General Harry C. Hale, Commander of Camp Zachary Taylor and the 84th Division, which was organized in August 1917 at Camp Zachary Taylor, where men from Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois were sent for basic training at the onset of the United States entering World War 1. General Hale was in service in China in 1917, and was called back to the United States when the camps were near completion in September of that year, and to take command of Camp Zachary Taylor. He was a famous Indian Fighter in the “Bad Lands” of South Dakota in the 1880’s and was famous for single handily capturing “Sitting Bulls” warriors, where he brought them back to the reservation.
General Hale took possession of this farm house for his residence while Commander of the camp. It was located directly across the street from the “Head Quarters” buildings, which were built along Taylor Ave. on the west side of Poplar Level Road.
The residence, which is at 4211 Poplar Level Road, is being offered for sale as a commercial site. The front half of the property is zoned C1 (commercial), while the back half is zoned R5 (residential). The listing Realtor suggests that the lot could be used for a “Convenience Store” or “Car Wash”. This clearly indicates that the intent would be to tear down the Historic Building and construct a modern store front property for retail use.
The house seen in this 1917 photograph, was built in 1911, and was the home of Alphonse Schoenbachler. He owned the house and 95 acres of land that stretched from Poplar Level Road (east) to Newburg Road. He sold his land, as well did hundreds of other patriotic Louisvillian’s, for the war cause. The house has been a residence for 103 years, but now faces the possibility of being demolished. It is the very last one of these Original Farm Houses, that stood along Poplar Level Road before Camp Zachary Taylor was constructed.
Other Historic Homes that we have since lost due to the construction of Camp Taylor, or after it was dismantled are:
The “Basil Prather” homestead, which was located on top of Quarry Hill. It was built in 1797, and survived until after WW1, only to be demolished for a subdivision.
We lost the George Rogers Clark Homestead in 1917, which was torn down when Camp Taylor was under construction. It is considered to be “The Most Significant Loss” of a Historical Structure in Louisville’s history.
We also lost the home of Leo Schimeider. The Schneider’s 28 acre Estate was at the corner of Poplar Level and Hess Lane (NW Corner). It was bulldozed after the camp was sold and the land subdivided. The house was taking up too much land, and they could build three new homes where it stood. It is pictured below when it was sold in 1921 and demolished shortly thereafter.
The destruction of these significant buildings, that make up our Local History, needs to come to a stop. The almighty dollar cannot, and will not, ever replace the importance of our Iconic and Historic Landmarks. The photographs will never replace the buildings that make up the History of Our Neighborhoods. Please write to Metro Councilman, Jim King and our Representative Jim Wayne, and let them know that we need to protect this Historic Building.