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From the Head of Lettice: Recipes from Historic Kentucky Cookbooks Part One

When looking back on our favorite family memories and holidays, food is often a highlight. Nothing can be quite so nostalgic as Grandma’s cookies or Mom’s best soup. Here at the library, cookbooks are among our most circulated items. For those of you learning to cook or wanting to add some local flair to your home cooked meal, the Local History & Genealogy department has four shelves of cookbooks that you can check out, bring home, and test out. These range from local restaurants’ favorite recipes, to chefs who focus on modern Kentucky cuisine, to historic cookbooks written as early as the 1800s.

In an effort to get to know this section of our collection better, I tried out three recipes from two different books and documented my progress. I decided to focus on dishes with earlier origins. With some of the recipes, or receipts as Lettice Bryan of The Kentucky Housewife (1839) calls them, it took a little creative reimagining in order to modernize the measurements and equipment to something I have in my kitchen. In other words, I opted to bake in a modern oven with set temperatures. I’m also a vegetarian – so, sorry to all you Squirrel Soup lovers, I stuck to finding something I could enjoy!

Let’s get started:

Baked Potatoes, from The Kentucky Housewife (1839) by Lettice Bryan

This recipe is from one of our earliest cookbooks by the thorough Lettice Bryan. The collection contains thousands of recipes along with suggestions of accompanying dishes, for which meal a recipe works best, and other tidbits which give a wonderful glimpse of the time period. I chose this recipe because it is simple, contains few ingredients, but also takes a familiar dish in […]

87 Years of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky History Added to Kenton County Public Library Database

The Historical Cincinnati Enquirer Database now covers 1841-2009. The expanded date range offers 87 more years of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky news coverage. The database contains digitized scans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, viewable in PDF format. The database is keyword searchable and also searchable by a specific date or page number. Articles can be saved to your computer or printed. Patrons can access the database at any branch of the Kenton County Public Library and at home with their Kenton County Public Library card.

If you are looking for something in the Kentucky Post, Kentucky Times-Star, or other Northern Kentucky newspapers, the Northern Kentucky Newspaper Index contains indexed entries to these newspapers. You can view the Kentucky Post and Kentucky Times-Star on microfilm, in the Local history and Genealogy Department at the Covington branch. The Local History and Genealogy Department is located on the upper level of the building.

Reach us at (859)962-4070 or history@kentonlibrary.org if you have questions about researching the database.

Cierra Earl, MA, Local History and Genealogy Programmer, Covington branch

Historic Pike Street Corridor Walking Tour 2017

Pike Street was once the commercial and transportation heart of the city. It is named for the Lexington Turnpike that connected Covington and the markets of Cincinnati to farmers in the Bluegrass. The original and rustic route followed a historic buffalo trail (the original terminus of the Pike was to the southwest of Linden Grove Cemetery) until it was decided in the mid-1800s that the entire length of the turnpike would be improved to make it passable year-round. Once fully macadamized (a form of gravel paving), the turnpike brought travelers from Lexington up to Georgetown, across the Eagle Hills, over the Dry Ridge, into Northern Kentucky, and finally into the heart of Covington. Later, the railroad brought even more visitors and residents to Covington, who conducted business, shopped, lived, worked, and dined all along Pike Street.

Join us on a tour of historic Pike Street every Wednesday this summer. The tour begins in the Local History and Genealogy Department and features many striking buildings and landmarks for the mile loop. With over 150 years of history, the tour provides information about Covington’s commercial, transportation, brewing, distilling, and architectural history along this essential artery. Points of interest include the former location of the Covington Brewery, the Mutual Building, the Pike Street Arcade, Duveneck Square, the New England Distilling Company, the train station at Russell and Pike, and many more. Keep your eyes open for cool little hints of history, like Stewart Iron Works seals, ghost signs, and other bits of historic character. If you take photos of the tour, be sure to tag them @kentonlibrary and #kcplwalkingtour on Facebook and Instagram!

The tour leaves from the Local History and Genealogy Department at the Covington branch located at 502 Scott Boulevard […]

Researching the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire

The Beverly Hills Supper Club fire occurred 40 years ago on Saturday, May 28, 1977. The tragic fire claimed over 160 people, making it one of the deadliest nightclub fires in the history of the United States. Many families in Northern Kentucky were affected by the fire, whether they lost loved ones, survived the fire, or assisted in the recovery efforts.

If you are interested in researching more about your own families’ connections to the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire, the Kenton County Public Library can help you with your search. First, Faces and Places includes images of individuals who were at the Beverly Hill Supper Club the night of the fire, as well as firemen, emergency responders, doctors, and clergy. There are also images of the Beverly Hills Supper Club before and after the fire, and other locations connected to the fire, including the temporary morgue at the Fort Thomas Armory, and Saint Luke Hospital in Fort Thomas.

The Northern Kentucky Newspaper Index contains indexed entries for May 30, 1977 in the Cincinnati Post. The paper was devoted to the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire. Included in the indexing are a list of names of those who perished, and those who were still missing. If you are looking for an obituary of a family member, there is a special three-page section of indexing for Beverly Hills Supper Club obituaries in List of Deaths from the Kentucky Post 1977-1978 by Wanda Blackburn Beiser.

The Local History and Genealogy Department offers One-on-One Genealogical Research Assistance for anyone needing assistance with genealogical or local history research. If you would like assistance in researching a member of your family involved in the events of the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire please contact the department at (859)962-4070 […]

Spring into Local History and Genealogy

SPRING HAS SPRUNG!!!

Flowers and trees are in bloom, the temperature is warming up, and you may be finding yourself out and about more so than in the past few months. This is the time of year to start planning and planting your garden, maybe visit a farmers market, and take a scenic stroll through your community. We encourage you to visit the Local History & Genealogy department in Covington in your quest for springtime fun; we have a number of fresh, new events on tap this spring that we hope you’ll enjoy!

Can’t make it out of the house this week? Join us on Periscope and we’ll take you with us as we explore Historic Linden Grove Cemetery on our tour Periscope: Hey, what’s that tree? On Friday, April 14 at 3:30PM. Join us live on Periscope (@KentonLibrary on Periscope on your smartphone or tablet, or at periscope.tv/kentonlibrary) for a stroll through the historic Linden Grove cemetery in Covington. We’ll have local guidebooks on hand to help us identify the fresh buds and leaves in bloom.

If you’re itching to get outside, put on your walking shoes and join us for a stroll through historic Covington. Coming up next month is our annual Historic Walking Tour, which happens every Wednesday morning this summer at 10AM, starting on May 3 and ending on September 27. We’ll talk about significant structures, their former residents, and events of times past on this one-hour jaunt down historic Pike Street in Covington.

If you find yourself bored on a rainy day, or perhaps avoiding spring pollen in the great outdoors, join us in the Local History & Genealogy department at the library instead!

Enjoy a display of older and antique dolls from the collection […]

Made in Covington: The Aqua-Cycle

Twenty-five year old Phyllis Brawley was installed as a living window display at Cincinnati’s Hotel Sinton on the day of Aquacycle’s debut. Clad in a “beach costume,” the blonde model peddled the newly-patented marine invention that allowed users to propel boats and canoes by foot power.
Spectators congregated around the window in such numbers that Cincinnati patrolman, Charles Ray, ordered that the live window display to cease–a proclamation that was met with jeers. Ultimately, the authorities demanded that manager of the Aquacycle Company, Earl Metcalfe, either stop the demonstration or be cited for interfering with pedestrian traffic. Metcalfe, a self-employed business consultant and manager of the Aquacycle Company of Covington, stated that he intended to defy police orders to meet public demand for the demonstration continue the next day. Arguably, their interest was likely inspired more by the visible shins and shoulders of Miss Brawley than the newfangled contraption upon which she was perched.
Metcalfe, who lived on a farm in Morning View in southern Kenton County, was not the inventor of the Aquacycle, but was assignor to the company when the trademark was registered in 1948. He was involved with the contraption as early as 1947, when the Aquacycle Company of Covington was chartered and valued at an eyebrow-raising $100,000 (over $1,300,000 today). The design for the “pedal or mechanically propelling and steering mechanism for boats” was the work of Dr. Byrel Billman, a physician of physiotherapy and proctology, educated at the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati. Billman created the Aquacycle as a device to propel and steer boats in places where motorized watercraft were either outlawed or impossible operate. Sportsmen were potential clients of interest, especially those who enjoyed hunting and fishing in marshy areas. Instead […]

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Courting of Ginny Hilton

 

Hail February, the month of roses and lace and stamps on Valentine cards; a prime time for a story of Northern Kentucky Love!

Here’s one: Bernard Wright Southgate Jr., son of Bernard Wright Southgate Sr. and Lallie Kennedy, married Virginia D. Hilton on the 17th of September in 1929.

Romantic, I suppose, if a bit dry. One can sit at any of our computers and find that information on Ancestry.com for free, like I just did.

 

However, what Ancestry doesn’t have is much more interesting. Now available on geNKY, the Southgate courtship letters tell a much more relatable tale. Virginia Southgate (at the time, a Hilton) kept all the letters Bernard sent her through their extensive five-year courtship, even as they both attended school and changed residences. Even though we can only hear his half of the conversation, we have a unique look into the fancies and follies between postmarks and biographical milestones.

The first letter is dated the 11th of May, in 1924, from Buffalo, West Virginia, and in it, he writes that he was surprised to receive her letter. It is quite possible (and in fact, likely, from the way he describes her personality in his future notes) that Virginia wrote first.  He does tell us she even illustrated her letters! Unfortunately, we do not possess any of those, though there are a few doodles to be seen at the bottom corner of some pages, like a Tokyo sunrise, and a black cat in a dark cellar at midnight. Bernard is modest about his artistic talents.

Virginia, or, as he refers to her, “Ginny”,  starts out in her family home at 15 Calhoun St., in Cincinnati, which is now a parking lot. Most of his letters are addressed […]

Arjay to Zag: a Brief Collection of Strange Kentucky Places

While doing your family research you might come across some towns you have never heard of. But have you ever really given any thought to where the names of towns come from? In modern times, town names come about when a post office is established. As such, it was often the post master, or someone close to them, that submitted town names to the Post Office Department. Here are 26 towns (one for each letter of the alphabet) in Kentucky with unusual names and their origins. These are certainly not the only unusual towns in the state, but a small selection. What strange town names have you come across in your research?

Arjay (Bell County): A coal town located along KY 66, 3 miles north east of Pineville. The name was created from the initials of coal operator R.J. Asher. The post office was established on Feb. 23, 1911.

Bachelors Rest (Pendleton County): 5 miles east south east of Falmouth is Bachelors Rest, so named because of the bachelors that spent time sunning themselves in front of the local store. The post office was established in 1870 (as “Batchelors Rest”) but renamed Mains in 1887 after Sarah Mains became the post master. The post office was closed in 1903

Canoe (Breathitt County): Named for the nearby Canoe Creek, this post office, 7.5 miles south by southwest of Jackson was named Canoe Fork on Aug. 14, 1891. It lost “Fork” becoming the simpler “Canoe” in 1894. Story of the creek’s name says that the creek waters got so low that a person’s canoe couldn’t be floated out and was abandoned there.

Democrat (Letcher County): Located on KY 7, 8 miles north of Whitesburg, this settlement was first named Razorblade. […]

Winter Adventurers Part 2: Emma Lee Orr’s Stories of Nome

Welcome back to Winter Adventurers, a two-post mini-series which began last February with Kate Scudder’s travels in the colder climes of Norway, Russia, and Sweden. From then to now, the winter has certainly whipped around through warmer weather, but now lets break out the marshmallow cocoa for a chat with Emma Lee Orr, a Northern Kentucky woman who found her fortune in the snows of Nome, Alaska.

Most library resources, like Kate Scudder’s diaries, are in print. We are fortunate, then, to have audio interviews with Emma Lee Orr, wherein she tells her amazing story through her own eyes. The recordings were made first on reel-to-reel tapes, then moved by the family to audio tapes, and finally made their way to digital audio through KCPL. That being said, it is best to be patient with the quality of the recordings. Mrs. Orr speaks somewhat slowly, and sometimes speaks to other people during the interviews, presumably her sisters, with whom she lived at the time they were taped. The recordings feel like a fireside chat with a grandmother spinning her tales, with the occasional divergence of subject for the sake of explanation for those of us at home who could not share in the experience.

Emma goes from beginning to end, telling us all about her voyage to Alaska and the people that changed her life. Born in Falmouth in 1881, she knew from an early age that she wanted to be a teacher, and in 1903 she began her career in Falmouth. After a bout of serious illness marked with high fever, physicians recommended that she seek a colder climate, and later that year she left for the Alaska Territory.

In the next twelve years, Emma would […]

Tips for Using Faces and Places Over the Holidays!

The holidays are a great time to browse through Faces and Places! We have thousands of images of people from the Northern Kentucky area that are just waiting to be recognized and shared. Here are a few tips for using Faces and Places.

1. Share Images Instantly on Social Media

Share images instantly to Facebook, Google +, Pinterest, Tumblr and Twitter! At the bottom of the page for each image, you will see the boxes pictured below. To share click the social media platform of your choice! This saves time, as you don’t have to copy the link or save the image.  

2. Add Comments and Tell Your Story

If you recognize someone, or yourself, add a comment to tell us more of the story behind the image. We love reading your comments and the stories found in images. Just click on the “Add Comment” button!

3. Resize and Save Images Instantly
Take advantage of the picture tabs to view different sizes of an image. Photographs can be viewed as thumbnails, medium, and full size images. You can also view the image as a PDF and save for later!

Donate Your Own Family Photograph Collections
We collect images relating to Northern Kentucky’s people, places, businesses and events. We would be excited to work with you and make your collection available to future generations. Visit our Faces and Places collection to learn more about donating photographs.

Written by: Cierra Earl, Local History and Genealogy Department – Covington