LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A piece of Louisville history will go up for auction Thursday. The Howard Hardy house was built around 1830, before the Civil War and is believed to be the last pre-Civil War home still standing in downtown Louisville.
Built nearly 200 years ago, the house has a rich history. “It’s one of only two pre-Civil War homes still standing in Louisville, but it is the only one that still has the slave quarters intact,” Bill Menish with Sperry Van Ness Ward Commercial Group, said.
Despite being slave owners, the Hardy family is believed to have started the anti-slavery movement in Louisville. “When the Hardy’s were owners of this house, it’s known that they had teamed up with a church out of Cincinnati, a church that had a reputation for wanting to abolish slavery and one of the very first meetings in Louisville about that movement happened right here at this house,” Menish, said.
The building was updated in 2006 as part of a renovation project through the Christ Church Cathedral next door. Bringing this old house into the 21st century with features like geo thermal heating and cooling. “It’s just really cool that an old house like this is using that technology,” Menish, said.
It hasn’t always been a home. During the floods of 1937, National Guardsmen aiding in relief efforts were housed in the building. It’s also been a restaurant. “There’s been a great buzz about this house,” Menish explained, “Because a lot of people know about it for a lot of different reasons. I just mentioned the pre-Civil War element, but also Miller’s Cafeteria for over 100 years.”
The popular cafeteria closed in 1998.
The Howard Hardy house is zoned as a commercial property, but Menish says they’ve had interest from people hoping to turn it into a home again. The auction is set to begin Thursday at 12:30 PM.