Wednesday, April 27, 2016

795. It's Been An Interesting Day on the GOP Side

It's been an interesting day on the GOP side. Mr. Trump gave a "foreign policy" speech mostly about Hillary Clinton. He also offered an olive branch of sorts to Muslims - he wants to be their friend now that he's going to be the nominee as opposed to banning them from Ellis Island and other points of entry to the Republic. And he didn't mention "The Wall" down there along the Mexican border he’s been proposing to build for most of the Primary season. Suddenly he is "presidential." He didn't say much else either other than "we're going to be great." No real specifics, just regular Donald stuff. Then Ted the Canadian chose Mrs. Carly Fiorina, HP and Compaq’s destroyer-in-chief, as his running mate, the sort of Hail Mary pass Ronald Reagan, the conservative icon, threw ahead of the 1976 GOP convention, naming liberal Pennsylvania senator Richard Schweiker as his running mate in the hopes of salvation at the 11th hour. It probably lost him the convention as conservatives, particularly from the South, then switched to the far more moderate incumbent Gerald Ford who up to that point had been struggling. Ford locked up the nomination but lost the election. Finally, did I mention Governor Matt Bevin, the alleged Tea Partier who lives in a nice mansion on Louisville’s east side, is on a taxpayer-funded junket to Europe? Life is otherwise okay.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

794. Where is Crittenden Drive?

Mt friend Michael and I took a drive out to South Louisville this afternoon to enjoy the traditional Green River Style fish dinner at the Suburban Lodge on the corner of S. Third Street and W. Collins Court.  Our after dinner drive turned into an impromptu tour of the neighborhoods and streets - old, new, and gone - of the area.

We progressed out of the Suburban parking lot, itself a new location prompted by the extension of Central Avenue east of 2nd Street up and over the L&N yards over to Crittenden Drive, thereby connecting Freedom Hall with Churchill Downs.

Our first neighborhood was that of Wilder Park.  We were in fact on what was at one time called Wilder Parkway but now goes by the more mundane S. 2nd Street. We followed through the area passing the Wilder Park Park, renamed for Huston Quin, a one term judge on the Kentucky Court of Appeals and later, from 1921-1925, a Republican mayor of the old City of Louisville.

Cutting over to the east a few blocks we ended up on the western edition of Louisville Avenue, the only one which is left.  There was also at one time an eastern edition of Louisville Avenue with the L&N Railroad running down the middle.  One point of the drive was to point out to Michael, who was born just over 27 years years ago, where Highland Park was, since it isn't there anymore.

I had mentioned Highland Park while we were eating as the only real competition Suburban has for its style of fish is served up at the Highland Park Lodge which at one time was on the eastern Louisville Avenue in what was at one time Highland Park.  The Highland Park Lodge has since relocated to the former Okolona Post Office building on a street called Pinecroft Drive but what originally known as Lambert Road.  But, I digress.

Tracking down the two Louisville Avenues led us to the multiple Crittenden Drives in the area.  I have complained now and then over the last twenty-five years about the name-identification problems in this area to the various Public Works directors and offered solutions but to no avail.  As all of this area was new to Michael, he clearly saw the problems.

At the intersection of Crittenden Drive and the cross-street just north of the Watterson, the sign to the west identifying the cross-street said Park Boulevard while the sign to the east said Phillips Lane.   I told him neither sign was correct.  It should or could read Seneca Avenue or maybe Ashton Avenue to the east.  It should not read Phillips Lane.  It is hard to say what it should read to the west.  Park Boulevard is and has been for a century about two blocks west of Crittenden Drive, back when Crittenden Drive was known as Ashbottom Road.  S. Floyd Street turns into Park Boulevard where the old Highland Park city limits used to begin just north of the Dakota Street right-of-way.

All of the east-west streets, like Dakota and Seneca, were named for the Native American tribes which once owned and occupied the North American continent before the illegal immigration of white Europeans.  Oh, wait.  This isn't a political post.  It is a geography post.

At the intersection of this newly built and misnamed east-west street which the city has labelled as Park Boulevard and the other Park Boulevard, there is a sign indicating the continuation of this new road to the west and south along the L&N is called Crittenden Drive, this despite the fact there is another Crittenden Drive, the original one, the one formerly called Ashbottom Road, two blocks to the east.  There is, in fact, a U. S. Post Office, at 4440 Crittenden Drive on that original roadway.  Oh well.

We followed the new roadway, the new Crittenden Drive, alongside the railroad, to its intersection with a somewhat reconfigured but still recognizable Woodlawn Overpass.  This is the overpass we long remember as starting out on (that old) Crittenden Drive as Nevada Avenue and ending up on the South Louisville side as Woodlawn Avenue.  We've always had fun with names changing like that.  Anyway, we followed this new Crittenden Drive which eventually rejoined the old one out past the FedEx plant where once stood International Harvester (1945-1985) and before that, the Curtiss-Wright Airplane shops (1942-1945).  But that Crittenden Drive comes to a dead end somewhere around the old city limits line of the old City of Highland Park which was also, later, the old city limits line of the old City of Louisville.  It was at one time Eagan Avenue but in the 1980s was changed to MacLean Avenue.

We circled back up to the Woodlawn Overpass in what I described to Michael would be a double-loop, crossing over to Allmond Avenue and the Iroquois Station Post Office, which houses the Zip Codes 40209, 40214, and 40215.  Allmond circles around and ends at Strawberry Lane, the southern appellation of the western edition of Louisville Avenue.  About two blocks south of where MacLean Avenue once crossed over the tracks, a new bridge has been built, largely at the urging and with the funding direction of long time Alderman and Councilman Dan Johnson.  This is the Crittenden Drive Connector which leads to a new street entirely, "South Crittenden Drive," a street which wasn't there when I was in high school.

I'll be honest - I cannot tell what was where back in the day.  It looks to be about where the old Kroger Distribution Center was next to the old GES Department Store, in the curve south of the airport, where the original "new" Crittenden Drive broke off from Ashbottom Road and made its way around the old "bottom" of Standiford Field, back before the great Airport Expansion Project which began in the 1980s.

This new road hugs the railroad and the spur lines which feed the Ford Motor Company and extend eastward to General Electric, although they are rarely used east of the Ford plant.  The new "South" Crittenden Drive joins Grade Lane about two blocks south of where the older "new" Crittenden Drive once did prior to 1985.

In our short drive, we were on three different "new" Crittenden Drives, plus the Crittenden Drive Connector.  While Highland Park is gone and Park Boulevard seems a little misguided, and Seneca Avenue and Ashton Avenue are out of place, Crittenden Drive is alive and well in several different and unconnected places.

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.