Crawfish Bottom: Recovering a Lost Kentucky Community


Crawfish Bottom: Recovering a Lost Kentucky Community

Access Type

Online access to this book is restricted to the University of Kentucky community.


Access this book

Download Full Text


A small neighborhood in north Frankfort, Kentucky, Crawfish Bottom was located on fifty acres of swampy land along the Kentucky River. “Craw's” reputation for vice, violence, moral corruption, and unsanitary conditions made it a target for state funded urban renewal projects that replaced the neighborhood with Frankfort's Capital Plaza in the mid 1960s. This book traces the evolution of the controversial, yet close-knit community that saw 400 families ultimately displaced by urban renewal policies. Using oral histories and first-hand memories, this book not only provides a record of a vanished neighborhood and its culture but also exemplifies the ways in which this type of study enhances the historical record. A former Frankfort policeman described Craw's residents by saying, “They were a rough class of people, who didn't mind killing or being killed.” This book challenges history's judgmental stance by understanding how the former residents of Craw, sometimes unified by their memories and nostalgia, re-imagine and frame their community's history and how this process influences their sense of place.

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY




978-0-8131-3409-3 (pdf version)


978-0-8131-4012-4 (epub version)



Oral history, Community, Identity, Place, Frankfort, Kentucky, Urban renewal, Public memory, Nostalgia, African Americans


Cultural History | Oral History | United States History


Foreword by W. Fitzhugh Brundage.

A Web site about this book is at: A related video is embedded below.

Streaming Media