links and miscellany

Kenton County was the 90th county formed in Kentucky.  The law enacting Kenton County was passed on January 29, 1840 and the county was formed on April 30, 1840 from a part of Campbell County. Its boundaries are unchanged since March 1, 1866. It has an area of 161.9 square miles, making it the 114th largest of Kentucky's 120 counties.

Discover the highest point in the county.

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Chicago's Newberry Library has posted online a complete set of maps of American counties formations. They start with the date of county formation, and trace every little change to the boundaries after that. Kenton County has had only 1 such change, and you can see the Kenton maps here (pdf). To see the counties from which the county was formed, you'll have to download the entire Kentucky state pdf. There's also a feature that you can use to import all this data into Google maps. Good stuff!

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simon kenton Simon Kenton
Simon Kenton   He's buried in Urbana, Ohio.

There's a site devoted to Simon Kenton, the man for whom Kenton County
 is named, here.  Kenton was formed January 29, 1840 from Campbell County.

You can go to Google Books and find several long-ish pieces on the life on Simon Kenton, some book length, some entire chapters in other books.  Search for “Simon Kenton” - use the quotes.  You can read the ones that say “Preview.”

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We'd argue that before TV and radio, Covington residents were more likely to be more well read than we are today, more social than we are today, drunker than we are today, and more likely to attend church than we are today.

Speaking of more social, the WPA compiled a list in 1942 of social organizations in Kenton County. Their Guide to Civilian Organizations lists groups, and officers, but not members. It's 76 pages long, and the whole thing is online at UK.

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seminary 

The Covington Female Seminary, 
from the booklet described below 
(between Scott, Greenup, 7th & 8th)

 

In 1922, Mrs. Eleanor Childs Meehan published her remembrances of Old Covington.  She was 80 or so at the time she wrote them, so she's going back before the Civil War.  She gives exceptional detail on what was where, who operated what business, etc.  We think if you're interested in Covington history, you'll find it fascinating.  She published two booklets, an original , and a supplement.

 The original is here.  The supplement is here.

A similar document is a detailed childhood remembrance from Alvin Harlow, published in 1936, here (pdf).

Yet another remembrance, from Russell Swain Clark, is here (pdf).

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The Kenton County Historical Society has all of their old Bulletins online, here, plus, they're indexed

They've also updated John Burn's 466 page A History of Covington Through 1865, all online, here.

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Here's a curious collection of documents from the 1860-1940's, from the post office, with town names, maps, and name changes. You really should start here, and they might make more sense to you. All are pdf's.
Atwood Banklick Buffington Covington Crescent Springs Dry Creek
Erlanger Ernst Fiskburgh Grants Bend Greenwood Honesty
Independence Kenton Key West Latonia Springs Ludlow McGill-Taylor
McVean Milldale Morgansville Morning View Mullinsville Nicholson
Piner Pruett Ryland Sandfordtown Scott South Covington
Springlake St. John's Asylum Staffordsburg Towers Visalia White House

Robert Rennick has written about the history of Kenton County with an emphasis on the post offices, here (pdf).

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The 1914 L&N Shippers' Directory described Covington like this. 1861 law covered which birds you can and can not kill in Kenton County. Mrs. Calvin Weakley's A Drive Out Madison Pike, from 1954, can be read here (pdf)
Dr. U. R. Bell's history of Kenton County is here. Nelson C. Nye wrote on the History of Covington here (pdf). Dr. Charles Reynolds wrote this (pdf) on the history of Covington.
Covington attorney Harry Mackoy wrote on the Early History of Covington (pdf), The History of Covington and Kenton County (pdf), on the Western Baptist Theological Seminary (pdf), and on the Dixie Highway in North Kentucky. (pdf)
A List of Kenton County Historical Markers is at this site. This site has a broad collection of documents relating to Kenton  County Baptists and Kenton County Baptist Churches. L. J. Dooley's Chronology of Kenton County history is here. (pdf)

A tree grew in Nicholson which was, literally, a civil war veteran.  The Highway Department cut it down.  By mistake.  Read it here.

In 1969, Edna Talbott Whitley compiled a list of Cabinetmakers in Kentucky.  The Kenton County portion of that list is here. Mr. Robert S. Tate's Grass Roots of Kenton County, from 1953, can be read here. (pdf)
Civil War prisoners from
Kenton County, here.

 

Read all about the troop transport ship, the USS Kenton, at this site.
Harry Hartke wrote a short history of Kenton Co in 1917.  It's here. (pdf) A 1931 piece on the Williams Natural History Collection at the Baker-Hunt Foundation is here. (pdf) The Kentucky Progress magazine featured Covington in this article, (pdf) from 1929.
Kenton County On-Line is at this site. The Mainstrasse Village's site is here. Their page has a link to a page on its history.

A site dedicated to the bridges of Kenton County is here.

In 1904, Iowa's William Leathers remembers his boyhood Covington, here. The Covington Blue Sox join the Federal League.  Read about them at sites here, and here. In all fifty states, only Kentucky
has a county named Kenton.
An early, shorter history of
Covington is here. (pdf)

Margaret Strebel Hartman's Glimpses of Covington Through 1839-1840 is here (pdf)

A few short words on Covington
Radio Stations, here.

Red remembers Kenton County at this site.

Where do the Covington Riff Raff Live
in 1901?  Find out here.

A site with Kenton County
Cemetery Records is here.

Kenton County sites placed on the National Places of Historical Places are here.

A status report from the Superintendent of Schools in Kenton County from 1900 is here. The 1907 report is here.

The origins of Covington's Afro-American B.P.O. Elk's is here.

The origin of the name Peaselburg, the various attempts to change it, and why, here.

Notable Citizens of Kenton County,
in 1847, here.

The Kenton County GenWeb
site is here.

Covington held blackouts during WWII. If you're not clear on what that is, Wikipedia's blackout page can help.
North Bend Baptist Association's history is here (pdf). Alice Read Rouses writes a synopsis of the news from a cache of Northern Kentucky newspapers from 1836-1851. Read it here (pdf). In 1906, the Courier-Journal published a list of out-of-state residents who would come home to Kenton County.
Read the details about the Covington Damage in the tornado of 1915 here. The complete pics and texts from the tornado are here. Covington couple jailed in 1868 for adultery, here. An 1832 description o Covington
Going from Ludlow to Erlanger in 1906. In a gas balloon. The WPA produced this draft (pdf) on a variety of historical Kenton subjects, including St. Mary's, Covington Presbyterian, the Masons, historical houses, Pleasure Isle, Ludlow, Covington, Monte Cassino, Summit Hills, and other towns and villages.
Robert Dorsey's essay on Covington founder Thomas Kennedy is here. (pdf) A piece on German Pioneer Society in Covington from 1877 to 1902 is here (pdf) A list of the first autos registered in Kenton County is here.
In 1937 UK released surveys of known archaeological sites by county.  Kenton County's is here. (pdf) B. F. McGlasson wrote this piece on Kenton County in 1907. “The whipping post is still in use in Covington.  A man named Lawrence Hunt, was palpably whipped in that place last week, for stealing caps.”  Greencastle (Ind) Banner, December 6, 1854

A perspective on where the glaciers were in Kenton County is here.

Covington takes its name from Leonard Wailes Covington, an American General of the War of 1812.  His Wikipedia page is here.  Trivia: Covington's ancestors,  from the Alsace area of Germany, spelled the name Korfingthan or Kurfingthan.

Covington pioneers meet in 1877

Here's a short description of Covington from 1817.

Bristow Road is named after a family named Bristow, about whom you can read more at this site.

In 1892, the first 12th Street bridge over the Licking Collapses, killing 40 men.  The Enquirer's story is here.

An Outrage reported to the Freedman's Bureau in 1866, here.

Original owner of Covington trades it for a keg of whiskey?  A quarter of a buffalo?  Yup.  Details,  here.

Barber's

From 1896, here's a list of union barbers in Covington. We will leave for someone else the question of why barber's needed a union, but would ask you to note in the price list that for 20 cents, you got singing.

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You can find lots of additional Covington and Kenton  County images at the Cincinnati Public Library's site.  Here.

staR Kenton County Library's Faces and Places site has 100,000+ Northern Kentucky images. Here. staR

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In 1914, here's what the L&N's Industrial Freight and Shipper's Guide had to say about: 

Kenton Springlake Latonia

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In 1967, Northern Kentucky historian Chester Geaslen wrote the Kentucky Historical Society on the various Civil War fortifications in Kenton County.  He  also drew a nice map of where they were.  See both here (pdf)

The route of the Lexington Turnpike evolved over time.

“Mrs. Emma R. Coe announced a lecture on 'Woman's Rights' in this city on Monday evening last.  The subject was not attractive, only four or five persons being present at the appointed time.  It is a fair inference that the women of Covington enjoy all the 'rights' they care about, and have nothing more to ask for.”  From the Covington Journal, April 19, 1856. “There is strong talk of incorporating [Peaselburg] and changing its name to Wolfsville in honor of Mr. John Wolf, ex-member of the Legislature.  The only objection to the name is that strangers moving in would think the village was so named on account of the "wolves" (bad boys) who make it a practice of inroading upon vineyards and orchards stealing fruit and destroying shrubbery.”  The Ticket,  June 29, 1876
The 1858 Kenton County Fair. Lawyers of Kenton County, 1872, here.
Outgoing President of the Industrial Club of Covington, Richard Stewart, recommended a number of things that Covington should do for the future, including such things as:  Two or more free bridges to Newport; Better Pikes into the city; More shade trees on residential streets; An extension of street car lines to Erlanger and Independence;  and Annexation of all cities from Bromley to Dayton, allowing for a city with a population of 150,000 instead of 55,000, and “put Northern Kentucky on the map forever.” from the Kentucky Times Star, May 8, 1914

We recommend the map of all the old Kenton County Trolley lines at this site.

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The Pioneers Association was organized in 1834.  We know of at least two papers read before their
meetings, one by William Mackoy, talking about the early days of Covington, when everything
west of Madison and south of Sixth was “a forest of large timber.”

The other is by Mr. H. H. Martin, who arrived in Covington in 1818.

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Covington celebrated it's centennial in September, 1914. There was a song written for the
occasion, the Ode to Covington.  Here's page one and here's page two of the sheet music.

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Owners of enslaved people ran ads in Covington newspapers seeking their recovery. Examples are here.

“Cincinnati, August 27. - Two fugitive slaves, belonging to Robert W. Ingraham, who escaped from Kentucky in March last, have been arrested here, remanded to their master, and taken to Covington. They were arrested quietly.” The National Era, September 2, 1858 Negro man narrowly avoids being lynched in Covington, here.
Six enslaved people escape “good” slaveholder in 1857, here.
“ A couple of valuable slaves escaped, day before yesterday from G.W. Ball, Esq., of Covington.” Cin. Commercial., Sat . reprinted in Frederick Douglass’s Paper, November 3, 1854

“UNDERGROUND - MORE ARRIVALS - Monday morning, shortly after daylight, sixteen "chattels" - three men and five women, and eight children - passed down the avenue and over the ferry, becoming subjects of the British Crown, and renouncing their claim to protection under the "glorious stars and stripes." Republicanism, as far as they are concerned, they pronounce a decided failure - the greatest humbug of the times. These all came from Covington, Kentucky.” Detroit Tribune,  reprinted in the Provincial Freeman, December 16, 1854

Nine enslaved people caught, returned to Covington, a “den of villainy,” here.
Covington deals with an abolitionist, here.
Twenty-one enslaved people escape from Covington, here.
Slave catchers meet up with escaped Covington enslaved Kit, but it doesn't go well for them, here.
In 1864, post-Emancipation Proclamation, former enslaved people from nearby counties come to Covington “in swarms” to enlist in the Union army. Story here.
“A runaway negro, recently "picked upland valued at $1,000, is about to be sold in the Covington, Ky., jail to the highest bidder.” Douglass’ Monthly, February, 1859 “The Grand Jury of Kenton county, Ky., on the 21 inst., indicted four colored men for settling in Kentucky from another State, contrary to the organic laws of this State.”from the [Louisville] Daily Courier, January 26, 1868
“Taken up by M. H. Brand, as a runaway slave, on the 22nd ult., in the city of Covington, Kenton County, Ky., a negro man calling himself Charles Warfield, about 30 years old, but looks older, about six feet high; no particular marks; has no free papers, but he says he is free, and was born in Pennsylvania, and in Fayette County.  Said negro was lodged in jail on the said 22nd ult., and the owner or owners, if any, are hereby notified to come forward, prove property, and pay charges, and take him away.”  from the Frankfort Commonwealth, October 21, 1852
Courts were not on the side of slaves, or former slaves. An example. Dr. Ross helps Peter and Polly get to Canada
Kidnapping free people not in slave states and taking them to slave states to be sold was a thing. Enslaved boy chained in closet.
Forty-seven Covington enslaved people make it to Canada, here. Escaped enslaved people walk from Kenton County to Canada, here.
The Boone County Library has a web site detailing known slave escapes from Northern Kentucky. The Kenton only list is here. Evangelist L. O. Spencer reports on the status of the faithful in Erlanger, Covington, and Crescent Springs, c. 1905.
Thirteen Covington enslaved people make it to Canada, here. Six Covington enslaved people make it to Canada, here.
“Another Escape of Slaves.   Six slaves belonging to Mr. Levi Dougherty, who lives on Fourth street, between Madison and Russell, Covington, Ky., together with two belonging to Mr. Gage, residing in the same neighbourhood, made their escape from bondage on Sunday night. They crossed the river about eleven o'clock, and ere this are far on their way towards Canada. Their aggregate value to their owners was about eight thousand dollars.”  Provincial Freeman, February 9, 1856 “UNDERGROUND - MORE ARRIVALS - Monday morning, shortly after daylight, sixteen "chattels" - three men and five women, and eight children - passed down the avenue and over the ferry, becoming subjects of the British Crown, and renouncing their claim to protection under the "glorious stars and stripes." Republicanism, as far as they are concerned, they pronounce a decided failure - the greatest humbug of the times. These all came from Covington, Kentucky.” -Detroit Tribune,  reprinted in the Provincial Freeman, December 16, 1854
Henry Young, born in Germantown, relocated to Covington. Then to Canada. Enslaved people from Covington escape to Canadian 1854, here.
Free man kidnapped, taken to Covington to be sold as slave, here. 1853 enslaved person case in Covington, here.
“A couple of valuable slaves escaped, day before yesterday from G.W. Ball, Esq., of Covington.” Cin. Com., Sat . reprinted in Frederick Douglass’s Paper, November 3, 1854 “A runaway negro, recently "picked upland valued at $1,000, is about to be sold in the Covington, Ky., jail to the highest bidder.”  Douglass’ Monthly, February, 1859
“The Cincinnati Gazette of Tuesday says: "Two negro women, one mulatto girl, one negro man, and two black boys, slaved belonging to Esq. Beall, of Covington, escaped from their servitude on Thursday night last, crossing the suspension bridge to Newport, thence Ohio. They have not yet been captured.” Frederick Douglass’s Paper, August 11, 1854 Cincinnati, August 27. - Two fugitive slaves, belonging to Robert W. Ingraham, who escaped from Kentucky in March last, have been arrested here, remanded to their master, and taken to Covington. They were arrested quietly.” The National Era, September 2, 1858
“Another Escape of Slaves. Six slaves belonging to Mr. Levi Dougherty, who lives on Fourth street, between Madison and Russell, Covington, Ky., together with two belonging to Mr. Gade, residing in the same neighbourhood, made their escape from bondage on Sunday night. They crossed the river about eleven o'clock, and ere this are far on their way towards Canada. Their aggregate value to their owners was about eight thousand dollars.” Provincial Freeman, February 9, 1856 “In Kenton County, Amanda Bishop, a daughter of Henry Bishop, a colored Sergeant in the United States Army, was taken while at work and beaten with a club until she was  senseless, because she worked for a Union citizen, and refused to work for the rebel who beat her.”National Anti-Slavery Standard, October 12, 1867
In his Recollections and Experiences of an Abolitionist, Alexander Milton Ross details his efforts in helping an enslaved Covington man reach Canada.
After slavery, we gets ads like these. Literally, Covington man is sold down the river.

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These are the links to the official city sites of:

Crescent Springs Covington Fort Mitchell Independence Edgewood Bromley Park Hills
Elsmere Crestview Fort Wright Ludlow Erlanger Lakeside Park Villa Hills

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An 1840 City Directory of Covington (pdf).

In 1876, the R. L. Polk Company published The Kentucky State Gazetteer and Business Directory, which listed information about virtually every town in Kentucky.  The listings from Kenton County are these:
Banklick Covington (pdf) Kenton Scott Independence
S. Covington Ludlow Ryland Visalia Morning View

 

In 1883-84, the R. L. Polk Company updated their Gazetteer, with these Kenton County entries:
Banklick Erlanger Grants Bend Independence Kenton
Key West Ludlow Milldale Morning View Visalia

An earlier Gazetteer published in Louisville, was George W. Hawes' Kentucky
State Gazetteer and Business Directory, for 1859 and 1860. 
It's pre-Civil
War, and only has detail on, other than Covington, these two towns:

Covington (pdf) Independence Visalia

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Membership Lists from Kenton County Masonic Lodges in 1890:
Covington, 109 Covington, 159 Covington, 345
Fiskburg Independence Ludlow

 

Membership Lists from Kenton County Masonic Lodges in 1911: (pdf's)
Covington, 109 Covington, 159 Covington, 345
Erlanger Fiskburg Independence
Latonia Ludlow, 759 Ludlow, 478

For membership rolls of ALL Masonic Lodges in ALL cities in Kentucky,
from 1878 thru 1922, they're all online at the Hathi Trust Digital Library, by individual year.

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This list of Kenton County deaths from WWII is from the National Archives. There's a key to what the
 various abbreviations mean here.  The lists are here:

Adams through Lynn           Mara through Wulfeck            The World War I list is here.

Latonia's John Morgan received the Distinguished Service Cross in WWI.  Read about him here.

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There's good news and bad news.  The good news is that the only book in print about Simon Kenton is written by the most eminent of Kentuckian historians, Dr. Thomas D. Clark.  The bad news is that it's written for “young adults.”  So it's not the most in depth look at Kenton's life, and it's on the short side, but you can rely on it's accuracy. Recommended.

  On the other hand, there is this 666 page historical novel you can read. Eckert insists it's all facts; historians have called his hand on that one, and picked nits, but even in doing so admit to the book's general adherence to fact. And for historical fiction, it's a page turner. Recommended.

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Can you name the forty-nine (49!) town names in Kenton
 County that have had US post offices? That list is here.

Here's a curious collection of documents from the 1860-1940's, from the post office, with town names, maps, and name changes. You really should start here, and they might make more sense to you. All are pdf's.
Atwood Banklick Buffington Covington Crescent Springs
Dry Creek Erlanger Ernst Fiskburgh Grants Bend
Greenwood Honesty Independence Kenton Key West
Latonia Springs Ludlow McGill McVean Milldale
Morgansville Morning View      

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Kenton Police

Kenton County Police, office on Dixie Highway
From a Facebook post by Rosie Waters

 

Kenton Police

Kenton County Police Station
Improvements are on the way.
from a Rosie Waters post on Facebook


In 1896 the Courier-Journal had previously noted a number of counties in Kentucky where the tollgates on roads were meeting serious resistance, and sometimes violence.  A letter writer suggests a different issue they were having in parts of Kenton.  Read it here. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture's assessment of agriculture in Kenton County, in 1898-1899 can be found here. (pdf)

In 1911, Covington determined that there were too many duplicate street names, so made a proposal to change many of them, mostly in Latonia.  Details here.

In 1930, Kentucky Progress Magazine ran a feature letting each of Kentucky's counties list their accomplishments for 1929.  What Kenton County came up with is here. (pdf)
The 1873 Cholera outbreak in Kenton County, here. A chronology of Kenton County history, here.

Kenton County Bar Association throws big dinner in 1906; They eat well, drink heavily, tip poorly, and lose money.  Details are here.

A list of attorneys in Covington, from 1875, from Trow's Legal Directory of Lawyers in the United States, is here.

“That the Underground Railroad is in a lively state of activity is evidenced by the fact that seventy-five fugitives have passed thru this city on their way to Liberty.  They are from Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, and the chivalric state of South Carolina. The last company of nine that passed through were from near Covington, Ky. The patriarch, their master, was about to have them sold to pay his debts, preparatory to removing to Chicago, but the spirit of emigration seized up on the “chattels” and they anticipated their master by leaving on an advance train.” from the Louisville Daily Courier, December 16, 1856, reprinting an item from the Cleveland Ledger.

The site of the Licking River Historical Association, here.

A collection of photos from the Cincinnati, Newport & Covington Railway (trolley cars) is at this site.

The banks of Kenton County, 1910, here.

C. 1928, the Kentucky Opportunities Department published a fact sheet about Kenton County for potential businesses that might be interested.  You can read it here(pdf)

Covington Rebel sympathizers warned in 1862.
“John Grant was the 1st white man who settled in the territory we now know as Kenton County.  His settlement was made on Licking River some 13 miles from its mouth.  The place was afterwards dignified with the name of Wilmington, and there the 1st court for Campbell County, then including all this region, was held.”  The Western Citizen, March 21, 1851, as quoted in the Draper Papers, 11CC48

“About 3 miles from this city, and not far from the Lex. Pike, is a house that was built 60 years ago! It is an old fashioned cabin, built of blue ash logs.  It is yet in a good state of preservation.  The cabin was built with portholes, as at the time of its erection, ”Indians were about.”  Covington Journal, March 21, 1851, as quoted in the Draper Papers, 11CC48

The Kentucky Post reports that virtually no one is growing tobacco in Kenton County in 1908. Why? If you need a little background on the Tobacco Wars of 1908, it's here.
Read Krysta Wilham's piece on the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918-1919.

William Behringer, of Behringer-Crawford fame, created a journal to hold all of his postcards and pictures. From the Covington Library, all 103 pages of it, here (pdf)  Good stuff!

Detailed Presidential voting statistics from Kenton County are here.

1914, the Louisville Auto Club published directions on how to get to Cincinnati, via Georgetown. Note the number of times where the road crosses the railroad. Several toll stops.

On August 4, 1852, the Cincinnati Daily Gazette published the State of Kentucky's Hog Assessment, the number of hogs over 6 months old per county. The number in Kenton County was 7,614.

In 1919, there was a farm census, counting livestock, crops and farms.  Kenton County's is here.

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“A few weeks ago an alligator, three feet long, was snared on the Covington shore of the Ohio River, and placed in a cage.  Since the capture several of the same species of animal have been seen between the empty coal barges, near the mouth of Willow Run.” The Boone County Recorder, citing the Cincinnati Gazette, August 22, 1878   “Mr. Absalom Ellis, of Kenton county, Kentucky, a few days since, killed an owl which measured four feet between the tips of the wings, and has been pronounced the largest bird of the species ever seen in that region of the country” from the Louisville Daily Courier, August 30, 1852

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Experience Covington Experience Covington Experience Covington Experience Covington
Take the Experience Covington Tours.
A project from the Kenton County Library

The map above is especially helpful if you never learned your Helentown from your Peaselburg.

Dr. Paul Tenkotte wrote about the development of the Covington neighborhoods at this site.

Most of the Covington neighborhoods have their own historical district on the National Register of Historic Places. Each is full of pictures and history. All are pdf's.
Austinburg Emery-Price Helentown Lee-Holman
Lewisburg Mother of God 15th St. District Riverside
Seminary Square Wallace Woods West Side - Main Strasse Riverside (expanded)

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Additional Links that apply to all of Northern Kentucky Views, and may or may not
be related to Kenton County, are on the main Links & Miscellany page, here.

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