Louisville Water’s Allmond Avenue Distribution Center turns 50 years old this year. While 2018 is the year we are celebrating this milestone, we have some conflicting information on the year it was built and completed. A prominently displayed bronze plaque at the distribution center has the date 1967, and some offices were occupied before the end of that year. The 1968 date for Allmond was settled on because the 1968 Annual Report states the distribution center was completed during that year. That same year, Allmond was added as a capital asset while the Brook and Lee Storage Yard was retired as an asset.
Prior to the opening of Allmond, Brook and Lee was Louisville Water’s main storage yard. As early as 1964, company officials recommended the property at Allmond Avenue should be purchased to build a new distribution center, storehouse and meter repair shop. The federally funded Urban Renewal Agency had previously notified Louisville Water that the agency would purchase the land at Brook and Lee, and that the company needed to move its operations. Using this mandate to its benefit, Louisville Water officials worked on plans to build a larger distribution yard that would bring together several far-flung storage facilities. Not only would the new facility replace Brook and Lee, it would also replace the warehouse, garage and meter shop at the 435 South Third Street offices, freeing up much needed space for other departments. It also consolidated the Southern and Western Division Yards located on Manslick Road and on Lower River Road at Bethany Lane.
The 10-acre lot on Allmond Avenue in the Douglas Industrial Park, named for the defunct Douglas Park Racetrack (1895–1958), was purchased in 1966. The facility was designed by the local firm Wagner & Potts, Inc. and bids for contract proposals were advertised in 1966. Construction of the facility began almost immediately, with the majority of the work completed little more than a year later. The newly completed distribution center was built entirely inside what was the infield of the old horseracing track.
Some of the initial features of the center were a railroad spur for trains to deliver pipe directly into the facility, a large pipe yard and room to expand. However, the spur might not have been as useful as once thought because it was retired in 1969.
Over the years other changes were made to the facility. The twin fountains were added in 1969. (In 1970, the Beautification League of Louisville and Jefferson County awarded Louisville Water the Merit Award for landscaping at Allmond Avenue.) Two more additions to the center were completed in 1970: a new three-sided storage building in the southeast corner along with the three-story addition at the main building’s entrance with the radio room on its third floor. A new meter shop was constructed in 1973. The old meter shop was located on the third floor in the main building. Another storage building was constructed in northeast corner that same year. The salt bin was added in 1986.
Whatever became of land that was once the Brook and Lee Yard? In 1974, Noe Middle School was built on the block just to the west. Now South First Street cuts across the northern part of the yard as it intersects with Brook Street. The southern half of the land, just east of Noe, is now used as a soccer field.