Steve gives talks to various groups: seniors, church, civic, military, and many others.

Below are history & architecture talks by steve

The following are the talks that Steve Wiser can provide to civic groups. Steve can also speak on suggested topics as well. All of Steve’s talks are accompanied by a photos and graphics in Power Point visual projection. Note: Steve typically requests a nominal honorarium for his talks.  To contact Steve to schedule a presentation, email him at

Scroll Down to View All of the Talks by Steve

“Louisville Tapestry: People & Places that helped create America’s Most Livable City” Steve provides a visual presentation of his book by the same name.

“Louisville: Then & Now”: Images of how Louisville appeared over the past 100 years as compared to what these same locations look like today. Fascinating juxtaposition of how the streetscape and culture have changed.

“Lost Houses of Louisville” Our city is known as a great place in which to live. And while we have some very nice residences, we have also lost many fine homes due to fire, urban renewal, and demo for other newer buildings.  This talk by architect / historian Steve Wiser will be a stroll down memory lane of beautiful estates and streetscapes that once graced Louisville.

“Carriage Houses of Louisville”: Louisville is always rated very highly as a great place in which to live, and there are many beautiful residences here in which to live.  Our distinctive homes are easily viewable as one drives through the various neighborhoods.  And, while these are nice-looking, there are sometimes other residential buildings behind these front homes that are just as aesthetically pleasing. Usually located along alleys in Old Louisville, Cherokee Triangle, and Crescent Hill, these smaller homes were designed for horses and carriages on the first floor with the second floor having living spaces.  Known as ‘carriage houses’, these once utilitarian structures have since transformed into attractive full-time residences for families.  This talk highlights these hidden houses. Besides carriage houses, this book also contains many historic firehouses which once contained horse stables and sleeping quarters for the firemen.  And, it also has newer ‘carriage houses’ that have been built in Norton Commons and near Lexington Road. ‘Carriage Houses of Louisville’ discusses the history of the original owners such as Margaret Bacon Conway (Bacon Dept. Store and Fulton Conway Wagon), Henry Levy (Levy Dept. Store), and Mary Alice Hadley (Hadley Pottery). 

“Historic Houses of Louisville” This talk features the individuals and events that chronicle the history of Louisville through 45 houses in the metro region.

“Notable Women of Louisville” Mildred and Patty Hill; Susan Look Avery; Mary T. Meagher; and Tori Murden McClure:  these are just a few of the women who have made remarkable achievements, not only in Louisville, but nationally and internationally.  From preservation and environmental advocacy to civil rights leadership and Hollywood fame, Louisville women have made a significant legacy of accomplishments.


“Haunted Houses of Louisville” Do you believe in ghosts?  Almost half the population thinks some unexplained ‘spooky’ things do happen.  To explore this phenomena in Louisville, Steve spotlights  some of the best known ghost-related occurrences in the metro region.  And, he not only talks about the ghosts that haunt these places, but also the history behind the locations. So, even though you might not believe in ghosts, you will still enjoy learning about all the fascinating heritage of Louisville. This talk will be informative on both the known – and unknown - history of Louisville!

The Architecture of John Bacon Hutchings and E T Hutchings: n the early 1900s, Louisville residential development began to dramatically change. Instead of living near their places of work, the introduction of the automobile allowed Louisvillians to move further outside the city. And, this gave them the opportunity to build eloquent houses surrounded by scenic estates.  The Olmsted landscape firm was also completing the parks system which attracted new home construction near them.  And, the local architect who implemented many of these grand residences was John Bacon Hutchings.  Not trained as an architect, Hutchings was able to use his natural talent to build beautiful designs such as the Ballard mansion (now known as ‘Melcombe’), Glen Entry, Edgecombe, Midlands, and many others. His son, E T Hutchings continued his father’s grand projects such as Spindletop in Lexington and the Taylor mansion (commonly known as ‘Four Courts’). Architect and historian Steve Wiser will explore these and many other of their high-profile projects in this fascinating review of two architects who made a major quality impact on our city, but details of their careers are not as well-known.  

The Architecture of William Dodd: in the late 1800s and early 1900s, William Dodd was one of the most prolific architects in Louisville. He created many local landmarks: The Ferguson Mansion (now home to the Filson Historical Society); the old Presbyterian Seminary (now Jefferson Community College); and the First Christian Church (now Immanuel Baptist Church) among numerous other recognizable locations. Steve will feature the achievements of this remarkable designer along with his life and legacy. 

Cherokee Triangle Sites to See: Steve will provide a pictorial tour of the fabulous buildings, residences, and landscapes of this inner city neighborhood.

Old Louisville Sites to See: This talk will feature the spectacular homes, churches, and other magnificent structures within this distinctive Louisville neighborhood. 

Crescent Hill / Clifton Sites to See: Beginning at Story Avenue and traveling east to Reservoir Park, Steve will talk about the many landmarks and fascinating history along Frankfort Avenue. 

Portland Sites to See: Once a rival city to Louisville, this large neighborhood contains numerous historic buildings and fascinating heritage which Steve will highlight. 

Louisville’s Neighborhood Sites to See: This presentation spotlights the beautiful neighborhoods within the city and their distinctive landmarks and history. 

Sacred Spaces: Louisville’s Inspiring Catholic Architecture: Louisville has many beautiful places of worship of many faiths. Baptist, Jewish, Methodist, Episcopal, etc., all have inspirational designs for their religious services. This talk will feature the architecture of local Catholic churches from the mid-1800s up to today’s modern sanctuaries. This presentation will provide an enjoyable visual journey around our community to view these spiritual designs. And, even if you are not Catholic, you will like seeing these artistic interior spaces. 

Sacred Spaces: Louisville’s Inspiring Church Architecture: Louisville has many beautiful places of worship of many faiths. Baptist, Jewish, Methodist, Episcopal, etc., all have inspirational designs for their religious services. This talk will feature the architecture of these local churches and synagoues from the mid-1800s up to today’s modern sanctuaries. This presentation will provide an enjoyable visual journey around our community to view these spiritual designs. 

‘Origins of Louisville’s Legendary Originals’ Kentucky Derby, KFC, Papa John’s Pizza, Muhammad Ali, Louisville Slugger, ‘Pappy Van Winkle’ bourbon, Humana, and the ‘Happy Birthday’ song: how did these iconic names begin? Steve Wiser will provide the fascinating origins of these locally-based, world-famous legends in this fast-paced, entertaining presentation. 

“What If Louisville: How ‘Lost’ & ‘Unbuilt’ Projects might Make Louisville Great Again” Since its founding, Louisvillians have had grand visions of civic achievements. And, it has built many significant developments toward that goal.  But, many of these big ideas were never implemented and some of the high-profile projects have since been demolished for lesser quality structures.  Architect and historian Steve Wiser, FAIA, will consider how Louisville might be if these ‘lost’ and ‘unbuilt’ projects now existed.

“LOUEYwood”: Famous movies and Hollywood stars connected to Louisville (and Kentucky)

Historical Markers of Louisville: Kentucky has over 2,500 roadside historical markers and Jefferson County has the most historical markers of any Kentucky county. Steve will review the process of how these markers are made and highlight some of the more interesting markers in Jefferson County. 

“Distinctive Houses of Louisville” Louisville always rates very high as a great place to live. This presentation will highlight some of the great houses to live here in Louisville.

“Historic Movie Theaters of Louisville”: Louisville once had dozens of movie theaters scattered throughout the metro region.  Each neighborhood had at least one theater where the residents would go see the latest Hollywood production.  Steve will take you back to that time when walking to the theater was commonplace and parents didn’t need to worry about a film’s rating.  

“Kentucky Derby: History of the Greatest Two Minutes in Sports”: Steve gives the background on how the Kentucky Derby has evolved into the major national event it is today.

“Historic Houses of Southwest Jefferson County” Steve explores the landmark residences in the Valley Station, Pleasure Ridge Park, and other neighborhood of this metro region.

“Kentucky Tapestry” Daniel Boone, State Parks, Mammoth Cave, and Shaker architecture are some Steve’s topics in this fascinating talk on the personalities and landmarks that weave a wonderful composition that is Kentucky. 

Louisville’s Outdoor Art: Throughout the city there are remarkable sculptures and compositions that delight and enhance our environment. Steve will discuss these interesting designs, the artists, and stories behind their creation.

“Before Olmsted: Inspiration behind Louisville’s Olmsted Park System” Prior to Frederick Law Olmsted’s arrival in 1891, there was planning and strategy by Louisville’s civic leadership to implement the city’s wonderful parks system. Find out the who, what, when, and why in this fascinating talk.

“Cave Hill Cemetery” This scenic, historic cemetery is featured with an illustrative discussion of the famous people, decorative monuments, and other interesting aspects. Steve is the tour guide at Cave Hill and has been leading tours for over 20 years.

Cave Hill Cemetery’s Modern Monuments: In the past few decades, there have been many beautiful contemporary grave markers installed in Cave Hill Cemetery. Steve will provide an informative photo journey to view these unique works of memorial art. 

African American History of Louisville: Muhammad Ali, Slavery, Samuel Plato, Walnut Street, York, Quinn Chapel Church, etc.: this presentation highlights the remarkable black heritage of Louisville.

“Historic Houses of Southern Indiana”: Greystone Gables, Howard Steamboat Museum, and Culbertson Mansion are several of the landmark homes that Steve discusses in this talk.

“Legendary Families of Louisville” Belknap, Speed, Clark, Parrish, Avery: these are several of the notable family names that have helped make Louisville a great place in which to live. Steve will discuss their achievements and legacies. 

‘Lincoln Slept Here: Presidential History in Louisville’: While George Washington never slept here, many U S Presidents have. Find out interesting tales of their visits.

“Overshadowed Greatness: Louisville’s Role in Winning the Civil War”: Steve highlights Louisville’s Union connections to the Civil War which have been forgotten over time.

“Legendary Saturday’s in downtown Louisville” Shopping, movies, restaurants, etc., were the fun and enjoyable things to do on a Saturday in the mid-20th century in downtown Louisville. Steve recalls the heyday of downtown activities with this nostalgic talk on a memorable time in Louisville history.

“Legendary Restaurants of Louisville” Kunz’s, Cunningham’s, and Mike Linnings are all part of the celebrated dining heritage of the city. Many fabulous restaurants are now long since gone but Steve brings these memories back from yesteryear.

“Urban Legends: Legendary Tall Tales in Louisville History” Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Pope Lick Trestle ‘Goat Man’, and the Seelbach’s ‘Blue Lady’ are some of the captivating surreal stories that Steve will explore in this reality-defying presentation.

“Lost Louisville” Many beautiful landmarks have been demolished. The Rialto, the Old Post Office, and the Columbia Building have all been removed. Revisit these distinctive structures and find out why they were razed and what replaced them.

“Louisville’s Modern Architecture”: Humana Building, Gheens Planetarium, Leight House, Kaden Tower: this talk features buildings and houses of contemporary / modern design. 

“Modern Houses of Louisville” Creative, innovative, and spectacular: Louisville has many unique and stylistic modern houses. However few know of them since most are in hidden, off-the-beaten-path locations. Local architect Steve Wiser and photographer Dan Madryga have documented these artistic residences in a new book entitled “Modern Houses of Louisville”. Steve will provide a talk on these homes’ fascinating history and design. Several houses that will be featured will be: the Fahey House; the Leight House; numerous houses by architect Norm Sweet; the Osborne House; and the Needham House.

“Jasper Ward: Louisville’s Modernist Icon” Louisville is known for its traditional preference in architectural design styles.  From residential to institutional, local aesthetics tend to be based on ‘conventional’ construction.  Louisville architect Jasper Ward was anything but conventional.  A New Jersey native, Jasper brought a new approach to architectural design.  Bold forms, no ornamentation, and a ‘hip cool’ appearance, Jasper’s buildings were unique and innovative. And, the manner in which he organized his studio was likewise unconventional.  Instead of a top-down approach, he allowed his young staff freedom to express their ideas in 

his commissions.  Led by local architect and historian Steve Wiser, this talk will explore the career of Jasper Ward, a mode-breaking modernist icon. 

“Unbuilt Louisville” Since Louisville was founded, projects have been proposed but never built for one reason or another. Flying duck over the river, numerous high-rises, and towering sculptures: learn about some of the major unrealized dreams of the city.

“Legends of Louisville” Col. Harlan Sanders, the Hill Sisters, and Muhammad Ali are several of the fascinating personalities that make up Louisville lore. Who lived where and did what in this historical bio talk.

“Lincoln’s Louisville: Local Influences that Altered American History” While Abraham Lincoln only spent 3 weeks in Louisville during 1841, there are numerous connections to him throughout the city. Many little known local facts as well as notable Louisville friends of Lincoln are highlighted.

“Louisville 2035” How will our city change over the next 25 years? Find out Steve’s view in this fast paced illustrative talk.

“Why is First Street the FIRST street? History of Louisville’s street names” Jefferson, Guthrie, Preston, etc., are several of the famous names on Louisville streets. This presentation will bring to life the personalities of our road names.

“Scenic Landscapes of Louisville”: beautiful gardens and outdoor spaces in metro Louisville.

“Wildlife of Kentucky” Birds of prey, coyotes, elk, and bats are featured in this look at the animals and birds that call Kentucky home.

“Thomas Jefferson in Jefferson County” There are 26 Jefferson Counties in the U. S., but only Jefferson County, Kentucky has more references to our 2nd President and is more than just a name. Find out these local connections to Thomas Jefferson in this pictorial journey around town.

“Louisville Development History” How did Louisville evolve into the city in which it now is? This pictorial journey will start at the beginning and provide a photo description of steamboats, railroads, cars, airplanes and more!

“Green Future from the Past” Why saving and renovating historic buildings is a sustainable, energy-efficient, and economically beneficial design and construction process for cities.

Contact Steve

To schedule a talk or find out more, click on this button to contact Steve.