The purple house at 527 Russell Street

Over the summer the staff of the Local History and Genealogy Department will be posting a blog to go along with the stops for our virtual walking tour A Rainbow of Kenton County Houses. The blogs will highlight local history and genealogy resources available at the Kenton County Public Library, in-depth looks at the history of the property or its inhabitants, and/or research strategies.

The home at 527 Russell Street has a strong connection to the Covington Fire department through having several residents living there at various points working in some capacity for the department, whether they acted as volunteer fireman or in an administrative position.

The Covington Fire Company No. 1 near Washington Street circa 1900. Photograph courtesy of Faces and Places: Northern Kentucky Historic Photograph Database.

John Lutter, the most well-known resident of the address, had a son named Joseph that worked for many years at the Covington Fire department as a volunteer fireman. He was also employed as an optician in downtown Covington. Another son of John’s, Alphonse otherwise known by his nickname Barney, was a switchboard operator for the fire department. He eventually became a fireman as well. Barney was involved in a few major rescues, including an attempt to save two boys that fell from a trestle into Banklick Creek. I was able to find some these anecdotes by searching our newspaper database for articles in the Kentucky Post and Kentucky Enquirer. Lastly, Matthew Kloeker who lived at 527 Russell in the 1960s, was also a fireman, though he volunteered with the Southern Hills Fire department in Edgewood. Matthew’s son, Matthew Kloeker, Jr. was also a fireman at the Southern Hills Fire department.

I was able to further trace the residents of this address and find these occupational connections using census records and city directories found here in the Local History and Genealogy Department. The Local History and Genealogy Department is located in the Covington Library and is open to researchers. We highly encourage patrons to make a reservation before their visit by calling (859) 962-4070.

This blog was written by Casey Blackmore, MLIS of the Local History and Genealogy Department. If you have any questions, please send us an email at or give us a call at (859) 962-4070.


Watch the purple house tour on Youtube!

Join us on Wednesday, August 25, 2021 as we explore a multi-colored house at 703 Bakewell Street.


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