Peanut Charlie

Remember when the old College Building stood where the Covington Y. M. C. A. now stands?

Remember when "Pop" Gould and Verner Davison ran the Savoy Theatre at Pike St. and Madison Ave?

Remember when Henry Holtrup's café at that corner served a free lunch for a king to eat?

Remember when Rolfes & Waches, clothers, were located at the corner where the Industrial Club now stands?

If you remember all of these, you will remember "Peanut Charley."

Maybe you haven't thought of "Peanut Charley" for many years, but if you lived in Covington 15 years ago or so, you knew him. Thousands of persons did.

For Peanut Charley was a Covington Institution in the days before the streets became crowded with traffic, and when a street car ride and an ice cream soda or a bag of peanuts constituted a real Sunday afternoon treat for your girl.

Nine years "Peanut Charley" stood at the corner of Pike St and Madison Ave. His little wagon, with it's revolving magazine of peanuts and its clown doll which appeared to be turning a crank as the mechanism revolved, was something for the kids to see when you took them for a walk on Madison Avenue.

Thousands and thousands of persons bought peanuts and popcorn from "Peanut Charley." Thousands of persons he came to know well.

His wagon took up little space alongside Rolfes & Wachs' store, and even if it had taken up much it wouldn't have mattered, for there wasn't any parking problem then.

Twelve years ago Charley's health failed. He had to give up his stand. He purchased a farm and disappeared from the sight of all except his close friends.


Thus it is many will be interested in hearing of Peanut Charley again.

"Peanut Charley" is Charles Stephens, who for the past dozen years has lived on his 87 acres one mile north of Independence, Kenton Co.

There he has tended his chickens, and raise, as he says, "Corn, wheat and 'taters." There he has won back some measure of the health that once was his, altho he has not regained the full 211 pounds which the scales formerly showed was his weight.

Far from the madding crowd, Stephens lives with his wife, son and two daughters.

"Don't you get lonesome out here, remembering the years during which the kaleidoscope at Pike and Madison was before your eyes daily?" someone asked the other day.

"Don't have time to," said "Peanut Charley."

For there's plowing and sowing and harvesting and running a tractor and playing engineer to do. There are a gasoline engine and an electric light plant to attend. There are chickens and hogs and cows to take care of.

There is a picnic ground, which Charley offers rent free to churches and lodges.

And there is, lately, a refreshment stand, restaurant, and tourist camp at the roadside for the Stephens family to look after. There are new buildings, which "Peanut Charley" put up himself and there is painting to be done and repairs to be made.

So that this is no humdrum life "Peanut Charley" leads.


The only peanuts which "Peanut Charley" sells at his roadside stand are salted peanuts. He hasn't had time to think about a roaster such as he once had a Pike and Madison. But old friends who see his sign and stop in, often call for his old-time brand and Charley may some day live up to his old name again.


From the Kentucky Post, May 16, 1926.