course of a three-day festival, you can rightly expect a bit of excitement! The wildly popular 2010 Forecastle Music, Arts and Activism Festival made a spectacular debut in its new venue on the Ohio River at Waterfront Park. Judging by the happy crowds, it seems to have found its ideal home. While the festival has had its moments in the past, there has been nothing to match the feeling of standing in front of a stage listening to a band from Scotland while the last remnants of a pink Kentucky sunset fade behind the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge. It felt like being at home and an event all at once… the best of both worlds!

The festival has never enjoyed a better layout. The West Stage, the big one, was the main event. There are two other stages and you can wear yourself out hopping from one band to another. Along the perimeter of the new venue were setups for food, beer, art, eco-warriors and even a circus. With the Ohio River as a backdrop, the aesthetics were ideal!

The Louisville Blues and Barbeque Festival ( at the Water Tower on Zorn Avenue celebrates its 12th year in July 2010. You can sink your teeth into some fabulous barbeque and then wet your whistle with some smoking hot blues!

Late July and August Events:

The legendary Churchill Downs ( will be the home for the first ever HullabaLou Music Festival ( Over 65 bands will perform on five different stages on July 23rd, 24th and 25th. Acts include Dave Matthews Band, Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney, Steve Miller Bank, Jason Aldean, Al Green, Zac Brown Band and The Avett Brothers, Gladys Knight, Loretta Lynn, War, The Doobie Brothers and many, many others.

Churchill Downs continues to host events between the spring and fall meets with Fork, Cork & Style, a first-ever event on Sunday, September 12 from 1:00PM – 10:00PM. Bringing to life its theme of “Fork, Cork & Style”, the festival will present signature foods from around the country, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, a wine tasting featuring 150 elite brands and innovative ways to dress up your next tailgating party. Emeril Lagasse is one of the celebrities who will kick off the event. The cost is $60 for general admission for both the food and wine events. For more information, visit

And the music goes on all summer long at Fourth Street Live! ( with their Free Summer Concert Series from June to September! There are free shows for all ages before 9:00PM. A legal guardian must accompany patrons under 18. After 9:00PM, patrons must be at least 21 years of age. Visit ( for a full concert series schedule. Free parking after 6:00PM at the Fourth Street Live! Garage, located on 5th Street.

Louisville enjoys all major performing arts such as ballet, opera, theater and, this month, we will be enjoying Jersey Boys at the Kentucky Center of the Performing Arts (

Jersey Boys” is a documentary-style musical based on the lives of one of the most successful 1960s rock’roll groups – The Four Seasons ( The musical opened on Broadway to rave reviews in 2005. It has since had a national North American tour, along with productions in the West End, Toronto, and Melbourne. “Jersey Boys” won four 2006 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Actor (John Lloyd Young), Best Featured Actor (Christian Hoff), and Best Lighting Design (Howell Binkley).

Louisville is also home to The Louisville Palace Theater (, a national treasure of Spanish-baroque architecture. From July 16th through August 28th, they will be presenting the world acclaimed “Hitchcock – The Movie Series” every Friday and Saturday evening at 8:00PM. There is a 2:00PM matinee on Saturday. All movie admissions are $5.00. For more information, contact the Louisville Palace box office at 625 S. Fourth Street by calling 502-583-4555 or visit their website.

To give our readers a bit of history of this remarkable building, The Louisville Palace is a theatre, in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, located in the city’s so-called theater district, on the east side of Fourth Street, between Broadway and Chestnut Street. It has a seating capacity of 2,700 people. This historic landmark opened at 10:15AM on Saturday, September 1, 1928 at a purported cost of over two million dollars–a whole lot of money in those days! It was designed by architect John Eberson. Although the building’s outside facade is dynamic in appearance, it doesn’t provide a clue as to the immensity and spectacular design of the interior of the theatre. Upon entering the lobby and grand foyer, the Spanish-baroque motif begins its development. Cobalt blue, bursts of red and gold indirectly light all of the niches, coves and entrances. In the waiting area between the foyer and theatre itself, above is a curved, vaulted ceiling with 139 sculptures of the faces of historical figures – the eternal greats. In a central portion one finds plaster busts of Socrates, Beethoven, Dante and even John Eberson himself! The actual theater room inside The Palace is heavily ornamented and displays an imitation nighttime sky on the ceiling. In any direction, there is something magnificent to please the eye and spark the imagination. “Enter and view with astonishment the magnificence that the hand of man has wrought. The more you look, the more you will see.”—The Courier Journal September 1, 1928.

Today, the theatre features an array of popular movies, both old and new. It is also a special place to see a music performance, and many popular artists have graced its stage: Bob Dylan, Jewel, Hilary Duff, Queensrÿche, Godsmack, Jonas Brothers, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Aretha Franklin, Dame Edna, Tom Waits and many, many others.

And nothing says summer like a good state fair! The Kentucky State Fair ( is one of the largest in the region and all of the exhibits are in air-conditioned comfort at the Kentucky Exposition Center ( The fair runs from Thursday, August 19, 2010 – Sunday, August 29, 2010. Main stage concerts, for which there will be an additional charge, include Tim McGraw, Rascal Flats, Sugarland and Jeff Dunham. At the fair, you will find the latest in advances in agriculture, daily entertainment with free concerts, home-made product and produce showcases, commercial exhibits, and livestock of every imaginable species. There are also horse shows including the 4-H Horse Show, the Miniature Horse Show, the Quarter Horse Show and the most prestigious World’s Championship Horse Show of Saddlebreds. This exciting event, held annually in conjunction with the Kentucky State Fair, crowns world champion saddlebreds in different divisions. The show attracts people from all across the US and from around the world. More than 2,000 horses compete for over $1 million in awards.

You can find more information about this remarkable horse breed at Wikipia, The Free Encyclopedia at

Horse enthusiasts will also enjoy the following two events:

  • The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games ( will be held for the very first time outside Europe at the Kentucky Horse Park ( in Lexington, Kentucky, September 25th through October 10th. While in Kentucky, don’t miss the chance to visit Louisville – the state’s largest city!
  • The 2010 and 2011 Breeder’s Cup World Championships ( will be held again in Louisville, Kentucky at Churchill Downs ( on November 5th and 6th, 2010.

As if the above were not enough, there are yet more things to do while visiting Louisville:

  1. The Speed Art Museum ( showcases the work of Pop Art’s most famous artist, Andy Warhol, through October 31st.
  2. The Ironman Competition will be held on August 29, 2010 ( The Ford Ironman Louisville made its debut in 2007 and has quickly become one of North America’s most popular Ironman races. The 2.4 mile swim for Ford Ironman Louisville takes place in the Ohio River and the bike and run course goes through various areas of Louisville to include not only downtown, but also Prospect, Clifton, the city of LaGrange, Clarksville, Ind. and Butchertown. The race will also feature a spectacular finish at Fourth St. Live.
  3. 41st Annual Street Rod Nationals will once again return to Louisville in August. The Street Rod Nationals is the world’s largest Street Rod gathering. It is hosted, annually, by the NSRA (National Street Rod Association). Every year that it has been held in its current location in Louisville, the event has topped more than 10,000 cars. All of these cars are “Pre-49” (manufactured before the year 1949).
  4. The Louisville Bats ( continue the 2010 Season at Slugger Field. The Louisville Bats are the AAA minor league baseball affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.

Future Events:

  1. The St. James Court Art Show ( has happened every year for the last 54 years on the first weekend in October. This incredible show – the largest of it’s kind with 750 juried artists – will start Friday, October 1st and run until Sunday, October 3rd.
  2. The 34th Annual Old Louisville Holiday House Tour ( will take place December 4th and 5th.