Cold Spring

Early Cold Spring History

Cold Spring dates to the mid 1800s but was not incorporated until 1941. The city name comes from the cold water found in a natural spring located in the area.

Those families who bought property in this area included: Benjamin Archer, John Bartle, Samuel Beck, John Bird, Timothy Bull, Cader Edwards, William Edwards, Joseph Farrar, George Gordon, George Kelly, Joseph Kelly, Thomas Johnson, John Murnan, Edward Welch, Thomas Lindsey and Thomas Rees (later known and spelled Reese). Many of these men owned property inside the present day Cold Spring city limits. Apparently Thomas Rees bought property and organized Rees or Reese's settlement, which became the forerunner to Cold Spring.

In an early article published in December 19, 1878 in the Newport Local, historian John W. Stevens mentioned Reese's settlement. Stevens reported that the group were Baptists who established a Church called Licking. Additionally, he commented, “It was the first church in the County.”

The Licking Baptist church was located where the First Baptist Church of Cold Spring sits at Alexandria Pike and First Pooles Creek Road. Historically, the church was known as “Mouth of the Licking” and was created by William Decoursey, Bethuel Riggs, Closs Thompson, Joseph Kelley, and their wives at the home of Decoursey in 1794. The first pastor was John Smith, who ironically was the first pastor at Columbia. In 1805, the members acquired land from Thomas Lindsey and built a log structure at the present intersection of Pooles Creek Road and US 27 where the old Cold Spring Baptist Church structure stands today.

By 1807, the church had 38 members. The name of the church was changed in 1820 to Old Licking Church. It is not known when Reese's settlement actually changed and the name Cold Spring began being used, however, references to the name have been found in the 1840's.
Population of the area increased rapidly between 1820 and 1850.

In 1857, Reverend N.C. Pettit founded a school, known as the Cold Spring Seminary. Pioneers in the community, Robert Dodsworth, John C. Youtsey, Joseph and Charles Horner, and William and George Winters financed the project, and the building was constructed by another preacher and well-known bricklayer, James M. Jolly.

Reverend Pettit served as the first principal , and the three teachers taught Mathematics, Music and English. The name was changed to Walnut Hills Academy before the civil war and during those years, the school served as a Union Army provost headquarters. The local Home Guard and Union troops occupied the ground adjacent to the building.
Scores of famous men spoke at the school, including Abraham Lincoln, U.S. Grant, and William Howard Taft. It is generally thought that Lincoln spoke on his campaign trip to Cincinnati in 1859, and one source states that Lincoln spent the night at a home in Cold Spring.

In the 1870's Cold Spring organized its own school district and in 1875, Walnut Hills was sold for use as a public school. The school was run by the Cold Spring District as a graded school system and a high school. It was destroyed by fire in December 1921, and was replaced by the current Cold Spring elementary building at the corner of US 27 and East Alexandria Pike.

(FYI….that building is to always to be used as an “educational facility” or the property goes back to the Murnan heirs)


From a Facebook post by Cold Spring Ky History. We have dounts about the Lincoln references.