The Louisville horizon is renowned; its high-rise buildings and dynamic downtown mirror the Ohio River splendidly.
A sum of its parts, the horizon consists of some genuinely splendid, breathtaking artificial marvels, from 400 West Market (the highest skyscraper in Derby City) to the similarly excellent National City Tower and Waterfront Park Place.
The Waterfront Plaza Towers sit 806 above sea level and are an inextricable part of the Louisville cityscape. But, what’s that perched atop the towers? Those can’t be … lighthouses ?! In landlocked Kentucky?
Indeed they are. And there is a very rational explanation for this pair of lighthouses in Downtown Louisville, Kentucky.
The lighthouses are a tribute to the beacon that sat atop the initial Galt House Hotel before it burned down in 1865.
The Galt House Hotel, designed by prominent architect Henry Whitestone, opened in April 1869 following a destructive fire in 1865 that leveled the previous structure.
As Louisville’s only waterfront hotel, the Galt House’s initial beacon was a directive for boat captains and aircraft pilots, who utilized the lights to signal they were approaching the city.
Although innovation has unquestionably enhanced in the last 150+ years, boat captains and airplane pilots still use the towers’ lights today to gauge their range from the city.
So, in a way, these Louisville lighthouses are yet another way of saying Welcome to Kentucky!