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The history of West Louisville's Shotgun Homes

Driving through the West End, shotgun homes are everywhere and some would even call them a signeture architecture style of the neighborhood. But these historic homes have an oddly unique history.



Shotgun homes are one of the most common style of homes in the West End, and it’s easy to see why; they’re compact for density, can be doubled up or one story, & have a multitude Of different looks, variations, and styles. So let’s take a look at the history of these magnificent homes.



Many of West Louisville‘s shotgun homes were constructed after the civil war between 1890 & 1915. Louisville actually has the largest amount of surviving shotgun homes in the nation; even more than New Orleans!


Many of Louisville’s older neighborhoods such as Germantown, Portland, Butchertown, Russel and more are littered with shotgun homes among various other historic southern architecture styles.


The primary reason for their construction was density. Early American cities were dense, often with thin, long property lots. Shotgun homes definitely provided this. Their ability to pack lots of households into fewer lots allows for more people to live in a given space. Not to mention shotgun homes can be doubled or tripled up to two or three story, forming duplexes and triplexes allowing for even more density! Unfortunately however, many shotgun homes in West Louisville were demolished for 'Urban Renewal'; where poorer areas of cities were seen as urban blight and were removed from urban centers.


Shotgun homes are definitely one of Louisville’s defining characteristics and many city dwellers are in support of building more of these homes instead of suburban style housing. One thing definitely stands through, West Louisville wouldn’t be West Louisville without its signature shotgun homes.




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