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To Commemorate Buffalo Trail, A Statue Is Planned For Preston And Shelby Streets

Long ago when colonizers roamed the lands of Kentucky and Southern Indiana, they learned that the best way to traverse these lands was to follow the well worn paths created by buffalo and indigenous peoples for hundreds, if not thousands of years. This pathway has been known as the buffalo or Vincennes Trace and was a pathway, according toIndiana Historic Pathways, that was as durable as any road built today.  

From the Indiana side of the River, the trace led into Kentucky. The crossing point was at the Falls of the Ohio where the river was at its most shallow. 

Now the Saint Joseph’s Area Association seeks to mark their space along the historic pathway. At the intersection of Preston and Shelby streets, on the median near Harrison and Clarks Lane, the Association would like to install a sculpture of a buffalo to add their mark to retracing the buffalo trails commemorated around the country. 

A large banner commemorating a buffalo trace along Preston Street, in Louisville, has been raised to begin a fundraising campaign by the St. Joseph Neighborhood Association. By Pat McDonogh/Courier Journal

Thank you LouToday for this article! 

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If you’re driving along South Preston Street between Zanzabar + St. Stephen Cemetery, three buffalo might stop you dead in your tracks.

Okay, so they’re not real buffalo, but the blue-hued buffalo family made of wood and wire are a representation of the 2,000-pound herbivores — also called bison — that used to walk there. 

DYK: Bison are the largest mammal in North America? 

The buffalo art pieces hanging on a privacy fence at the intersection of Preston and Brandeis are part of a larger, ongoing project dubbed “Follow the Buffalo.” 

The Wilderness Road was made centuries ago by migrating buffalo. | Photo by @theloutoday

A subcommittee of the Saint Joseph Area Association started the cause + look to raise funds to commission a public buffalo sculpture on the Parkway Village median. 

The art piece aims to beautify the area, as well as commemorate the natural history of Wilderness Road — a trail that ran through the area in the 18th and early 19th centuries. 

Wilderness Road was stamped out by migrating animals centuries ago, leading the way for human movement from as far East as New Jersey to Kentucky and beyond

Thousands of pioneers traveled the trail from 1775-1811 + it was also the lifeline for George Rogers Clark’s army at the Falls of the Ohio during the Revolutionary War. 

Other Louisville-area communities have honored the historic road and paid homage to the bison that once roamed here — like Buffalo Trace Park in Palmyra, IN. 

Donations to help commemorate our stretch of trail — today known as Preston Highway + Preston Street — can be made here.