Highland Avenue

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    This house was designed by J.J. Gaffney in 1898. "Spires rise on either side of a grossly embellished fractable. Wide use of sandstone, terra cotta and stained glass add to the plasticity of the structure." (NRHP -- Highlands Historic District)

    "James J. Gaffney (b. Louisville, June 18, 1863; d. Louisville, November 30, 1946). Gaffney was born to Michael and Anna (McMullen) Gaffney, Irish Catholic refugees from the potato famine of 1845-47, and grew up in what is now the Phoenix Hill area. There is no evidence of Gaffney receiving any formal training as an architect, and he is known to have attended only one year of school, probably in order to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. In 1881 Gaffney took a job as a draftsman with architect Charles Julian Clarke, where he learned the skills that would later earn him his fame. His widely diverse commissions included ecclesiastical, institutional, residential and commercial buildings. His individual style built upon a variety of influences, ranging from Victorian to Byzantine to Arts and Crafts. Some of his more notable structures included St. James Catholic Church and Adath Jeshurun synagogue, Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium, the Besten and Belvoir Apartments, and the J.D. Taggart mansion. Gaffney contributed greatly to the architecture of Louisville, breaking the conventional barriers of his time period with his unusual stylistic combinations.
    A quiet man, Gaffney was deeply committed to his family. In 1892, he married Ella Gross, and in 1895 she gave birth to two sons, Thomas James and James Louis; both died of dysentery in 1896. Gaffney was buried in the family plot at St. Louis Cemetery."
    (The Louisville Encyclopedia)

    Gaffney also designed the Morrissey Parking Garage (a.k.a. Bosler's Fireproof Garage)

    The house that he designed for himself sits on River Road.

    Ian von Talee, Equinox27, eyeflyer, and 17 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Equinox27 53 months ago | reply

      Remarkable and amazingly intact!

    2. eyeflyer 53 months ago | reply

      Fantastisch !
      Have a wonderful Weekend !

    3. Joey Harrison 53 months ago | reply

      Wow, he really went far from humble origins. Very interesting to know that he's the one responsible for not only the Belvoir, but also the Morrissey parking garage. Two Louisville structures that I love and very different from each other.

      Just curious, is this his own home, the J.D. Taggart mansion, or someone else's place?

    4. deatonstreet 53 months ago | reply

      I believe this is known as the Waggener House, although I can't find any documentation to back that up yet. There is a "W" visible in the center of the "embellished fractable".
      I'm glad you asked though, I was in the middle of looking up that Taggart House, so I've just added a picture of that one for you. He's also responsible for the Thierman Apartment Building (now condos) on W. Breckenridge. The house that he built for himself still stands on River Road between Longview and Boxhill Lanes.
      Yes, I'm really intrigued by this Gaffney fellow, I always love stories about successful people with unconventional backgrounds. Seems someone should write a book about him!

    5. egbert57 53 months ago | reply

      What an amazing and elegant house. Thank you for sharing the photo and the story

    6. scottishtom 53 months ago | reply

      But is it haunted? Love it!

    7. ihynz7 53 months ago | reply

      great house

    8. arim24 [deleted] 52 months ago | reply

      Amazing architecture

    9. whyaduck 26 months ago | reply

      I've come across an item in the July 5, 1919, issue of the trade journal The American Contractor which says that architect J. J. Gaffney was drawing plans for a theater to be built at Jeffersonville, Indiana, for M. Switow. This could have been the LeRose Theatre, which Michael Switow opened at Jeffersonville in 1920.

      The problem is that the description of the theater in the journal would make it quite a bit smaller than the Le Rose actually turned out to be. The plans might have been changed before construction, of course, or the building expanded at a later time. I've been unable to find any other source that would indicate that the Le Rose Theatre was designed by Gaffney, but after seeing pictures of some of his other buildings I think the theater's building does have some of his style to it.

      Here's a photo of the Le Rose Theatre. Have you ever come across any information about J. J. Gaffney being connected with any theater designs? Do you, or any of your Flickr followers, know of any buildings he designed that have a strong resemblance to the Le Rose Theatre? I've pretty much exhausted the research sources available to me on the Internet. Maybe somebody in the Louisville area has access to other information (library books or such.)

    10. deatonstreet 26 months ago | reply

      It certainly looks like it could be one of his designs, but I can't say for sure. If I find anything I'll let you know.

    11. deatonstreet 26 months ago | reply

      Gaffney designed the Adath Jeshurun Temple on Brook Street and the design is very similar to the LeRose.

    12. whyaduck 26 months ago | reply

      Thanks for that link, deatonstreet. The Temple does indeed have a lot in common with the theater. In fact, even without documentation, it makes me 99% sure that Gaffney did the final design for the Le Rose Theatre. The two buildings date from the same period as well, so the more elegant design of the Temple was probably the result of Gaffney's refinement of the themes he used for the theater.

      I notice that the University library's photo of the Temple comes from the Caulfield and Shook collection, as does this 1928 photo depicting the auditorium of the Le Rose Theatre. The theater photo doesn't attribute the design to an architect, though, so apparently even the librarians don't know who it was. It's likely that much of Caulfield & Shook's data about the photos was lost along with most of their negative archive in the 1937 flood. It's also likely that many photos of Gaffney's buildings were lost in that disaster.

    13. anthony_wraith13 7 months ago | reply

      Is this place a museum or for sale or?

    14. deatonstreet 7 months ago | reply

      Just a residence.

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