Russell was one of Louisville’s earliest and most desirable neighborhoods. At the beginning of the twentieth century, it was a racially diverse area with a range of housing types from elegant mansions to shotgun cottages. After the the devastating Ohio River floods of 1937 and 1945, many of the white residents who had the financial means fled the neighborhood for higher ground away from the river.
By the 1940’s Russell was known as “Louisville’s Harlem” for its strong African American business presence along Walnut Street (today Muhammad Ali Boulevard). Theaters, restaurants, grocers, professional offices, and nightclubs thrived along this stretch. Notable Russell residents include Albert E. Meyzeek (1872-1963), an educator and civil rights activist who led the fight to open the first full-service library for African Americans in the country in the Russell neighborhood, and Lyman T. Johnson (1906-1997), who filed a successful federal lawsuit to become the first African American to gain admission to the University of Kentucky.
The Russell Neighborhood decline began after World War II and intensified during misguided urban renewal efforts in the 1960’s that demolished the commercial area along Walnut Street. Beecher Terrace was built in 1941 replacing seven traditional neighborhood blocks, including four along Walnut, with superblock-format public housing.
Today, the Russell neighborhood is 1.4 square miles. It is directly west of downtown and has easy access to I-64 and I-264 as well as multiple bus transit routes.
Russell today is largely an African American area with high levels of poverty and disinvestment. But signs of change are everywhere. The Louisville Metro government recently designated Russell as a priority focus area for concerted efforts to counter decades of disinvestment. New investments both private and public can be seen throughout the neighborhood. The community of the neighborhood is strong and want to work with city leaders to plan and build a better future for Russell.
FairSquare House Buyers – Why we buy houses in Russell
Signs of progress and change are everywhere in Russell! There is an $870 million dollar investment planned for West Louisville. This includes an $8-million Passport Health Plan headquarters, a $187-million transformation of the Beecher Terrace public-housing complex and a recently opened branch of the YMCA. Russell is in a prime location with easy access to downtown and major highways. Its location is an important asset for current residents and a strength to build from when considering strategies for neighborhood improvement. We see great things coming to the Russell neighborhood and think this is the right time to invest in the area.
Median Home Value: $59,580
Median Rent: $564
Median Household Income: $20,747
Rent vs. Own:
- DuPont Manual High School
- J. Graham Brown School
- Louisville Male High School
- Ballard High School
- Eastern High School
*Data Sourced from Niche.com. Please click here for information on all the data sources used by Niche.com.
For additional statistics on the Russell neighborhood, please review the Russell Neighborhood Profile created by the Kentucky Data Center in partnership with the University of Louisville and Metro United Way.
*Data Sourced from: Kentucky State Data Center