Community History – Covington – Rock Quarry and Prisoners Lake

Rock Quarry and Prisoners Lake

A stone quarry existed in the Devou Park area before the Devou Family presented the property to the city for use as a park. In 1916, the Covington City Commission proposed that prisoners from the Covington Jail be put to work in this quarry. A rock crusher was purchased and several small storage buildings were constructed near the quarry.

The impetus behind the decision to send prisoners to the quarry was financial. At this time, Covington was spending $18,000 per year for crushed stone for use in building and repairing city streets. Early estimates indicated that the Devou Park operation would save the city at least $10,000 per year.

On April 17, 1916, the first prisoners from the jail were transported to the quarry in the park and were put to work crushing stones. The operation was not initially successful. Prisoners were typically escorted to the quarry by a single guard. In the first few years of operation, a number of prisoners found the quarry a convenient place to escape.

Over the next few years, the level of the quarry was steadily lowered. By 1924, the quarry had been transformed into a large lake appropriately called “Prisoners’ Lake.”

Over the years the lake has been used for boating and fishing. For many years, the city sponsored fishing derbies at the lake.

Kentucky Post, March 7, 1916, p. 1, April 17, 1916, p. 1, June 28, 1916, p. 1, July 19, 1924, p. 1.

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