The History of the Galt House
The history of the Galt House begins in 1835, when Colonel Ariss Throckmorton first opened our doors on Second and Main streets. This original location was formerly the home of Dr. W.C. Galt, thus inspiring the hotel’s name. At this time, the Galt House, noted as the best hotel in Louisville, was a 60 room hotel welcoming many renowned guests including Jefferson Davis, Abraham Lincoln, and Ulysses S. Grant. When the Civil War began in 1861, the Galt House served as a meeting place for Union generals and a base of operations for General William “Bull” Nelson.
On January 11, 1865 the New York Times reported that the Galt House was destroyed after being engulfed in flames. The cause of the fire has forever been a mystery, but the story of the Galt House continues. In 1869 Henry Whitestone designed and rebuilt the second Galt House on First and Main Streets. However, when the 20th century began, business and social life gravitated to the Broadway district and the Galt House saw less traffic and less revenue. This led to the hotel closing its doors in November of 1919, and the building was demolished in 1921.
As the years went by, Louisville’s Waterfront district had been forgotten and essentially abandoned. However, in 1970 A.J. Schneider saw the Waterfront as an opportunity to recreate a robust and thriving business district. To do this, he knew the district needed a convention hotel, so in 1972 he brought the Galt House back to life, directly on the river. At this time, the Galt House was only one tower, with the second tower following in November of 1984. This addition brought the number of guest rooms to 1310, making the Galt House the largest hotel in the state of Kentucky.
Since then, the Galt House has undergone many renovations, including a major renovation that began in 2018. This year, the Galt House will celebrate our 75th Anniversary and we are proud to still be the best hotel in Louisville! Currently, we offer 1,239 guest rooms and suites, 71 residences, 7 restaurants and bars, 53 meeting rooms, a salon-spa, a rooftop gym, and a spectacular view of the river. Visit us today and see all that we have to offer!