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Arthur Loomis

From the old Louisville Medical College downtown to the building that now serves as the Louisville Science Center, architect Arthur Loomis literally had a hand in building up the River City. We commemorate the 151st anniversary of his birth in this Et Cetera.

Arthur Loomis was born January 28, 1858.

He relocated to Jeffersonville, Indiana, from Massachusetts with his family - just before the start of the Civil War; then moved to Louisville around 1910.

After working for noted architect Charles J. Clark for several years the two became partners in 1891 – creating one of Louisville’s most prestigious architectural firms.

The Levy Building downtown - which once housed a clothing store - is probably their most recognized commercial structure. Once one of the first electrified buildings in the city, today The Levy Building has been converted into condominiums -- and is the long-time home of The Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant.

The Conrad-Caldwell House in Old Louisville is one of the best examples of Clarke and Loomis’ residential work.

In the years following Clarke’s death in 1908, Loomis primarily worked alone. Some of his most noted works during this time include the Carnegie Library in Jeffersonville, Indiana and the original J.B. Speed Art Museum building in Louisville.

Arthur Loomis is also considered the first president of the Kentucky Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Although his former partner Charles Clarke was elected, he died before taking office … so Loomis fulfilled his term.

Appreciation of Loomis’ work continues today. Efforts to restore the Russell neighborhood’s Ouerbacker House are underway.

The firm Studio Kremer Architects will manage all donations and provide architectural services for the restoration. Any monetary donations, offers of assistance, volunteerism and general well-wishes can be sent to the Ouerbacker House Restoration Foundation, LLC, care of Studio Kremer Architects, 3258 Ruckriegel Parkway, Louisville, Kentucky, 40299.

As of January 2009, the newly formed Ouerbacker House Restoration Foundation, LLC, is applying for 501C3 Tax Exempt Status in order to receive tax deductible donations.

Additional info:

  • The Levy Building (1893) was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
  • In 1902 the firm of Clarke and Loomis completed the Todd Building (which stood at Fourth and Market until its demolition in 1983), principally designed by Loomis. It was Louisville’s second ten-story skyscraper … and the first steel-framed, fireproof structure in the Commonwealth. Clarke and Loomis also designed Manual Training School (1893), the Carter Dry Goods Building (which is now the Louisville Science Center,) and several local churches.
  • In addition to Jeffersonville’s Carnegie Library (1904), Loomis also designed the Shelby Park Library (1911) in Louisville.
  • Several houses in Louisville’s Cherokee Triangle neighborhood were designed by Arthur Loomis, as well as several structures at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • According to The Encyclopedia of Louisville, the Cleveland Museum of Art served as inspiration for Loomis’ design of the original Speed Art Museum.
  • Arthur Loomis built the J.B. Speed Art Museum for Mrs. Hattie Bishop Speed, as a memorial to her husband. He built two additional structures at the request of Mrs. Speed: the Music Room behind her house on West Ormsby Avenue (1916) and a new Portland Health Center (1930).
  • Loomis’ partner Charles J. Clarke worked with acclaimed architect Henry Whitestone during the Civil War. Whitestone designed the beautiful Peterson-Dumesnil House in the Crescent Hill neighborhood.
  • At the time of his death (January 8, 1935), Arthur Loomis lived on Belgravia Court in Old Louisville. He is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery.

Began as the Louisville Chapter, the Central Kentucky Chapter (CKC) is the oldest of AIA’s Kentucky chapters. Renowned Louisville architect Stratton Hammon was also a member of AIA CKC. Learn more about him and his amazing work in <this Season 2 Lousiville Life story.

Program 314
Louisville Life finds out why Louisville's water was voted number one by the American Water Works Association, visits Louisville Stoneware, goes rolling on the river on The Belle and more. (#314)