Friday, September 2, 2011

Hidden Location #19 revealed - Minor Lane Heights

In Hidden Location #19, we had two pictures of streets which intersect. The sign above still stands at the intersection, though little else remains.

As some of you know, I also post these blog entries over on Facebook. Unfortunately, more people respond over there than over here. I wish that weren't the case but it is. Over there, the first respondent was my friend Jason Hope. He misidentified the first street for the second one. He correctly identified the missing houses as being due to the airport's expansion process which began the year before Jason was born.

The two pictures are of Donna Boulevard above and Minor's Lane below. I grew up not far from this intersection which at one time boasted a gas station, a Convenient Food Mart and, across the street, a Wesleyan Cumberland church congregation. All gone.

Donna Boulevard was the main street of a subdivision and later incorporated city known as Minor Lane Heights, located off Minor's Lane in southern Jefferson County, about halfway between Okolona and Fairdale. Minor Lane Heights was originally incorporated to avoid annexation into the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District, choosing instead to receive its sewer services from the former Okolona Sewer Construction District, which at one time had its facilities just north of the small city. That sewer district was eventually taken over by MSD. The municipality's location led to its eventual demise - or sort of demise.

As mentioned earlier, the Regional Airport Authority (RAA) began expansion of Louisville's Standiford Field in the mid 1980s. Building a double north-south runway greatly increased the noise concentrations over large parts of Jefferson County. Minor Lane Heights sat a little over two miles due south of the airport and in the direct line of the new flight paths.

In 1995, the RAA received permission to purchase the entirety of the city, 552 households, as well as the adjoining city of South Park View. They have eventually acquired nearly all the property between I-65, the L&N, Southern Ditch, and South Park Road. (Mayor Fischer calls this area a renaissance zone). The approach for the purchase of the entire city took a weird turn in 1999 when plans were approved to move the city, en toto, to a new location about ten miles to the east of its then-site. Cities had been moved in the past due to dam construction and flooding, places like Eddyville, Kentucky and English, Indiana. The RAA proposed to rebuild the subdivision and reincorporate the city in a similar semi-suburban/rural setting along Cedar Creek Road southeast of McNeely Lake Park.

The process is ongoing but very near completion. The city was renamed from Minor Lane Heights to Heritage Creek. The entire city moved. The process is now cited as a model for the future relocation of similarly situated municipalities.

The lower photo in the picture is of Minor's Lane, looking northward toward Outer Loop. The driveways off to the left were for the former gas station and food mart. The few properties remaining in the area not owned by the RAA are two mobile home parks and about 25 scattered homesites.

Two other proposed subdivisions in the area were never built because of the airport plans, one on South Park Road just east of the former city of South Park View, and the other, proposed by David Dulworth, who built the nearby Silver Heights subdivision off Blue Lick Road, to be called Four Diamonds, in the acreage on the east side of Minor's Lane, just north of the old Pape's Hardware property, which has never been purchased by the RAA. In the South Park Road site, streets were constructed, sewer lines dug, and electric lines strung, and two homes were begun, but it was all closed down shortly after it began.

Minor's Lane, the street in the lower photo and named for the Okolona pioneer family of Spence Minor, was at one time a part of the road between Okolona and Fairdale, beginning in Okolona where the current Minors Lane (or Minor Lane as it is called by Metro government) intersects with Preston Highway. The road made a series of 90 degrees curves first south (past Evangel Tabernacle), then west (now a part of the I-65/Outer Loop interchange), then south again (along the Minor's Lane in our picture), the west again (toward Fairdale) joining what is now called South Park Road at Locust Grove, an old watering hole. Other former businesses on that corner were the aforementioned Pape's Hardware, French's Produce (still operating but now located in the southern Bullitt County community of Bardstown Junction), and a DX service station. (As a note, our young Mr. Hope who got as close as anyone in identifying this location has grandparents living a little west of this intersection which may explain his familiarity with the pictures). South Park Road, the called Deposit Station Road, was evenutally completed from this corner west over to Blue Lick Road and even later from Blue Lick over to Preston Highway, making the Okolona/Fairdale journey just a little straighter.

Having grown up in the area it is weird to drive through there which I do most every Sunday when visiting my mother. As a kid, I watched the area grow up, be built, add sidewalks, add churches, an elementary school, several business, and about 2000 residents. Two different precincts voted at Minors Lane Elementary which opened in 1968 (and somehow remains so). None do now - one votes at Coral Ridge Elementary, and the other over in Okolona at a union hall. It is a ghost town and drive, all gone. The streets and sidewalks remain as do some of the electric lines, but nothing more.

RIP Minor Lane Heights (and South Park View). Congratulations to Jason Hope for his answers.

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The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.