Downtown Diversions

Blue Boar Cafeteria architectural drawing, 1935

Blue Boar Cafeteria architectural drawing, 1935.

Louisvillians went downtown to experience the city’s best shopping, dining, and entertainment. People dressed in their finest and strolled along Fourth Street, where they spent hours perusing wares in the shops and department stores. The street was especially busy during the Christmas season. An assortment of restaurants, bakeries, and candy shops dispensed delicacies to the crowds.

The city also developed a thriving arts scene. Fourth Street, between Chestnut and Broadway, became known as the theater district. People went downtown to see stage performances, vaudeville and burlesque shows, and motion pictures. In the 1950s, new suburban cinemas lured crowds away from the old downtown venues. Of the many theaters that once lined Fourth, only the Palace remains in its original form. The old Kentucky Theater, repurposed as Marketplace Restaurant at Theater Square, and the storefront portion of the Ohio Theatre are other remnants of a once-thriving theater district.