Preserve, Enrich, Inspire



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 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 & 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 [...]

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 Lovell-Graziani House 2015   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 [...]

Spooky Stories In Your Own Backyard

Reserve a copy of Kentucky Hauntings Homespun Ghost Stories and Unexplained History by Roberta Simpson Brown and Lonnie E. Brown today! 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. 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 supernatural interests, try Haunted Louisville: History and Hauntings from the Derby City by Robert W. Parker or Appalachian Ghost Stories Tales from Bloody Breathitt by Jerry Deaton. For local hauntings, dare to turn the pages of Cincinnati Ghosts and other Tristate Haunts by Karen Laven, or The Cincinnati Haunted Handbook and Haunted Cincinnati and Southwest Ohio by Jeff Morris and Michael A. Morris. Or, if you don’t find the truth stranger than fiction, A Vampire in Covington by Tim Kelly is a new addition to our Kentucky Fiction collection that incorporates many famous people and locations from Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Join paranormal investigators Zak, Nic and Aaron as they investigate the paranormal experiences at Bobby Mackey's Music World. Also, don’t forget to read or re-read books about the widely-known Northern Kentucky haunting of Bobby Mackey’s Music World. Books in our collection include Haunting Experiences at Bobby Mackey’s by Christel Brooks, and the fictional Hell’s Gate: Terror at Bobby Mackey’s Music [...]

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