Lucy English, Marketing & Communications Manager and Newly Amateur Arborist
Earlier this year, we marked the 20th anniversary of Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory by Partying Like It’s 1996!, and last week we continued the celebration by going back to our roots (in more ways than one). Through a partnership with Brightside, a group of about 20 volunteers from the museum (see above) planted twenty trees in a vacant lot in the Smoketown neighborhood at 813 S. Jackson Street. The lot is owned by the Louisville Metro Housing Authority and is across the street from the main entrance of Meyzeek Middle School.
For our planting day on November 2nd, we were lucky enough to have John Backert, Brightside’s Landscape Manager, join us to explain the seven different types of trees specifically chosen for the project well as their purposes for the space (see below).
From the Commemoration Sugar Maple (an homage to the wood used for our bats), to the unique yellow blooming Magnolia “Butterflies” (currently the only ones in Louisville) as well as my personal favorite, Venus Kousas Dogwoods─ it was clear the team from Brightside had given a lot of thought into picking the trees for the space.
We could envision how the special project will blossom into an entirely new park with walkways, benches, and more for students of Meyzeek and hundres of children of the neighborhood to use next spring.
Our Vice President and Executive Director, Anne Jewell, said it best, “Because of our wood bat business, we have a great history with and appreciation for trees. We also know how much Louisville needs to revitalize its canopy. As we thought about ways to thank the community for its support over our twenty years, planting twenty trees and creating a new urban park seemed like the perfect way to combine a passion of ours with a local need.”
In addition to helping the 20 trees plant their roots in the future park, we were thrilled to give back to a neighborhood that holds a lot of history for our parent company, Hillerich & Bradsby Co.
H&B actually called Smoketown home for many years. From 1901 to 1974 the building pictured above was located at 1209 South Preston Street, between Finzer and Jacob Streets. It served as the third location of the growing company. (You can learn more about our history here.) In 2015 we donated the the two-acre property to the Community Foundation of Louisville for development to enhance the 150-year-old neighborhood.
It was truly a special experience to celebrate the Museum & Factory’s anniversary by giving back to the part of town where part of our company’s 132-year-old history exists. None of it would have been possible without the more than 4.5 million visitors we’ve had since we opened in 1996, and we can’t wait to watch the park flourish and grow for many more decades to come.
Make sure you watch this blog over the next few months to see progress and ribbon cutting for our new park in the spring!