A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Our Rich History: Alms and Doepke in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine was second largest store west of NYC

By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to NKyTribune My parents used to speak of the old Alms and Doepke department store at 222 East Central Parkway in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. It was a mammoth establishment, at its height encompassing 15 acres of floor space, once the second-largest store west of New York City and the largest in Cincinnati. By 1904, historian Charles Greve, in his Centennial...

Our Rich History: Kentucky Governor-elect William Goebel is nation’s only assassinated governor

By Andrew Young Special to NKyTribune On January 30, 1900, the Senate and House of Kentucky met together in a state of extreme emergency. The governor-elect, William Goebel, was teetering on the brink of death. The legislators, feeling it was only just and right, hurried to officially proclaim him governor before he passed on (which might be at any moment). They sought to give him the honor that someone...

Our Rich History: Charles Cist (1792-1868) was early Cincinnati historian, driven by love of area

by Don Heinrich Tolzmann Special to NKyTribune Charles Cist (1792-1868) published several books that are valuable for anyone interested in the history of Cincinnati, including: Cincinnati in 1841 (1841) and Sketches and Statistics of Cincinnati in 1859 (1859). Ohio historian Henry Howe wrote that Cist “was filled with a love of Cincinnati, and ministered to the extraordinary social fraternal feeling...

Our Rich History: 40 years ago, the Ohio River was frozen shore to shore, thanks to a blizzard

Aerial view of the frozen Ohio River in January 1977. Note the Covington shore, where Captain John L. Beatty (1914-94) cut the ice away from his floating restaurant, the Mike Fink. (Photo by Terry Duennes. Kentucky Post collection, Kenton County Public Library, Covington.) By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to NKyTribune I’ll never forget January 1977, 40 years ago this month. The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky...

Our Rich History: Two brothers — who lived it — recount dark memories of the Great Flood of 1937

A view looking south from Devou Park toward the flooded areas of Willow Run and Lewisburg. The steeple of St. John’s Church can be seen at center right. (Courtesy of Paul Tenkotte.) By Stephen Enzweiler Special to the NKyTribune Thursday — January 26, 2017 — marks a special day of remembrance in the history of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. It was on that day 80 years ago, when the...

Our Rich History: 150 Years Young, the John A. Roebling Bridge comes to life on a cold, cloudy day

John A. Roebling’s suspension bridge was finally completed and opened to vehicles on New Year’s Day, 1867. This woodcut shows the view from Covington looking toward the banks of the Ohio. Library of Congress. By Stephen Enzweiler Special to the NKyTribune Part 2: Roebling’s Bridge Comes to Life On the cold morning of Tuesday, January 1, 1867, a grand procession of carriages assembled outside...

Our Rich History: The John A. Roebling Bridge — 150 years young this month, THE symbol of our region

By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to NKyTribune Part 1: John A. Roebling, a “Practical Dreamer” On January 1, 1867, the Covington and Cincinnati Suspension Bridge was officially opened to vehicular traffic. Renamed the John A. Roebling Bridge in 1983 to memorialize its chief engineer, the bridge has become THE symbol of our region. Its grand Romanesque architecture draws our eyes both vertically and...

Our Rich History: St. Aloysius Parish, lost Covington landmark; apartments nearly lost in ’16 fire

By David E. Schroeder Special to NKyTribune In November 2016, Covington, Kentucky, nearly lost another landmark when a fire occurred at the St. Aloysius Apartments at 8th and Bakewell Streets (formally St. Aloysius School). A blaze in one of the apartments resulted in widespread smoke and water damage to the depression-era building. The building was once part of a campus that included a beautiful church,...

Our Rich History: Historic Nativity scene at Basilica had storied beginnings in rural North Dakota

Multi-cultural figures approach the manger in worship. The social change of the 1950’s inspired Bishop Mulloy to incorporate divergent cultures into the message of Christmas. (Photo by Stephen Enzweiler) by Stephen Enzweiler Special to NKyTribune It’s Christmas at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington. It is a time when visitors from all over come to see and enjoy the seasonal decorations...

Our Rich History: The first Christmas tree in Cincinnati, thanks to German immigrant, Dr. Rehfuss

By Don Heinrich Tolzmann Special to NKyTribune Dr. Ludwig (Louis) Rehfuss (1806-55) has the honor of setting up the first Christmas tree in Cincinnati in the early 19th century. A German immigrant from Baden-Württemberg, Rehfuss was a medical doctor who came to Cincinnati in 1833 and opened a pharmacy. Alvin F. Harlow writes in his book The Serene Cincinnatians: “It was the Germans who introduced...

Our Rich History: The 1894 railroad strike in Ludlow proved disastrous for workers and the city

By Dave Schroeder Special to NKyTribune Northern Kentucky at one time had a very strong labor movement. Manufacturing and railroads were a strong element in the Northern Kentucky economy, even in small towns like Ludlow. Ludlow prospered throughout the 1870s and 1880s. The economic depression of 1893, however, brought much of this prosperity to a halt on the national level. Large corporations began...

Our Rich History: Untold stories of Cincinnatians caught in December 7, 1941’s ‘Day of Infamy’

Japanese second wave of the attack flying into a hornet’s nest of fleet anti-aircraft fire. The large, black column of smoke in the center is the USS Arizona. (Library of Congress.) By Stephen Enzweiler Special to NKyTribune The morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941 began in Cincinnati like most in early December. The weather was fair and cold, with a light breeze out of the west and highs reaching...

Our Rich History: Jessica Firth, first Kenton County woman to run for state office, was change agent

By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to the NKyTribune Jessica (Jessie) Firth was a change agent for many causes, especially for the right of women to vote. In 1923, she became the first woman in Kenton County to run for a state public office. In 1894, Eugenia Farmer of Covington and Laura Clay of Lexington visited the Kentucky General Assembly in Frankfort, lobbying for the passage of a bill to allow women...

Our Rich History: Downtown home of Republic Bank has stately history, began as Farmers and Traders

By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to NKyTribune A stately bank building—now the home of Republic Bank—stands on the northwest corner of Sixth Street and Madison Avenue in downtown Covington, Kentucky. It is one of three banks that still anchor this historic intersection. The old Farmers and Traders National Bank Building, 6th and Madison in Covington, became headquarters of First National Bank and Trust...

Our Rich History: Month of the veteran reminds us there are many more stories to tell. Here’s one

By Stephen Enzweiler Special to NKyTribune November is the month of the veteran. During these weeks, we remember the service of our veterans to the nation in its many periods of war and peace. Poppies will decorate lapels, prayers and services will be offered, and eyes inevitably will gaze upward at the statued memorials that speak to us of our military past. Veterans will be recognized in schools...