Preserving Louisville's shotgun houses - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Preserving Louisville's shotgun houses

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LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Louisville is home to thousands of shotgun houses, many of which are over a hundred years old.

Preservation Louisville's program called Save our Shotguns is focused on their upkeep because shotgun houses are a part of Louisville's history.

It's a style of house that symbolizes many of Louisville's older neighborhoods but it's no longer a thing of the past.

"Louisville and New Orleans by far have the highest concentration of this type of house in the entire country and New Orleans is extremely proud of it and I'm doing everything I can to make sure Louisville is just as proud," said Marianne Zickuhr, Executive Director of Preservation Louisville.

Zickuhr launched Save our Shotguns in 2012.

In just one year's time, with help from other groups like Habitat for Humanity, they've tackled two homes.

"There's at least 8,000 shotgun houses that need our help and we've done 2 so we have 7,998 to go," Zickuhr told WDRB.

Donna Shepperson's shotgun house was one of them.

It was built in the early 1900's.

Shepperson and her husband have lived here since 1970 and says since the preservation, she's able to fully enjoy it.

"If you can keep something and retain it, why not? It's part of our history," said Shepperson.

But what's so special about these houses?

There are many variations, but they usually have a long, rectangular floor plan.

"You can enter the front and see out the back. It's straight through," said Shepperson.

"That really long type of architecture, they say you could shoot a shotgun from the front door all the way to the back door," said Zickuhr.

The myth is, shotgun houses started because of taxation.

"You were taxed by how wide the front of your house was," Zickuhr told WDRB.

Preservation Louisville is determined to preserve the city's architectural history one shotgun house at a time.

"It's what we're number one in so it's our chance to stand up and say we have the most of these and they're a great part of our history so let's show the entire country why we have what we have," said Zickuhr.

To learn more about the program, click here.

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