Louisville saw its first Salvationists when, in April of 1883, its new leaders, Captain J.W. Blosser, Captain Lizzie Pellatt and Lieutenant Mattie Standevere crossed the Ohio River and held their initial meeting on the Jefferson County courthouse steps. The Salvation Army quickly became an important element of local community life. Its first headquarters was established at 366 East Jefferson Street the site of Bowles Market and Hall.
In 1916, The Salvation Army took a giant step forward with the purchase of property at 216 West Chestnut Street for $30,000, and a building of a new citadel, described by the Courier-Journal as a “model for Salvation Army facilities across the nation.”
In wartime, The Salvation Army provided “huts” for the servicemen with wholesome fellowship and conveniences such as refreshments, recreation and guest rooms for visiting family. The first hut in the United States was opened in Louisville at a base that housed 45,000 men.
On January 27, 1927, Louisville became the headquarters to oversee the work of The Salvation Army in Kentucky and Tennessee. It came under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Southern Territory with its center of operation in Atlanta, Georgia. The offices for the new Louisville Divisional Headquarters were housed in the building on Chestnut Street.
A shelter for the homeless opened in 1961, located at 831 South Brook Street. In the years immediately following, other buildings were acquired where the “Center of Hope” and Transitional Housing offices stood providing services to the community.
In June 2012, all of The Salvation Army’s programs, services and administrative offices moved into their current location at the site of the former MALE High School building at 911 South Brook Street.