Remembering the 1974 Tornado: Crescent Hill Fountain Dedicated to Recovery

A year after the April 3, 1974, tornado outbreak devastated Crescent Hill, a monument was installed beside the fountain on Frankfort Avenue to mark the recovery of the community.

Louisville Water built the fountain in an area called the Play Park in 1965. Special lighting produced continuously changing colors. A reporter for The Louisville Times called it “a sparkling, changing gem in the middle of the park-like grounds.”

After the tornado, Joseph Miles, Louisville Water Superintendent of Grounds Maintenance from 1974 to 1985, “had trees planted in the names of several Louisville Water families to replace those lost,” said Jay Ferguson, Louisville Water Archive Specialist. “Some of the varieties included Golden Rain, Ginkgo, Magnolia, Sugar Maple, Sunset Maple, Bradford Pear, Smoke Tree, and Horse Chestnut. I think few of these remain.”

1974 tornado monumentAn inscription on the monument says it commemorates “the community spirit that revitalized Crescent Hill.” According to a 1975 Courier Journal article, the monument was built out of Indiana limestone and paid for with $800 in donations.

At the dedication ceremony, one of the speakers said the community’s recovery brought out “the best in human nature … as neighbor reached out to neighbor — and stranger to stranger. A spirit of love and concern united hundreds of people.”

To learn how the 1974 tornado affected Louisville Water operations, watch this video. It also features information on the 1937 flood, the 1890 tornado, and the winter of 1977-78.