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Spooky Stories In Your Own Backyard

Looking to read about ghosts, spirits, phantoms, or unexplained phenomena? Want to read a spooky story about Kentucky or one that originates in your own back yard? Do you think your house may be haunted and want to research its history? Look no further than the Kenton County Public Library. We have numerous local history books and resources filled with haunting tales, ghost stories, and documented unexplained experiences that will give you a good fright just in time for Halloween. The true story of Pearl Bryan’s murder in Fort Thomas has captivated Northern Kentuckians for over a century, inspiring countless ghost stories and legends. Learn more about the macabre case in The Pearl Bryan Murder Story by Anthony W. Kuhnheim, Unwanted: A Murder Mystery of the Gilded Age by Andrew Young, and The Perils of Pearl Bryan Betrayal and Murder in the Midwest in 1896 by James L. McDonald . You can also read online newspaper accounts from the investigation and trial in the Cincinnati Enquirer - Historical 1841-1922 Database.  If you can't get enough Pearl Bryan, attend local author Larry Tippin's presentation on his new book The Betrayal of Pearl Bryan: Unraveling the Gilded Age Mystery that Captivated a National on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 @ 7 PM at the Erlanger Library. What hair-raising stories have you been told about what happened to Ms. Bryan’s head? Leave us a reply and let us know! Join paranormal investigators Zak, Nic and Aaron as they investigate the paranormal experiences at Bobby Mackey's Music World. If you're thirsting for spooky tales from Kentucky, sink your teeth into Ghosts Across Kentucky by William Lynwood Montell or Ghosts, Spirits, and Angels True Tales from Kentucky and Beyond by Thomas Lee Freese. If you have regional [...]

DIY Sock Snowmen of Kentucky Historic Icons

There are Craft People™, there are those who craft, and there are those who do not. I am one of those who do not. On the rare occasion I find myself artistically afflicted, I look for projects that are easy and fun, with little-to-no clean up required. Since winter in Northern Kentucky can often feel never-ending, a snow-themed project sounds like the perfect way to break up the monotony, while celebrating the season. For my chosen craft, I decided to make no-sew sock snowmen, modeled after well-known Kentucky figures: Abraham Lincoln (16th President of the United States), Colonel Sanders (founder of the always delicious Kentucky Fried Chicken), Loretta Lynn (award-winning country singer and coal miner’s daughter), and Simon Kenton (legendary pioneer and county namesake). This project is simple enough to construct, appropriate for people of all ages (as is the case with most crafts, I’d recommend adult supervision for younger kids). You’ll need white socks, scissors, polyester stuffing (rice or beans work better, though), thread, buttons, markers, ribbon, and any other supplies you deem necessary to bring your snowperson to life. Let’s begin! Turn a sock inside out and cut it into two parts, just a few inches below the heel. (Hold on to the toe-end of the sock – we’ll make a hat out of that piece later!)   Take a piece of thread, wrap it around the newly cut end of the sock, and tie a knot. Turn the sock outside in (back to the way it was originally packaged; the knot is hidden this way). Fill the sock full of polyester stuffing (or rice or beans) and shape along the way in to a snowman silhouette. Then separate the two spheres of [...]

Using The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

USING THE SANBORN FIRE INSURANCE MAP We’ve done a blog post in the past concerning our Sanborn Fire Map collection, and I wanted to go one step further; while the previous post dealt with the nature and scope of the collection, I wanted to show you how to use the maps for your property research.  We have digitized maps from 1886, 1894, 1909, and 1909-1949 for Covington and vicinity, and a subscription for the entire state of Kentucky in the years that are digitally available; print maps of Covington (Vol 1) and the surrounding areas (Vol  2) that originated 1909 and are physically updated through about 1950; and 1946-1992 on microfilm. I begin below with an annotated graphical introduction to the characteristics of the maps and a view of the Sanborn’s key map.  Whether in print, digitized, or on microfilm, each ‘map’ is a set of multiple pages of enlarged maps preceded by a key map and symbol key.  Each year has slightly different symbols and color codes, so be sure to check the key for the year that you are using. Since the Sanborn maps are of more densely settled areas, I’ve also included a view from a county atlas in our collection so that you can see the types of information included in these resources in comparison to the Sanborn maps. Lastly, I’ve included a view of the enlarged map of a property in Covington in 1886; on this map I’ve noted the characteristics that can be either directly observed or interpreted through the use of the key.  USING THE SANBORN FIRE INSURANCE MAPS TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR HISTORIC PROPERTY One of the most important things to know when trying to read any [...]

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 [...]

Spring into Local History and Genealogy

Join us for one of our Historic Walking Tours! 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 [...]

Local Librarian Named as a Mover and Shaker

Photo credit: Michael Wilson Ann Schoenenberger of the Kenton County Public Library has been named a “Mover & Shaker” in the library industry by the national publication Library Journal. In its March 15, 2017 issue, Library Journal named 52 outstanding professionals committed to providing excellent service and shaping the future of libraries. Ann was selected for her commitment to the profession and innovation in working with the community.   Ann currently serves as a Digital Librarian for the Kenton County Public Library. As Digital Librarian, Ann oversees the Library’s e-newsletter, the library’s marketing segmentation program and chat services. Ann has also been using innovative technology to engage people who may not otherwise use the library.   This year’s class of 52 joins a group of talented professionals who are dedicated, innovative, and passionate about their service to the library and their community.   The STEM/STEAM movement, which focuses on science, technology, engineering, (arts), and math, has been steadily working its way through schools and libraries across the nation. From this movement, maker spaces have been developed. A maker space is a place where people of all ages can go to conduct hands-on activities and projects with a variety of traditional tools, such as a sewing machine, or by using more current digital technology such as a 3D printer.   Ann has worked to make strong partnerships with local web developers, tech companies and the maker community. She encouraged user groups to use the library and hosted Coder & Maker Club workshops on soldering, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Python and physical computing. Through the use of Coursera MOOCs and help from tech mentors, she offered a complete 12 week "Beginning Programming" course that evolved into a [...]

The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919 in Northern Kentucky

We are creeping into that time of the year again: autumn. Autumn is all kinds of fun: pumpkin-flavored everything, apple cider, trick-or-treating, and a crisp, cool air that we are always pining for following the dog days of summer. Cool weather shoos us inside more often than summer, however, and germs are more easily spread in close proximity to others. Cue flu season, that nasty fact of life that persists from roughly October to March. Ninety-eight years ago this month, the country at large was experiencing one of the most severe outbreaks of flu in its history. Cue the constant hand-washing, and stock up on hand sanitizer, because we are about to venture into a brief, local history of the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919. Influenza comes with a slew of uncomfortable symptoms that we also associate with the common cold, but multiplied in intensity. Influenza can be life threatening to those with comprised immune systems such as the elderly and very young. Between three to five million severe cases of influenza occur each year throughout the world, with death tolls from the flu, or complications from it, ranging from 250,000 to 500,000 worldwide (1). Some years, however, the primary strain of influenza is particularly virulent and panic-inducing: for example, the Swine Flu Pandemic of 2009. The fall of 1918 happened to bring with it one of those flu strains, and was quite possibly the largest outbreak of disease in the 20th century United States. Panic Ensues The Public Health Service began requiring states to report cases of flu starting on September 27, 1918, coincidentally the date that influenza is estimated to have arrived in the state of Kentucky (2). The first newspaper reported death [...]

Craig Street Burying Ground: Gone But Not Forgotten

From the City Atlas of Covington, Kentucky 1877 on page 22. Atlas is available in the Local History and Genealogy Department. “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 [...]

Adult Kentucky Authors

L. Walker Arnold Harriette Arnow Wendell Berry Elizabeth Bevarly Martha Griffith Browne Harry M. Caudill Marilyn Dungan Kim Edwards Ron Elliott William E. Ellis John Fox Ann Gabhart Janice Holt Giles Joey Goebel Sue Grafton Elizabeth Grayson Lynn S. Hightower B.J. Hoff bell hooks Silas House Gayl Jones Jack Kerley Barbara Kingsolver George Ella Lyon Sharlene MacLaren Deanna Mascle Bobbie Ann Mason Ed McClanahan Luann McLane Fern Michaels Beverle Graves Myers Sena Jeter Naslund Elizabeth Oakes Chris Offutt Johnny Payne Betty Layman Receveur Karen Robards Gwen Hyman Rubio Rebeca Seitz E. Joan Sims Verna Mae Slone James Still Jesse Stuart Jim Tomlinson Frank X. Walker Robert Penn Warren Jan Watson Crystal Wilkinson Deborah Woodworth

Guest Post: Staycations in Kentucky

This week we are excited to have a guest post by Deborah Kohl Kremer. Deborah is a local freelance reporter and author of An Explorer's Guide; Kentucky. We also have an awesome giveaway at the end of the post. As the summer season approaches, we tend to look forward to the longer days, warmer temperatures and finding an answer to the familiar question, where are you going on vacation?   One way to end the monotony of looking for hotel deals from the former commander of the Space Ship Enterprise, counting up for credit card points for a stand-by airline seat, and trying to figure out if your family can fit in a compact or an economy rental car, is to cast it all aside and put your efforts into a Staycation. Sleep in your own bed, make breakfast in your own kitchen then hit the open road, finding destinations full of outdoor fun, history lessons, and even….. right here in Kentucky, all  take about a two hour drive or less from Kenton County. 3rd Street in Maysville Head east to the darling river city of Maysville. In addition to their walkable downtown with cute shops, restaurants and art galleries, Maysville is home to the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center a fabulous place to learn about the area. Actually three museums in one, they host a historical reference library, a regional history museum and a miniatures museum.  The first two are a history-lovers paradise, but if you have anyone in your party who is not all that into history, it is hard to not be captivated by the Kathleen Savage Browning Miniatures Collection. The collection is giant but each scene, house and room is a recreation [...]