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Smoketown Originals, Inc. of East Louisville,

Kentucky, continuously strive to educate and support the Smoketown community regarding its vast history and heritage.

Smoketown is a neighborhood one mile (1.6 km) southeast of downtown Louisville, Kentucky. Smoketown has been a historically black neighborhood since the Civil War. It is the only neighborhood in the city that has had such a continuous African American presence. Smo​ketown is bounded by Broadway, CSX railroad tracks, Kentucky Street, and Interstate 65. The Smoketown neighborhood's name apparently comes from the large number of (smoke-producing) kilns in the area during its early brick-making days.

Some residential development by whites of German ancestry began in the 1850s, but due to the arrival of thousands of freed slaves who moved to Smoketown from various parts of rural Kentucky after the Civil War, it was solidly African American by 1870. Smoketown is the oldest African American neighborhood, settled by African Americans, in the City of Louisville.

The Sheppard Square Public Housing complex operated from 1942 to 2012. It was a housing complex that primarily housed low-income African Americans. During its seven decades of existence, Sheppard Square was home for an estimated 22,000 people. Three public schools: Booker T. Washington Elementary School (which was razed in 1970), Nicholas Finzer Elementary School (also razed) and Jackson Street Junior High School, (now called Albert E. Meyzeek Middle School) still stand. The Archdiocese of Louisville Catholic School System, operating in Smoketown, operated the St. Peter Claver School for Catholic African Americans. Other known historical sites in Smoketown include Bates Memorial Baptist Church, Lampton Baptist Church; Green Street Baptist Church; Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church; Spradling Memorial AME Zion Church, Little Flock Baptist Church; Coke Memorial United Methodist Church; Grace Hope Presbyterian Church; and the Presbyterian Community Center.


We are the "Original" Smoketown neighborhood current and former residents in  Louisville, Kentucky.  We, like many of our ancestors, were born and raised right here in the East End of the City.  We attended Booker T Washington Elementary School; St Peter Claver Catholic School; Nicholas Finzer Elementary School; and Jackson Junior High School..  We represent Smoketown with pride;  and we are committed to giving back to our neighborhood through Smoketown legacies that were bestowed upon us as children  growing up in a highly-dense historically Black neighborhood.  Smoketown (former and current) residents represent nothing short of love for one another.  Each year we celebrate a spectacular Fred T. Stoner Memorial Skating Party the last Saturday of August which brings back former Smoketown residents from all over the country to celebrate our unique Smoketown Heritage.

This chart depicts our organizational structure.  Almost all of us have been friends since elementary school. We are very proud of all the volunteers that we have in our organization that contribute to making our organization a complete success!


These Officers Ensure the Daily Operations of Smoketown Originals, Inc.

Dr. Michael L. Brooks


Chief Executive Officer

Gail Carr O'Bannon

Vice President

Chief Operations Officer

LaVita Jones, MBA

Chief Financial Officer

Sharon A. Maddox

Chief Administrative Officer

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