Terrazzo Maps Out Early American History

Terrazzo Maps Out Early American History

frazier history museum terrazzo

One of first things you notice when you reach the second floor of the Frazier History Museum is an intricate map of the American colonies, complete with waterways, towns, and topographic contour lines. But, it’s not in a display case or framed on the wall. You’ll find it beneath your feet, as an amazing terrazzo floor, leading you on an incredible journey through early America. Located in a historic building in downtown Louisville, Frazier History Museum is home to a collection of historical arms and artifacts. 

When Mr. Owsley Brown Frazier, the original owner of the building, decided he needed a place to display his historical arms and other artifacts, he presented Rosa Mosaic & Tile with a challenge. While he wanted the first floor to remain neutral, he asked that the design for the second floor create a historic vignette of colonial America. 

frazier history museum terrazzo map

“They wanted to show geographically where the colonies were located and highlight some of the waterways and towns that were important and the trek westward,” Anna Tatman of Rosa Mosaic & Tile said. 

Because of the blending that was done to create the shoreline of the Atlantic and the topographic aspects of the land, much of the design is done without divider strips. To make sure the shop drawings would be replicated on the floor, Rosa Mosaic worked hand and glove with artist Tom Pfannerstill. Tatman said a large part of Pfannerstill’s job was to ensure there was a good transition between different shades of blues that create the sense of shallow to deep water. Pfannerstill also worked with Rosa Mosaic to make clear distinctions between the Appalachian Mountains and the flat lands.

Fraizer history museum terrazzo waterway 

Because of terrazzo’s design flexibility, Tatman said it was the perfect material for the design of the Frazier Museum floor. 

“It gave us incredible design capabilities to help create history—in the floor—of the early American experience.”


Job Name: Frazier History Museum (Louisville, KY)

Client: The Frazier History Museum Board of Directors 

Terrazzo Contractor: Rosa Mosaic & Tile Company  (Louisville, KY)

Architect: K. Norman Berry Associates (Louisville, KY)

General Contractor: Bosse Mattingly Constructors (Louisville, KY)

Terrazzo Material Suppliers:

                Epoxy: Key Resin Company (Batavia, OH)

                Chips/aggregate: Terrazzo & Marble Supply Companies (Wheeling, IL)

                                             Key Resin Company (Batavia, OH)

Divider Strips Supplier: Manhattan American Terrazzo Strip Company (Staley, NC)

Photography: David Laudadio

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