Video: DORK x Nelligan Hall
Let us start off by saying we are extremely excited and honored to be apart of something that has so much history. Not only Nelligan Hall, but the entire area of Portland. We mentioned a little in a previous blog post, but after doing some more research, we were struck by the amount of history that's right under our noses. Little did we realize, until coming here, that there are people trying to revitalize and bring more to the area for a few years now, and pretty quickly. Not to mention, there are people living in Portland that are always working for the community and listening to its population.
Some things we've learned:
- Originally a port city, Portland could have possibly been it's own independent city next to Louisville, but due to a major railroad being built through Louisville as opposed to Portland, Portland eventually just merged with its growing neighbor. Portland is still very independent to this day, having it's own rich history and architectural diversity dating back more than 100 years ago. Nelligan Hall itself was supposedly built in 1880, that's 135 years ago...wow.
- German and Irish immigrants moved to Portland to work (a large portion being Irish), making the population a blue collar area of many working Irish individuals. Nelligan Hall was the meeting place for the North End Social Club on Portland Avenue, a club founded by people of Irish decent, which helped create and run various productive activities in Portland. For years, Nelligan Hall was the hub for all things happening in Portland. Music shows were held there and a bar in the back of the space donated towards the social club.
- The city experienced many floods being on the Ohio river (like most river cities before levees were created), and had a very traumatic flood in the 1930s which consumed the city and Portland with water for months. After this, big business and residents moved away to higher ground, to middle and upper-middle class areas of east Louisville. This practically divided Portland and the developing Louisville with an industrial landscape as a border.
- A large percentage of people in Portland live below the poverty level now. Many people outside of Portland are interested in the real estate and historical buildings located in the area, and are revitalizing these remarkable structures, even building new modern homes in vacant lots. Galleries, architectural firms, and local business are pretty steadily popping up.
This is an exciting time for creative people all over the city, and hopefully those living in Portland, and hopefully those joining us on this journey. They call it the Portland Renaissance.
We've met a few of our neighbors on Portland Avenue and they seem, not only kind, but very eager for things to take shape and soon change for the better of Portland. One of our neighbors, Jim, mentioned that not too long ago, the block we're on was not nearly as clean as it is now and that trash was everywhere. It's cleaned up pretty well since then. We'd love to be a part of this renaissance, and very well plan to do as much as we can to be involved.
Why? Because at first, we were just looking for studio space to create art, throw shows and build DORK as a brand. Somehow we stumbled onto to something much more grand than that, and we have this opportunity to do something in addition to what we wanted. We can contribute to a community that could use some help, that has a really cool backstory and tons of personality. Plus, one half of DORK is from Louisville and loves the city.
We haven't forgotten Memphis either, we are still booking shows for the space!
More updates and information coming soon.