Portland History

Portland is a neighborhood situated along a bend of the Ohio River just below the Falls of the Ohio, where the river curves to the north and then to the south, thus placing Portland at the northern tip of urban Louisville. 

In the 1800’s the French settled on Shippingport Island, but they had a church in Portland before it was considered a town, Our Lady Church (Notre Dame du Port), which still stands. 

Founded in 1811 by General William Lytle when he purchased 3,000 acres of land, Portland was once a separate little town adjacent to downtown Louisville. It was annexed by Louisville in the 1850’s. In the early days it was connected to Louisville by stage coach and the first Louisville trolley car Line.

People traveling on the boats from the western and southern United States had to stop and go around the Falls of The Ohio to continue east, and the same process had to occur when travelers from the east wanted to go west or south. All products moved on the river had to go around the Falls. Portland therefore became a port for people to stop and board overland transportation to arrive at the Louisville Wharf or to arrive in Portland from Louisville to board water transportation. Portland became a very populated town. Businesses were established in order to meet the needs of the rest of the United States.

Many wealthy families and boat Captains settled in the neighborhood as well as German and Irish immigrants. Many of their homes are still standing to this day.,

Portland flourished as a working class community through the 1930s, with residents working in many of the nearby factories. The largest Ohio River flood in recorded history occurred in 1937 and submerged all of Portland, with areas closest to the river almost totally wiped out. Plans began immediately to protect the area with a flood wall, but the start of World War II delayed the construction. The in 1945 the second largest flood in Louisville’s history occurred. In its aftermath all areas of Portland nearest to the river were razed, including the Portland Wharf, and a gigantic flood wall was built to a height three feet above the level of the 1937 flood. Both floods drove many middle-class families from the area. Although large areas of the neighborhood were destroyed, there are still a large number of pre-Civil War buildings still standing today. Like Old Louisville, Portland has historic mansions but the majority of homes built in the area were shotgun houses.

In 1996 Louisville’s first bike trail was opened along Portland’s waterfront. The seven mile long River Walk has since been extending 20 miles to the Farnsley Morman Landing near Valley Station. The River Walk also links Portland directly to Downtown Louisville and Shawnee Park.

Today there is a major focus on revitalizing the Portland neighborhood. Real estate developers are buying old buildings to renovate. Artists, galleries and trendy restaurants are moving into the neighborhood.

There are also plans for the creation of several large parks along the Portland Waterfront. When complete, the Portland Wharf Park will look similar in appearance to Downtown Louisville’s Waterfront Park.

FairSquare House Buyers – Why we buy houses in Portland

The Portland neighborhood is rich in character. It is currently undergoing major development. You will find dumpsters and work crews on every block working hard to re-energize this are of Louisville, KY.

We are actively buying houses and apartment buildings in the Portland neighborhood of Louisville, KY. Here are some update posts on a couple of projects we are working on today. If you have questions about where we buy houses, or if you want to get a fair offer on your house or apartment building, please contact us.

The Rowan Ave. Apartment Building Project

The Portland Ave. House Renovation Project

Real Estate Statistics for Portland

Median Home Value: $45,760

Median Rent: $655

Median Household Income: $23,764

Population: 10,683

Rent vs. Own:

Portland Neighborhood Louisville, Kentucky Rent vs. Own

Top Public Schools serving Portland

*Data Sourced from Niche.com. Please click here for information on all the data sources used by Niche.com.

For additional statistics on the Portland neighborhood, please review the Portland Neighborhood Profile created by the Kentucky Data Center in partnership with the University of Louisville and Metro United Way.

Portland Neighborhood Louisville, KY Land Use

*Data Sourced from: Kentucky State Data Center