JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (February 2004) Jeffersonville is
known by many of its residents as a quiet, hometown place in spite
of its close proximity to Louisville, Ky. The city has undergone change
in the last five years and more is planned, but developers hope to
preserve the atmosphere and the rich history of this town.
Jeffersonville was built because of its close proximity with the Falls
of the Ohio, the only barrier for navigation along the Ohio River,
said Laura Renwick, field coordinator for the Southern Regional Office
of the Historical Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. Louisville and
Jeffersonville were the last two points before you went over the falls.
courtesy Ind. Historic Landmarks Foundation
Quartermaster Depot in Jeffersonville.
Jeffersonville had a thriving shipbuilding industry and a quartermaster
depot, built from 1871 to 1874. It was in operation from the time
of the Civil War until the Korean War and was a major institution
in the Jeffersonville economy and helped to define the city, Renwick
In 1985 the depot was decommissioned by the U.S. Army and was bought
by a private individual. In the late 1990s, the owner died and the
city bought it and held it for a number of years. Rumors began to
spread about the possible demolition of the building.
Because of its significance, it was truly endangered,
There were rumors going around that it was going to be built
This local structure was on the Historical Landmarks Foundation of
Indiana endangered list until 2001 when $300,000 of federal money
was finally allocated to restore this old building. Sun Properties
in October earned the job to renovate the depot for commercial and
office use. The project is expected to take up to 18 months to complete.
John J.R. Rulketter, president of Sun Properties, said
the structure is special because of its historical significance. The
company plans to keep the architecture the same.
Weve basically had to take an old structure and put it
back together, Rulketter said. Its definitely been
languishing there for years, and our plan is to bring it back.
He said they are making an actual parking field in the middle of the
structure, similar to the one at The Summit in Louisville. But the
depots will be more round in shape than rectangular. The Quadrangle
will be in the center.
You almost have to go stand in the center to really appreciate
the place, he said. In one section of the Quadrangle is an actual
officers ballroom that was used on several occasions as far
back as the 1800s.
Sun Properties plans on adding modern improvements but will keep the
old style roof and windows.
The businesses considering moving into the depot include retail and
medical offices. Because of the close proximity to Clark Memorial
Hospital and the interstate, many expect it to bring more business
to the area. A stoplight is planned for the front of the center.
Really, the history of Jeffersonville is the Quartermaster Depot,
Rulketter said. They all love the old place. It is going to
be a cornerstone of the 10th Street corridor.
Other areas of Jeffersonville will also be transformed.
Chris Padgett, director of Planning and Development in Jeffersonville,
said that the changes were a complete revision of the old zoning regulations
in place since the 1960s.
Citywide development standards increased to allow more landscaping
for new growth and will create aesthetic changes.
Padgett said one of the most significant changes made is that development
plans must now be submitted for approval by the planning commission
rather than the staff.
Signage was a big issue of debate, Padgett said. The idea
was to increase uniformity through out the city and eliminate clutter
or distractions. Monument style signs are now only permitted.
The changes will also transform the commercial corridor overlay and
work to redevelop significant sections of the five main commercial
thoroughfares through Jeffersonville encompassing 10th Street.
The new standard looks at the facades and actual materials of
buildings, as well as how they relate to the street, Padgett
said. Some of our older corridors are seeing a rebirth.
The areas of redevelopment currently under way or is in the planning
stages are 10th Street and Highway 62, a large portion of Hamburg
Pike, Veterans Parkway, New Albany and Charlestown Pike, Holman Lane
and a portion of Court Avenue and Spring Street.
Some of these areas will have significant changes, Padgett said. The
hope is keep to the same hometown atmosphere that Jeffersonville has
maintained throughout its history.
Renwick shares this hope. The sentiment it has managed to maintain
is unique, she said. Despite being in the shadow of Louisville,
it is one of the best success stories, as far as development goes
in southern Indiana. It has just come so far in the last 10 or 15
The Quartermaster Depot is scheduled to be completed next year. Meanwhile,
additional development continues in this little city that lies in
the shadows of metropolitan Louisville.