Melbourne, Kentucky

In 1864, Mr. George Wolters purchased 58 acres of land for $2,400 from General James Taylor, whose family owned most of Campbell County at that time, (part of which is now the City of Melbourne.) Later Mr. Wolter’s son John, an heir, donated the land on which St. Phillip’s Catholic Church is built.  Sand and gravel for the foundation of St. Philip’s Church was obtained from the middle of the Ohio River and hauled by horse and wagon. This was before dams were built and it was possible at times to walk near the Ohio side on dry sand and gravel. The rock for the foundation was obtained from Wolters and Tiemeyers farms. The corner stone for St. Philip’s Church was laid in November 1908 and dedicated August 1909.  The Methodist Church was started in the early 1890’s, which is now in the vicinity of the beginning of Kenton Avenue. There was disagreement among the brethren and the project was forgotten for the present. In 1984, an elderly minister, Mr. John Neihof and a few others purchased a lot and materials to build a church where it now stands. The record book of the United Methodist Church of Melbourne, KY dates back to 1899.

 I talked with Mr. George Tiemeyer in 1985, who passed away in 1989. He was born October 29, 1898 and lived on a farm near the now incorporated line of the city of Melborne. The farm he lived on was his parents and he said that it had been known as Mercer Tract. Mr. Tiemeyer’s mother was married to a gentleman who bought the farm from General Mercer. Mrs. Tiemeyer’s former husband was killed when a team of horses ran away and he was thrown off a mowing machine. She then married Mr. Tiemeyer and had a son George and a daughter Bernadine. George still had the farm in 1989. When he passed away, his wife Agnes sold the farm. In 1890, Mr. Frank Helm, trustee for O.J. Wiggins, J.F. Ernst, A. Davezae and J.C. Loomis all of Kenton County, purchased a section of land in this vicinity. They had the property divided into lots, 40’ x 125’ streets 50’, one at 75’ and alleys 15’. The Civil Engineer was John D. Ellis. Mr. Rachford was the first baby born on this tract and was given two lots as a present. One of his Grandsons, Charles Rachford was a former Mayor of Silver Grove in 1972.

According to Mr. Rachford, some of Mr. Helm’s ancestors came from Australia, hence the name Melbourne.  Melbourne had two saloons, a boarding house, beer and ice were shipped by boat up the Ohio River to the foot of Melbourne Avenue, which started at Route 8, known then as 12 Mile Turn Pike. A post Office was established in 1891 and Robert A. Carnes was the first Post Master. The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad built tracks, a depot and baggage house, also a section hand building. Later a spur was put in and a coal yard installed by William Ellison Sr. His father, Issac Ellison owned and operated a brick manufacturing plant near the river, many of the bricks were used on homes in the community.  Melbourne Carriage Factory was built near the railroad spur and made buggies which were shipped to many states and to Europe.

In 1912, Melbourne was incorporated. Five Trustees were elected to office, Mr. Frank Springer, Chairman, Dr. Jules Pinguely (the only Doctor for many miles), Clarence Pinguely, John Greis and William Haigis, Treasurer. Joseph Good was Marshall and Town Assessor. Board walks and gas street lights were installed on Melbourne Avenue from the railroad tracks to Route 8. An opposing group of people broke the street lights and the 1913 flood demolished most of the second floor of the carriage factory putting people out of work. Some came from Cincinnati to work at the factory. There were morning and evening trains to Cincinnati. My parents built an ice house at the railroad spur and sold two cars of ice per week from City Ice and Fuel in Newport. My parents made home delivery in Silver Grove and Melbourne with horse and wagon. They later purchased an International truck, driven by chain, a lever beside the seat to shift gears, wheels were about four feet high with solid rubber tires. My father also had a gym in part of the carriage factory and promoted boxing matches. Mr. Felix Greis, John Greis and William Fillhardt tried to carry on painting buggies but did not last long for automobiles were coming into existence.

The small amount of money in the City Treasury was last spent in 1938 on culverts and stone for Melbourne Avenue. The city was never dissolved but by 1969 the environment was getting so bad that a group of citizens reactivated the City. On Council were Edward Fender, Phillip Huber, Charles Hehman, who was later replaced by Ray Pelle, Chandler Powell, secretary, Della Kinsella as Treasurer and Clerk, Jack Westwood Marshall, John Staton, Judge and Dr. McCauley, Judge until the system was changed to District Courts. Otto Good as Mayor or Chairman.

Previous to the reactivation in 1969, the Fire Department was the only form of control in the community. All volunteer firemen, Jim Minshall, Chief, Charles Hehman, Assistant Chief. Charles Hehman has been Chief for the last 36 years as of this date, December 1, 1991.  After reactivation of the City, 125 truck loads of junk cars & etc., were removed from the City. The City was given recognition in Home and Garden Magazine. A city sticker for cars was activated and the receipts used only for street lights. Mildred Hehman started and still is collecting for city stickers. Della Kinsella is still Treasurer after being asked to please take the position for a month to fill the city family position. There is no pay for any of these positions only the satisfaction of serving their community.  In early 1970 we were fortunate to have two men of our community serving on the County Planning and Zoning Commission. Mr. Ken Thorton who was Chairman suggested to the Fiscal Court to make it a Municipal & County Planning and Zoning Commission. Al Schultz who had been on the County Planning Commission for a number of years and Otto Good were the ones to represent the city of Melbourne on the Commission. The Fiscal Court having agreed it was a great step forward for the small citie3s of our County. The present Fiscal Court has gone one step more by adding professional personnel. We now have some control and hopefully some incentive for the Communities along the Ohio River.  We have a good council and mayor representing our community.

by Otto Good
Born August 1, 1909 in Melbourne, Campbell Co. Kentucky


by Mr. Otto Good. It's from a brochure called Campbell County Report to the Citizens and is dated July 1992.