Local History and Genealogy

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

Anti-German Hysteria in Greater Cincinnati

My ancestor, Louis Lang, then going by the name Ludwig, emigrated from his home in Alsace-Lorraine in 1895 when he was 15 years old. On the passenger list for the ship traveling from Antwerp, Belgium to New York City, his family listed that they were headed directly for Cynthiana, Kentucky, where Louis’s eldest brother was a farmer.

Louis lived a normal life: he got married and had two daughters, subsequently divorced his wife, and spent the rest of his life as a farming bachelor before dying at the age of 47.

This all seems pretty straightforward, but Louis caused some confusion for me when I started to research him

I first read Louis’s name when I found my great-grandmother, at the age of 14 months, with her family on the 1910 census. It was there that I saw Louis was listed as a naturalized American, born in Germany. Since both of his parents were listed as also being born in Germany, I simply assumed that that side of my family was German.

But, I noticed on the 1920 census that my great-great-grandfather Louis was no longer claiming his German heritage. This time around, he listed his birthplace as France despite his native tongue still being listed as German. The 1920 census also listed Louis’s parents as being French instead of the previously stated German.

Some may argue that the reason Louis changed his country of origin was due to Alsace-Lorraine reverting from German back to French terrain. After all, in 1870, only ten years before the Langs left Europe, the region had belonged to France. (The history of the Alasce-Lorraine territory is very complicated and convoluted. Including any sort of summarization of the difficulties the region went through would […]

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. […]

Baseball and Beer: A Look at the Wiedemann Baseball Club

Summer is almost here and with it comes a lot of baseball and fine beer. After all the two go hand and hand. So lets visit a local baseball team from the past, that was closely related to the beer industry. During the early 1900s baseball was played everywhere and by everybody even women! There were often police ordinances established to prevent youngsters from playing ball in the streets in towns and cities across the area. Many businesses had their own teams, sometimes comprised of employees while others had experienced players on their teams.

Several Breweries in the Northern Kentucky area aside from being in the beer making business also dabbled in the world of baseball. Breweries such as the Bavarian Brewing Company, Heidelberg Brewery and the George Wiedemann Brewing Company all at one point in time fielded baseball clubs. The Wiedemann Club and Heidelberg club played around the same time and even faced each other on several occasions. The most prominent though was the Wiedemann Baseball Club also known as the ‘Brewers’ They were a Semi-Pro team that played baseball in Newport, Kentucky. According to team letterhead from 1909 the club was organized sometime in 1903.

 

The above letterhead from the August “Garry” Hermann papers obtained from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Hermann owned the Cincinnati Reds from 1902 to 1927. He also had a stint as the president of the National Baseball Commission. This particular letterhead was part of a note sent to Hermann from Wiedemann manager Arthur Nieman. Notice how the letter head proclaims the club as being leaders in Semi-Professional Baseball.

While researching the club between 1903 and 1907 other than a few game announcements and outcomes not many details […]

Bygone Buildings: Covington’s Changing Cityscape

Have you ever driven past an empty lot and wondered what was there before the asphalt and crabgrass? A surface lot, or even a new building in the heart of Covington, was likely erected upon the spot where another building once stood. Covington’s built environment has many intact and preserved buildings dating back as far as the early 1800s, but you might find a photo of a building in Faces and Places that you don’t recognize that was lost to development, fire, or perceived obsolescence. Here are a few examples of buildings of historic and stylistic distinction that once stood in Covington, but are now gone.

Holmes’ Castle is likely the most well-known example of lost architecture in Covington. This palatial home was the second location of Covington Public High School. The high school was originally located on Russell Street, near 12th Street, and was also torn down. Holmes’ Castle was built by Daniel Henry Holmes, a wealthy retailer. It was designed in the Gothic Revival style, which can be identified by its pointed arch windows and church-like details. With its sprawling grounds and lavishly appointed interior, Holmesdale was not D. H. Holmes’ only residence, and in 1915 (seventeen years after his death), his surviving family sold the property to the Covington School Board. The high school was moved into the residence until 1936, when it was razed and a new building constructed in its place. The décor and furnishings that remained were auctioned, and what didn’t sell was unceremoniously burned in the football field.

The Amos Shinkle Mansion is one particularly polarizing example of Gothic Revival architecture that once stood at 165 E. 2nd Street—people seem to either find it grand and exciting, or stuffy […]

Celebrate Your Heritage During Family History Month – October 2014

October is Family History Month, and what better time to celebrate your family’s heritage!

Tracing the heritage of your family can produce so many insights into the struggles and the accomplishments of one’s ancestors – the story of why your family came to live in a certain place, how family members learned a trade, what religious, fraternal or civic organizations your ancestors belonged to, what sort of awards and recognitions your ancestors received, who might be your distant cousins. With the ever-increasing amount of information available in print and online, researching the lives of your predecessors has never been easier – and more complicated at the same time! So, where to begin?

The best way to begin a family history project is to start in the present and work backwards in time – from the known to the unknown. Gather up any family documents, talk to older relatives, and peruse family photographs. Look for birth, marriage, and death information on your family members, as these are the “building blocks” of a family tree. As you work your way backwards in time, also take note of family friends, neighbors and associates. Knowing about them can sometimes provide clues to your own family’s stories.

But what do you do when you finally hit that “brick wall” in your research? What steps can you take to discover more about your ancestors’ lives? To help you with your research and in honor of Family History Month, the Local History and Genealogy department is offering a variety of programs in October to enhance your family heritage sleuthing.

The month begins with a program titled, “Did He Say Regiment, Squadron, Battalion, Destroyer or Attack Transport?” presented by Bill Stolz on Thursday, October 2nd at […]

City Directories: The Phone Book Before the Telephone

Researching the history of your house and curious about the former occupants? Or possibly searching for an ancestor that lived and worked in Covington from 1880-1889? A city directory, think phone book before the telephone, is a wonderful resource for genealogy and local history research. The directories, beginning in 1834 for Covington, contain an alphabetical listing of local residents and businesses. Later directories include separate sections for business, advertisements, and streets. City directories are particularly useful for genealogists and other researchers because not only do they list the head of household and home address, but often the first name of the spouse, other members of the household, occupation, and place of employment. In many cases, the directories note when an individual has been widowed and the first name of the deceased spouse.

A very useful section, which first appears in the 1931-1932 Covington City Directory, is the Directory of Householders or Street and Avenue Guide.  This is a reverse directory that lists the streets alphabetically along with the location, intersecting streets, and the address and name of each resident. This is an excellent resource when researching a building without knowing the name of the former resident or business.

The business directory, later titled the “Yellow Pages,” is another great tool for researchers. The entries are classified by type of business rather than name. For example, the 1900-1901 Covington City Directory includes businesses under such headings as Bee Supplies, Bicycles, Blacksmith Shops, and Boarding Shops. This section is quite helpful when one knows the type of business, but not the name, or wants to see the type and numbers of businesses in a given time and place. Did you know Erlanger had 2 plumbers and 3 restaurants […]

Cooking with the Library Month – Kentucky Inspired Cooking

July is Cooking Month at the Kenton County Public Library and today’s blog focuses on what’s available from the Local History and Genealogy Department in Covington.

Do you know how to make jellied chicken? How about hominy puffs? Have you ever had Bouilli soup? You can find recipes for these and other unusual and delicious regional dishes in our cookbook collection located in the local history and genealogy department.

Many of our books can serve as historical sketches of the region. It’s interesting to see some of the older recipes like one for Kentucky burgout from The Blue Grass Cook Book that calls for “6 squirrels and 6 birds” or what was included in the book’s recipe for a “very fine omelet.” But, while many of our cookbooks are a glimpse into kitchens of the past, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try to make some of these delicious concoctions in your own home.

If you’re looking for a challenge, you might want to try a recipe from The Kentucky Housewife by Lettice Bryan. This compilation uses a paragraph format for each dish instead of the list presentation that is commonly used in today’s cookbooks. It also calls for measurements and techniques that are atypical in today’s modern kitchen, but don’t let that scare you. In fact, we highly recommend the “plain potato soup” on page 24.

Why not give one of the books below a try (or another from our four shelves of cookbooks in the local history department)?

The Blue Grass Cook Book – K 641.5975 F793b
The Kentucky Housewife – K 641.59 B915k
Appalachian Home Cooking – K 641.5975 S682a
The Blue Ribbon Cook Book – K 641.5973 B463b
The Historic Kentucky Kitchen – K 641.5975 S278h
The Delta Queen Cookbook – K 641.5975 N753d
The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook – K 641.625 S348k

You can also check out our […]

Covington Renovation Celebration

Excitement is building in Covington!  The newly expanded and remodeled Covington Branch of the Kenton County Library is nearly completed.  This project is the culmination of a decades-long plan.  Phase one was to replace the overcrowded and very busy Erlanger Branch.  This was done in 2001.  Phase two consisted of building the new William E. Durr Branch, just south of Independence, to serve the quickly growing central part of the county (opened in 2007).  Phase three is the Covington Branch.

Covington is the flagship branch of the system with roots going back to the late 1800s.  The current building, constructed in 1973-74, needed major upgrades and enhancements.  As an example, the stairwells and fire alarm system were not up-to-code, the heating and cooling system was original, the building had no sprinkler system and the roof needed replacing.  The building also lacked many of the amenities our patrons have grown accustomed at the other two branches.

So what’s new at the Covington Branch?  First of all, you will encounter a new three-story entry pavilion.  This space is flooded with natural light and houses our new Circulation Department.  The Children’s Department has tripled in size and has its own activity room and reading garden.  This colorful area also includes a new piece of public art specifically designed for the space:   A large mosaic featuring a river scene with a child fishing surrounded by native flora and fauna.  The mosaic includes pieces of pottery and other elements donated to the library by our patrons.  The children’s area has also been decked out in kid appropriate furniture and comfortable seating for their parents.

The building now also has a separate computer lab to assist the staff in teaching technology classes and […]

Covington Walking Tours Available During #92daysofSummer

The Covington Bicentennial is in full swing and the Local History and Genealogy Department is ready with a new FREE walking tour!

Join a member of the Local History and Genealogy Department each Wednesday at 10 a.m. for a tour of the neighborhood around the library. The tour highlights and explores the people who lived in the neighborhoods around the Library 100 years ago in 1915. You’ll learn about Covington’s northern and southern heritage, architecture, and diverse commercial history. We’ll also explore some of the forgotten and lost buildings that once proudly stood in the neighborhood.

The tour is roughly a mile long, and comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended. Large groups, and anyone requiring special accommodations should contact the Local History and Genealogy Department a week in advance of the program at 859-962-4070.

Here is a sneak peak into one of the stories you’ll discover during the tour.

The Lovell-Graziani house at 326 E 2nd Street, formerly 174 E 2nd Street

 

Benjamin F. Graziani occupied 174 E 2nd Street in 1915. The house dates to the late 1870s, built in French Victorian style by Howell Lewis Lovell, of the tobacco business. Graziani was born in 1858 in Cold Spring, KY, the youngest of nine children to Italian immigrants. His father died in a steamboat explosion when Graziani was only eight years old. He attended Cincinnati Law School and graduated in 1882. In time, Graziani grew to be one of the most prominent attorneys in Covington during the late 19th and early 20th century, often appearing in the newspapers as a “promising young lawyer” at the start of his career. He worked as a criminal attorney, keeping an office building on the second floor of 510 Madison Ave. (formerly where […]

Craig Street Burying Ground: Gone But Not Forgotten

“The cemetery is a memorial and a record. It is not a mere field in which the dead are stowed away unknown; it is a touching and beautiful history, written in family burial photos, in mounded graves, in sculptured and inscribed monuments. It tells the story of the past- not of its institutions, or its wars, or its ideas, but of its individual lives, of its men and women and children, and of its household. It is silent, but eloquent; it is common, but it is unique. We find no such history elsewhere; there are no records in all the wide world in which we can discover so much that is suggestive, so much that is pathetic and impressive.” –Joseph Anderson

Autumn is here, and while we listen close for the things that go bump in the night, there is no better way to spend the bright hours of a crisp fall day than a stroll through a cemetery in the fresh October air. If you missed our Linden Grove Cemetery Tour in September, the cemetery is always open until five for a self-guided experience. While it holds great historical significance, Linden Grove is not the oldest cemetery in Covington. Few remember the town’s first graveyard: The Craig Street Burying Ground.  Now an unassuming plot of land, anchored into the background by the 6th Street underpass and zipped shut by the old C&O Railroad Bridge approach, it was once the final resting place of those first to call Covington home. Let us then relate these distant memories, lest we forget something so dear to those who came before us.

Established in approximately 1815 with the creation of the town, the Craig Street Burying Ground was the […]

Expanded Local History & Genealogy Dpt at Covington Library

The Local History and Genealogy Department has opened in its new space at the Covington location of the Kenton County Public Library. The department is now located on the top floor, and is staffed all hours when the library is open. The department’s collection includes Kentucky Biographies, Kentucky Fiction, Kentucky Non-Fiction, Kentucky Reference (containing numerous books on many Kentucky counties), city and business directories dating back to the 1830s, maps, and many more resources for doing genealogy and history research. Come enjoy the quiet workspace and dig deeper into your family history!
                   

Looking south in the Local History and Genealogy Department. The chairs and tabletops from the Carnegie library were refurbished and used in the new space.

Beth uses one of the microfilm machines to look up newspaper articles.

Need a map? The department has city, county, regional and state maps of Kentucky.

If you’re interested in accessing online databases such as Ancestry.com, geNKY, or Faces and Places, we have eight new computers dedicated to this purpose. Staff members are readily available to assist you with using these resources.

Check out our video of the new department! Have you visited the new department yet? Let us know what you think!

Faces and Places of Kenton County

My name is Cierra and I work in the Local History and Genealogy Department at the Kenton County Public Library. I assist patrons with finding answers about their ancestors and researching our vibrant history of Northern Kentucky.

One of the parts of my job that I enjoy is assisting in the scanning, indexing, and uploading  of photographs to the database Faces and Places Northern Kentucky Photographic Archive (commonly known as Faces and Places).  There are so many great stories that have been uncovered and told from photographs in Faces and Places.  This photograph database contains a wide range of topics covering schools, businesses, buildings, people and events.  I enjoy reading the comments that are left by all of you explaining the people, places and meanings behind photographs that are unknown or unidentified. I would like to encourage everyone to leave a comment or two on the photographs in the collection.  You never know—you may find a picture of yourself in our archive! You can search the Faces and Places photographs and leave comments.

In honor of Thanksgiving I thought I would share one of my favorite Thanksgiving related photographs from Faces and Places. You can leave a comment on the photograph. Are you friends with the Local History and Genealogy Department on Facebook? Post your favorite Faces & Places photo there.

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

The Fort Ancient Mound Builders of Northern Kentucky

If you grew up on a farm in rural Northern Kentucky, you may have seen prehistoric stone artifacts that were churned up out of the earth by a plow prior to planting. We are fascinated with prehistoric peoples and their ways of life, and burial mounds are no exception. Mounds are quite common in the region and can be found throughout many Northern Kentucky and Southeast Ohio counties. With the help of archaeology, we have gotten to take a peek back in time into the daily life of the peoples who inhabited the region prior to European settlement.

One of the many cultural groups that had a prehistoric presence in the Ohio Valley region was the Fort Ancient, believed to be an offshoot of the widespread Mississippian culture that dominated the Midwest and Southeast United States. The Fort Ancients lived in the region during the Late Prehistoric Period between 1000-1750 CE. Fort Ancient habitation sites are divided into three temporal spans (3):

Fort Ancient prior to 1200 CE
Middle Fort Ancient 1200-1400 CE
Fort Ancient after 1400 CE

They lived in small villages and relied on farming to cultivate most of their food, but also engaged in hunting, fishing, and gathering of wild plants (3). Fort Ancients organized their societies differently than the Mississippians, which is why we find fewer mounds of Fort Ancient origin (3) than Mississippian. Though the Fort Ancient were not the only ones, they were the most recent to build mounds in this region.

Most notably, the Fort Ancients are known for their construction of the Alligator Mound in Licking County, Ohio and their modification of the Serpent Mound in Adams County, Ohio. Mound building may have served a number of functions for the Native Americans, including protection, observation, shelter, in addition ceremonial or sacrificial purposes and burials. While several prehistoric Native American cultures […]

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 […]

Genealogy and Local History Events This Winter and Spring

Winter is a great excuse to stay inside and research your roots! The Local History and Genealogy Department, located on the 2nd Floor of the Covington branch, is sponsoring a variety of family history events in the upcoming months. The fourth Monday of each month, with the exception of December, is our Congenealogy meeting held at 6:30pm in Meeting Room 3. The meeting is open to everyone interested in local history and genealogy. Each month we have a speaker from the area presenting on a topic related to family and/or local history. Upcoming topics for February-April include using online resources to locate your ancestors, information on the Boone County Barn Quilt Tour, and a presentation on separating fact from fiction when it comes to family myths. For further information on Congenealogy, please visit the web page: http://www.kentonlibrary.org/genealogy/congenealogy.

For those of you interested in the architecture of Northern Kentucky, be sure to “tune in” for the “Grand Facades: 19th Century Architectural Styles in Northern Kentucky” Webinar on February 26 from 10am-11am. Kaira Simmons, Local History Associate, will help you identify architectural features and historic building styles of Northern Kentucky. The link to the webinar will be available through the events calendar on the day of the event.

If you are interested in Military History, you will certainly want to attend our Military Research Workshop on Saturday, March 21st, from 9am-4pm, in Meeting Room 1 of the Covington branch.  Nationally-known genealogist and military records expert Craig Scott will provide information on how to research ancestors who served in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Registration is required, so visit our web site or call 859-962-4070 to do so.

Want to spend a Saturday night […]

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 […]

Historical Online Photo Database Celebrates a Decade of Service

This March 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of Faces and Places (www.kentonlibrary.org/genphotos) , a unique online historical photo album that highlights the people, places and events of Kentucky (and some Cincinnati).  Since its inception a decade ago, the Faces and Places website has received over 9.2 million views. There are nearly 85,000 photos, 6,435 subject headings and nearly 2,000 comments.

 

This online album was created when the history staff at the Kenton County Public Library started digitizing some of its resources. They were digitizing documents and family files so that genealogy researchers around the world could obtain the information they needed without having to incur the cost of travel expenses. The staff then added photos to the mix, therefore creating Faces and Places.

 

The popularity of the photograph collection easily lent itself to a digital format. As such, staff scanned and the photos and staff and volunteers did the indexing. When the Kentucky Post, a daily newspaper, ceased publication they donated over 60,000 photographs to the Kenton County Public Library. Staff and volunteers began adding those to the database, using keywords and subject headings to make searching easier.

 

Faces and Places is searchable by surname, address, city, or subject. As the database became more well-known in the community, other area residents began donating photos to the library. One of the more significant collections was a local photography studio who donated over 1,000 photographs of greater Cincinnati scenes from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. Because of the accessibility of the photographs through the database, many have been used by local authors, in local history books, by the media, by teachers and students and by museums and local businesses.

 

With images of Riverfront Stadium, former presidents, historical homesteads and families, […]

Licking Riverside Historic Walking Tour

Perhaps you’ve driven through Covington’s Licking Riverside neighborhood many times, but have you ever taken the time to stroll along tree-lined Garrard Street or admired the slate shingles and ironwork on the homes of Greenup Street? This summer, the Local History and Genealogy department is presenting weekly tours that highlight the structures and stories of this historic neighborhood.

The Licking Riverside Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The district has many examples of different types of historic architecture that date from the mid-1800s to the early 20th century. The tour passes homes of the Greek Revival, Italianate, Bungalow, and eclectic Victorian Vernacular styles. Over a hundred years of architectural history often mingle on a single picturesque block.

Licking Riverside has been home many of Covington’s elite, including legislators, local political figures, doctors, and mayors. Many of the beautiful homes were also built as multifamily residences, apartments, and duplexes. It is also the home of the historic Covington Ladies Home at 702 Garrard, which was built in that location in 1894.

Education and the arts are also prominent in the neighborhoods’ history. The Rugby at 622 Sanford Street began as Reverend William Orr’s Covington Female Seminary. Founded after 1856, the current building at 702 Greenup that was once La Salette Academy. Down the street, the Baker Hunt campus includes the former Covington Arts Club building and still continues the tradition of art instruction today. Along the east side of the campus, a small building facing Sanford Street was once home to the Covington Natural History museum that was commissioned by Margaretta W. Hunt in the 1920s.

To hear more about these stories and others, join us on Wednesday mornings 10 – 11 am […]

Local Music Legend Series: Adrian Belew

Over the years, Greater Cincinnati has quietly been a boundless source of musical talent.  Whether it has been from the birth of contemporary rock and roll from King Records, underground hip hop from the acclaimed Scribble Jam festival, or indie rock mainstays the Afghan Whigs, Cincinnati has maintained an important role in a wide variety of musical genres in the US.  This is the first installment of blogs exploring the local talent from the area.

Adrian Belew, most famously of the prog-rock band King Crimson, is a Northern Kentucky native and Boone County High School graduate.  After picking up the guitar as a child, Belew became one of rock’s most critically acclaimed singer/songwriters and guitar virtuosos.  Besides being the longest member of King Crimson alongside founder Robert Fripp, he has recorded and toured with Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Paul Simon, Talking Heads, and Nine Inch Nails.  He is also a founding member of the Tom Tom Club (with members from the Talking Heads), the Bears, GaGa, as well as a successful solo musician.  Belew is known for a distinct guitar sound, often making his guitar mimic the sounds of animals and machines.  His art direction and guitar work have proved invaluable to dozens of records over the years.

Belew, born in Covington in 1949, spent his childhood performing in Ludlow’s Marching Band and formed his first band with friends while attending Boone County High School.  During a short time in his teens when he was unable to perform in the marching band due to illness Belew taught himself to play guitar.  A natural talent, Belew understood the complexity of the guitar and immediately picked up playing the instrument.  Belew’s first band was called the Denims, a […]

Love in Faces and Places

There is plenty of love in our Faces and Places Photograph Archive. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I thought I would share some of the love and Valentine’s Day inspired photographs in our online archive.
Anniversaries –Faces and Places contains many Silver, and Golden Wedding Anniversary photographs like this one of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Smith of Park Hills on May 5th, 1974.

Engagements- It was very popular in the 1960s and 70s for women to publish an engagement photograph in the local newspaper. Pictured is Judith Ann Stephens of Union, on June 3, 1965 who was engaged to Richard Lee Hammitt. You can search for engagement announcements in our Northern Kentucky Newspaper Index.

Weddings- A lot of happy couples on their wedding day can be found by searching Faces and Places. I especially enjoy this August 2, 1981 wedding of Helen Buschard 75, to Charlie Williams, 81. Buschard is wheeled down the aisle by Robert Williams (Lakeside Place Administrator) who gave her away at the ceremony.

Sweet Shops- Chocolates, candy, cakes and pies are all popular tokens of love on Valentine’s Day. Faces and Places has photographs of local sweet and candy shops, like this picture of Katherine Hartmann. Hartmann was the owner of Lily’s Candies at 9th and Madison, and she is ready for for the Valentine’s Day rush on February 12, 1982. Also, we’ve added local sweet shops to our Historypin account! 

These are just a few of the images of love and Valentine’s Day we found in Faces and Places. What is your favorite love inspired picture in the Faces and Places collection? Have you found a relatives engagement, anniversary or wedding photograph? Tell us in the comments below!

Written by Cierra Earl – Library Associate in the Local History and Genealogy Department at […]

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 […]

Northern Kentucky All-Stars

The region is at the eve of the Mid-Summer Classic or to the casual baseball fan the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Cincinnati and the region are set to take center stage as baseball’s best converge to face off on the diamond. What ties does Northern Kentucky have to the All-Star Game? Since the All-Star Game was first played in 1933 Northern Kentucky has had a handful of native sons break into the majors. A larger portion played before the inception of the All-Star Game. Thus we cannot really discuss them in the terms of being all-stars; many of them had fine careers that may have been all-star worthy. However a small number have stood out since then and were selected to the All-Star Game. We will talk about four individuals in this article. Two were from Northern Kentucky; well one was from Fleming County which is a neighbor of Mason County which is part of Northern Kentucky but it is close enough and we could argue all sorts of technicalities but he counts, the other was from Campbell County. The third player was born and raised in Cincinnati but played baseball in high school and college here in Northern Kentucky. The fourth was an umpire from Kenton County. So who were they? Jim Bunning, Woodie Fryman and David Justice were the players selected more than once in their careers to the All-Star Game. The umpire selected as an All-Star was Randy Marsh also a Northern Kentucky native.

Jim Bunning from Southgate, Kentucky played professionally from 1955-1971. He was a 9 time All-Star. While playing for the Detroit Tigers Jim was selected to the American League squad 7 times (1957, 1959 and 1961, 1962 and […]

Over 100,000 Local Historical Photos Available Online

Over 100,000 Kentucky Historical Photos Available Online

They say a photo is worth a 1,000 words. If that’s true, then the Kenton County Public Library has 100 million stories to tell!

The Library’s online historic photo album, Faces and Places, just added the 100,000th photo to its database. The photo, from the former Kentucky Post, is dated March 14, 1975 and features a man named Bill Penick. Why is Bill Penick’s photo important? Because he, most likely inadvertently, is now forever a part of Kentucky history. This photo is just one of thousands preserved digitally for all to see, and share, online via the Faces and Places website, www.kentonlibrary.org/facesandplaces.

 

March 2016 marked the 10th anniversary of Faces and Places, a unique online historical photo album that highlights the people, places and events of Kentucky (and some Cincinnati).  Since its inception a decade ago, the Faces and Places website has received over 9.2 million views. There are 100,411 images, 6,508 subject headings and 2,023 comments on the photos. “Comments are important,” stated Elaine Kuhn, Local History & Genealogy Services Coordinator for the Library. “They give us information that might help someone discover something new when doing research.”

This online album was created when the history staff at the Kenton County Public Library began digitizing some of its resources. They were digitizing documents and family files so that genealogy researchers around the world could obtain the information they needed without having to incur the cost of travel expenses. The staff then added photos to the mix, therefore creating Faces and Places.

 
The popularity of the photograph collection easily lent itself to a digital format. As such, staff scanned the photos and staff and volunteers did the indexing. When the Kentucky Post, […]

Professional Baseball in Covington: They built it but they did not come.

Remember the film Field of Dreams? Kevin Costner’s character builds a baseball field in the middle of his corn field because a voice told him to do it. In 1913 here in Covington, KY baseball enthusiasts and businessmen wanted to bring a professional baseball team to the city. Baseball was viewed as a great way to advertise the city. Those working to bring a club here believed the city would be placed on the map after they landed a team. Can you imagine having two different teams to root for like they have in Chicago and New York, it almost happened but it did not last long.
At the end of the 1912 season the Blue Grass League lost two teams. The Blue Grass League was a Class D Minor League which had teams in cities throughout Kentucky. In order to fill the two vacant spots the organization set its sights on the river towns of Covington and Newport in Northern Kentucky. The attempt to establish teams in Newport and Covington by the Blue Grass league was blocked by the Cincinnati Reds. As a member of a major league (the National League) the Reds had jurisdiction covering a five mile radius that forced smaller leagues like the Blue Grass League to seek permission from establishing clubs in their surrounding area. Newport and Covington both fell under this five mile radius and Garry Herrman of the Reds refused to let the teams establish on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River.   Covington almost missed out on bringing a professional baseball club to the city, but the Federal League was forming in Indianapolis and was looking to establish a team in Cincinnati or Covington. The Reds had […]