Organizers of the campaign to repair the teepee-shaped pavilion at Hogan’s Fountain are beginning to consider the structure’s long-term future. The Save the Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion in Cherokee Park Facebook Group now has more than 1,700 members, and along with the Adam Matthews Foundation, they have raised more than $5,000 of the $82,000 needed to repair the outdoor structure. Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh has also agreed to give the group an additional $5,000 matching grant. But Tammy Bentley Madigan, one of the leaders of the effort, said she wants to ensure that the Louisville Metro Parks Department allocates funds to maintain the Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion after the needed repairs are made. To that end, she and several other community activists would like the city to grant landmark status to the shelter.
“We’ve actually been talking to a number of city officials about landmarking it,” Madigan says. “It’s easier to get landmark status if it is an owner that is requesting it. The mayor, a city councilman, or someone from Metro Parks would be the only people I can think of being in a position to do it. If we can’t get the owners, we can still do it. We just have to go through a few more hurdles.”
In order to have the Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion declared a Louisville landmark, Madigan’s group would need to collect 200 signatures (which they already have), get permission from the owners for the request, have the property formally mapped and photographed, and pay a $500 application fee. Then the Historic Landmarks and Preservation District Commission would investigate the structure and rule on the request. One person that Madigan asked to be a sponsor, Ward-Pugh, declined because she sits on the commission that would make the decision. If the Cherokee Park shelter were declared a landmark then the city would be forced to set aside funds to maintain it.
The Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion is a popular site for gatherings in Cherokee Park. It became the center of controversy last year when some Highlands residents learned that Metro Parks and the Olmsted Parks Conservancy planned to replace the shelter with two smaller structures as part of the Hogan’s Fountain Master Plan. The conservancy believes that the steel, wood and stone structure, which was designed 50 years ago by architect E.J. Schickli, does not fit in with the original intention of Cherokee Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted. In addition, Margaret Brosko, Metro Parks Communications Manager, says it is cheaper to replace the pavilion than to repair it.
Following the public outcry over the plan to replace the pavilion, Metro Parks agreed to let Madigan and her group raise the money to repair the structure. However, Mi Mi Zinniel, President of the Olmsted Conservancy, says neither Metro Parks nor the conservancy have changed their opinion on the pavilion. “The pavilion is in a very overused part of Cherokee Park and it has been destructive to the area,” Zinniel explains. “Taking down the teepee pavilion was in the original 1994 master plan. We are just reiterating what was said then.”
Replacing the teepee shelter is still part of the current Hogan’s Fountain Master Plan, but both Zinniel and Brosko say that no money has been allocated for the project. Brosko says the master plan is just a wish list. “We have 45 master plans and 124 parks,” Brosko says. “There are tons of projects and things we would like to do. This one is garnering a lot of attention because of a few people that are passionate about it.”
Considering Metro Parks and the Olmsted Conservancy’s opinions on the pavilion, it is unlikely that either organization will take a proactive role in having the structure protected as a historic landmark. Madigan said this will make it harder on her group, but they intend to keep up the effort. Madigan’s group is currently working on a preservation project with the Recent Past Preservation Network, Preservation Kentucky and the National Historic Trust.
The Save the Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion in Cherokee Park Facebook Group is also taking part in Reader’s Digest’s “We Hear You America” contest (http://wehear-youamerica.readersdigest.com/index.jsp), which allows citizens to “cheer” for their city in hopes of winning funds for public projects like the pavilion, libraries, and upgrading sidewalks. Madigan said she and her fellow activists will also keep working to change Metro Parks’ and the Olmsted Conservancy’s opinion on the pavilion.
“Other exceptions have been made regarding Olmsted’s vision and we think this should be one too,” Madigan explains. “The Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion is a landmark. It’s been there for 50 years and it’s got a lot of history of its own.”