Russell sits immediately west of downtown. In the 1940s Russell was known as “Louisville’s Harlem” as African American theaters, restaurants, and nightclubs lined the streets. However, in the years following World War II many middle-class blacks left for newly integrated neighborhoods on the south and east ends. Today, refurbished homes, new commercial areas and revitalization projects remain on the horizon for this historic area (This includes rehabilitating the 19th century Ouerbacker Mansion on W. Jefferson Street.). Other area landmarks include the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage and Central High School.
Nearby Shawnee borders the Ohio River, Portland and California. Many of the homes in Shawnee are examples of late-19th century architecture, rivaling those found in other Louisville parts, particularly Crescent Hill. The Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Shawnee Park is a community asset, with its public golf course, sprayground and playground and unofficial billing as a central gathering place for the West Louisville community.