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 every Wednesday at 10 AM until September 27th, with an evening tour on July 27th at 6:30 PM, and a Saturday morning tour on September 23rd at 10 AM.
Tours last approximately one hour, and comfortable walking shoes are encouraged. Registration is not required and the tour is free and open to the public. If you have questions, please call us at (859) 962-4070.
This blog was written by Kaira Tucker, MA MSLS, Local History and Genealogy Dept. Librarian, at the Covington branch.