Commissioned by the City Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, George F. Kinkead in 1964, the originally named Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion and Comfort Station, which was subsequently shortened to Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion project was put out for bids. Fifteen offers were made. The highest was for $72,299. The lowest bid exceeded the $40,000 budget city officials had set aside for the project. The successful bid accepted was from C.G. Campbell & Son, Inc., and they were awarded a contract in the amount of $49,915 with a projected “ready for use” time of early May, 1965. In October 1965, Mayor William Cowger dedicated the Pavilion and, at that time, it was officially named the McCall Shelter in honor of Alderman C.W. “Ches” McCall who was killed in an auto accident in 1962.
The Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion was originally designed by Edward Jacob (E.J.) Schickli, Jr., of Tafel–Schickli Architects. Mr. Schickli felt that a conical “wigwam” or “teepee” shaped design was appropriate as it reflected Cherokee Park’s Native American-derived name.
Nearly immediately, it became one of the most popular outdoor venues in Louisville, Kentucky, and has played host to countless family picnics, school functions, scouting events, corporate meetings, church revivals, reunions, birthday parties, weddings, and so many more social gatherings. (According to Metro Parks, it is the second most popular rental venue in their system.)
In 1974, the pavilion survived a Category F4 tornado with minor damage although Cherokee Park was heavily affected, losing over 2,000 mature trees to the twister. After 1994, the Parks Department and the Olmsted Parks Conservancy agreed to, and have set into motion plans for, the eventual demise and removal of the Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion stating, “…removing the tepee when its natural life span ends” as part of a Master Plan to recapture the original 1892 design that Frederick Law Olmsted envisioned for Cherokee Park.
In the spring of 2010, in response to local public hearings being held in reference to the implementation of a second Master Plan, a group of local Pavilion-restoration supporters organized a grassroots effort to save the structure from demolition. As a result of this group’s efforts, the Parks Department agreed to delay removal of the pavilion to allow private funds to be raised for its repair.
The Cherokee Park Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion has a history involving tens of thousands of visitors and deserves the dignity it has provided the park and its guests for nearly a half century. This fine architectural piece needs to be preserved as part of the evolutionary history of one of the most popular and beautiful parks in our community.
For more on the history of the Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion, check out the wikipedia page.