The Public landing was an area that was paved with cobble stone paving bricks that ran from the river's edge up to the first street where the train is in the picture at the lower left. The area was used as a large parking lot for people who would board the steam boat, Island Queen, for a trip up river to Coney Island or free parking for the shopping district up on Fourth Street. Sometimes other steamboats such as the Delta Queen or the Avalon (now the Belle of Louisville) would stop at the public landing.
The seeds for the decline of downtown shopping all across America are well illustrated here. Basically you had four choices where parking was concerned.
- Catch a street car or bus into the city and avoid the parking problem all together.
- Use valet parking at the Carew Tower which was very expensive.
- Feed nickels to the parking meter, and watch the clock or pay a hefty parking ticket. Worse yet your car may be towed away if the meter expired before you returned.
- Use free parking at the public landing and hike six to eight blocks all uphill. In this case you had best have been well rested because you would be tired before you began to shop up on Fourth Street.
Most of the time my family used the first option above and my father would pick us up after work at a prearranged time and location on Forth Street near the department stores.