Louisville Skylines

Louisville Skylines
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Louisville Skylines

Considered by many folks to the crown jewel of the Bluegrass State, Louisville, Kentucky is nestled along the banks of the Ohio River. Louisville is the capital of thoroughbred horse racing, bourbon whiskey and great food. The scenic skyline of Louisville reflects a growing city on the move amid an area steeped in history and tradition. Founded in 1778, Louisville is known for arts and entertainment that rivals larger cities. As the home of the horse breeding and racing industry, Louisville hosts the grandest sporting event in the world, the Kentucky Derby which draws tens of thousands of visitors and equine enthusiasts every year.

The Louisville skyline is filled with a beautiful combination of old and new architectural styles. Starting in the late 1800s, high rise buildings began to sprout up along the Louisville skyline. Though not known for the super skyscrapers, Louisville helped lead the country in the construction of modest high rises starting in 1889. Landmark buildings like the Seelbach Hotel, the Chestnut Centre and the historic Louisville and Nashville Railroad Office Building have survived the ebb and flow of urban development. Combined with more modern structures and the city's bridges that span the Ohio River it's easy to see why the Louisville skyline presents a timeless appeal and beauty.

AEGON Center

Completed in 1993, the AEGON Center is the tallest building in Louisville. Towering over 540 feet above the downtown district the AEGON Center is also the tallest building in the state of Kentucky. The striking Romanesque style of the building's dome is among the most prominent features of the Louisville skyline. The center's construction is decidedly different from that of comparable buildings that make use of steel framing, the traditional design of most high rise buildings. Instead, the designers opted to use reinforced concrete. The building's 35 floors provide over 600 thousand square feet of office, commercial and retail space.

National City Tower

Sharing the downtown skyline with the AEGON Center, the National City Tower was the tallest building in Louisville from its completion in 1972 until 1993. The tower stands just over 500 feet tall and though not as tall as its neighbor, the National City Tower has five more floors. The ultra modern design incorporates a glass and steel exterior that presents the appearance of a dark monolith.

PNC Plaza

Another high rise constructed during the 1970s is the PNC Center. With 32 floors, the plaza stands 420 feet above West Jefferson Street in downtown Louisville. The tinted glass and concrete exterior compliments the buildings modern design.

The Humana Building

A classic example of postmodern architecture, the Humana Building took years three to complete. With an exterior constructed of pink-hued granite, the building was recognized by the American Institute of Architects in 1987 with a National Honor Award. Modest in height at only 417 feet, the Humana Building is considered by many architectural buffs as one of the recognizable high rise buildings in America.

The Brown Hotel

One of the oldest buildings of its kind in the country, the Brown Hotel in Louisville has stood on West Broadway since it opened in 1923. Though the building fell into a state of disrepair it was eventually restored as an operating hotel after serving as office for the local school district. The history of this great building reflects the history of Louisville. During its heyday, the Brown was visited by foreign dignitaries, movie stars, politicians and other famous personalities, including boxing great Muhammad Ali, President Harry S. Truman and Queen Elizabeth of England. Throughout its history, the Brown Hotel has been the place to stay when visiting Louisville.

Churchill Downs Racetrack

Considered by some to be the cathedral of thoroughbred horse racing, Churchill Downs hosts the world's greatest sporting event, the Kentucky Derby. A stakes race for three year old thoroughbreds, the Kentucky Derby is nicknamed the Run for the Roses. The name reflects the blanket of roses presented to the winning horse and jockey.

Considered by equine enthusiasts and sports fans as the Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports, the race is held in front of thousands of horse racing fans every May. With a multi million dollar purse, the Derby attracts a top field of three years olds including fillies, though colts and geldings have dominated the race. Located in the very heart of horse breeding country, Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby plays host to horse racing royalty and a bevy of celebrities.

With the grand steeples of the grandstand as the most recognizable feature, Churchill Downs was constructed in 1875. The grandstand and the twin steeples were added in 1895 and stands as the epitome of horse racing facilities. The race not only draws thousands of horse racing fans but also hundreds of photographers and media types from all over the world. The race provides professional and amateur photographers with opportunities to capture the thrill of this great race in pictures.