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In Your Backyard | Clifton neighbors preserving history through sound

The Clifton Community Council is launching an oral history project, and holding its first listening session this weekend.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — We're used to learning about history through books, films and pictures. 

In Clifton, a group of neighbors is now preserving the area's story in sound with a new oral history project. 

Clifton Community Council president Mike O'Leary said the group is bringing together five longtime neighbors for a listening session. They'll have a chance to answer questions and discuss their memories of the area.

"It brings it down to where somebody like me can relate to it," O'Leary said.

The council is also hoping to record and digitize the session.

"We want to hold onto the fabric of the neighborhood," he said.

O'Leary will be listening for stories of the chicken steps, the old Dr. Pepper Factory and other day to day memories.

"Have they ever had a haircut at the barbershop at 1805 Frankfort?" he said of one question on the list.

For this historic preservation district, its past is very much a part of the present.

"The old post office now is a brewery, how cool is that," O'Leary notes. "Jenny's Diner is now Comfy Cow, they were able to make the Queen Anne home a part of the business."

Though they've kept history alive, the neighborhood is changing. All the more reason, O'Leary said, for a lesson straight from the people who lived it.

"Young folks are coming in with their families. Years from now they will be part of the history and that's exciting to me," O'Leary said. "We're old, we're historic, but we continue to evolve. We want to preserve the past but we're always looking to the future." 

The session is Saturday, March 25 in the United Crescent Hills Ministry community room.

It's open to anyone who wants to listen.

O'Leary said they hope to make the listening sessions a regular event, featuring more neighbors in the future.

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