NOW (Photo Courtesy Louisville Center for the Arts)

Historic building hosts a variety of programs

By Lisa Truesdale

If buildings could talk, the gorgeous, historic one at 801 Grant St. in Louisville would surely have some fascinating stories to tell. Built in 1894, it will always be known as “the little brick schoolhouse” to longtime residents; it was originally a two-room school for first- and second-graders, mostly from coal-mining families that had flocked to the area. Since the 1990s, it has served as the Louisville Center for the Arts, which hosts a variety of performing and visual arts programs year-round.

THEN (photo courtesy Louisville Historical Museum)

In between its uses as a school and as LCA, the building was home to the Chinook Public Library (1940s); a recreational hall supervised by the Lions Club (1950s); a community building (1970s); and the senior center (1980s). It has seen its cupola removed (1955) and replaced with a replica (2004). It was painted white (1940s)—“to the regret of many” who attended the school, according to local historians—and sandblasted back to the original brick (1973). In 2005, it was officially placed on the Louisville Register of Historic Places.

“Louisville is lucky to have this charming, intimate setting for experiencing the arts up close,” says Jennifer Strand, chair of the Louisville Cultural Council. “You can’t often get this close to music and the performers, but at LCA you can. Performers of high caliber play here because they, too, enjoy the experience, and because of the relationships they’ve developed with our audience.”

With all the performances and other events held at LCA each year (at right), it’s no mystery why the building is so beloved. There’s one mystery, though, according to Bridget Bacon, coordinator of the Louisville Historical Museum. Despite years of research, no one knows the answer to this question: “What happened to the bell that was in the original bell tower?”

Fall Performance Schedule

Check the Arts & Events calendar at for times and ticket information.

NOW (Photo Courtesy Louisville Center for the Arts)


Sept. 1-10 Louisville Art Association National Fine Arts Show
Sept. 17 Guitarist Alfredo Muro (with James Bailey)
Sept. 23 Louisville Sings: A Night of Vocal Jazz
Sept. 27 Pluto lecture by Fran Bagenal
Sept. 28 Stories on Stage
Sept. 30 Motus Theatre
Oct. 6 On the Same Page: Sarah Coit, mezzo-soprano
Oct. 8 Altius Quartet
Oct. 20-Nov. 4 Coal Creek Theatre: “The Elephant Man”
Nov. 8 Mars lecture by Leonard David
Nov. 11 Silent movie
Nov. 12 The Boulder Chorale

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