Landmark Designation Report (Click Here)
The association takes its name from the infirmary that once stood on the comer of Eastern Parkway and Preston Street. The sisters of Charity of Nazareth had operated the St. Joseph's Infirmary in downtown Louisville since the 1830's. In 1926, the infirmary was re-Iocated to what was part of the mid 19th century Samuel Churchill rural estate on Flat Lick Road-now Preston Highway. A modem 324-bed hospital was the largest health care facility in the region. A 200-bed wing, a nursing student dormitory and an all-purpose gymnasium-auditorium were added in later years. In 1927 on the back of the property in a grove a trees a lovely grotto for prayer and meditation was dedicated.
In 1970, the Sisters of Charity sold their now aging infirmary to what is now Humana Inc., once a local hospital chain. Ten years later the new owners closed St. Joseph's Infirmary, re-locating nearby on Poplar Level Road as Audubon Hospital. That hospital is now known as Norton Audubon Hospital.
The old hospital's main building was demolished and Humana proposed to donate most of the site as a public park. The park plan was dropped after St. Joseph's area residents opposed the idea on grounds that a vast public space would invite crime.
This is not what the neighborhood wanted. To have a bigger voice in the process they incorporated in 1979 as a neighborhood association and became a tighter knit community. After several years and many discussions with the city of Louisville, then Humana hospital and the University of Louisville an agreement was struck. After considering several options the University of Louisville leased the reminder of the old hospital site to Brown-Noltemeyer, a local real estate development company. The 224-unit University Park Apartments who gives priority to University of Louisville students, facility and staff was completed in 1986.
In the meantime, the area housing authority agreed to renovate the old hospital-nursing dormitory into Lourdes Hall, a senior citizens residence. Humana donated the rest of the site to the University of Louisville.
During this time period the Adath Israel Cemetery, also known as the Temple Cemetery, became a nationally recognized historic site. within the association. The cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Located at 2716 S. Preston Street, it is in the southeast portion of the association. Adath Israel is historically significant because of its architecture, design and religious significance. Most of the monuments were erected between 1875 and 1924
The association formed a group of residents in 2000 called the Grotto Grannies and Grandpa's to oversee the once neglected Grotto and Garden of Our Lady of Lourdes located at the Old St. Joseph Infirmary site. With much time and work on the Grotto and Garden they accomplished having the Grotto and Garden designated into a local and state historical landmark. The association has succeeded in having a Kentucky Historical Highway Marker erected at the comer of Preston Street and Eastern Parkway in honor of the St. Joseph infirmary and another Kentucky Historical Highway Marker to be erected in June 2005 in honor of the Grotto and Garden of Our Lady of Lourdes.