Abandoned Louisville Cooperage

We recently visited one of Louisville's most abandoned and feared properties, known to many as the Louisville Cooperage.

Armed with five cameras and respirator masks, our crew entered the 28-acre property and discovered over 287,000 square foot of abandoned structures.  A city within a city, now wasting away to nothing.

This land has been home to several companies throughout its time in history.  It was developed and opened in 1898 by the Atlantic Tank & Barrel Co.  The Louisville Cooperage Co. began in the 1950's, manufacturing whisky barrels there, and Shenley Industries Inc. operated a distillery there in the late 1960's and 1970's.  However, what this property is most known for is not just its rich history in whisky barrels.

This property was later owned by the company Black Leaf Diamond, which was responsible for the largest residential superfund cleanup in the State of Kentucky.  Over 66 properties were stripped of their yards and soil and replaced with new dirt and sod due to chemicals within the water and soil from the Black Leaf Diamond operation.  It cost the State of Kentucky $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars to replace the yards surrounding the property.

Only two known companies have used the property since the chemical outbreak.  Downs River Development Corp. (lumber), and Louisville Industrial Park, LLC, which purchased the property for $1.725 million in late 1999.  Yet, nothing has developed since that purchase except a warning sign every fifty yards warning of possible toxins and harmful chemicals within the soil and water on the property.  We found safety records dating to late 1998, but could find no records of any use of the property after the 1999 purchase.

This location in the Park Hill area of Louisville, Kentucky is best known for the whisky barrels it developed, and the pain and suffering it caused that part of the city with chemical damage.  Many believe there are still toxins in the water and in the soil of the homes that surround the 26-acre property.  Many have visited the property, but not even a homeless man makes his bed inside the fence of the once known Louisville Cooperage, for fear of coming in contact with chemicals, simply by stepping in a puddle of water or wet soil.