A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Our Rich History: Historic Matthias Schwab organ rescued from wrecking ball one really hot summer

By Stephen Enzweiler Special to NKyTribune (Part one of a two-part series on the musical legacy of the Historic Matthias Schwab organ) On a hot, sweltering August afternoon in 1970, pedestrians and vehicles moving down 12th Street in Covington became witness to a peculiar sight. Along the sidewalks they beheld schoolboys and young men hurrying through the dense summer heat carrying an assortment of...

Our Rich History: MainStrasse began as the Westside Market, thriving with butchers and farmers

By David E. Schroeder Special to NKyTribune Today we take for granted dropping by the local supermarket to select food and other goods needed to keep our households running. Before the era of refrigeration, shopping for food on a daily basis was common practice. The main market house in Covington was on Madison Avenue at Washington Street. It was a noisy place filled with live animals, butchered...

Our Rich History: Cincinnati’s old ‘fireproof’ Chamber of Commerce building at 4th and Vine

By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to the NKyTribune On the southwest corner of Fourth and Vine Streets in Cincinnati stands a stately skyscraper, the PNC Tower. The Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Building, circa 1907. At the time of its completion in 1913, it was the tallest skyscraper outside of New York City, and the fifth-tallest building in the world. Formerly known as the Union Central Life Insurance...

Our Rich History: Air pioneer Hugh Watson was ‘Grand Patriarch of Cincinnati Aviation’

By Stephen Enzweiler Special to NKyTribune On a crisp autumn morning in November 1954, 60-year old Hugh Watson, one of Cincinnati’s early air pioneers, walked into a meeting room helped by his wife Roberta and slowly took a seat at the table. He looked tired and moved with some effort, but was otherwise alert and ready to do business. Seated across the table was Cincinnati City Manager C.A. Harrell,...

Our Rich History: Bessie Allison Doerr, a woman of determination, believed in the power of education

By David E. Schroeder Special to NKyTribune Sarah Elizabeth Allison Doerr is a name few Northern Kentuckians remember. However, during her life, “Bessie” personally experienced World War I, the Influenza epidemic of 1918-1919, worked in the fields of health care and education, lived abroad, and was one of the pioneers of women holding political office in Northern Kentucky. Bessie Allison Doerr’s...

Our Rich History: Historic stained-glass windows in Cathedral Basilica draw new generation of admirers

By Stephen Enzweiler Special to NKyTribune Anyone who has ever made a visit to Covington’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption can attest to the feeling of being transported to another place and time. As one enters its stone edifice, the rush of the city quickly fades, and in its place, one is surrounded by a cocoon of stillness and drawn into the other-worldly realm of the Gothic. Eyes involuntarily...

Our Rich History: Dusing Brothers Ice to close after 89 years as owners decide to “chill out” and retire

Dusing Brothers Ice, Elsmere, Kentucky (Photo by Paul A. Tenkotte) By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to NKyTribune I spent a bittersweet June 30 afternoon this year returning some books on ice manufacturing to the Dusing brothers on Dixie Highway in Erlanger. It was the last day of operation for Dusing Brothers Ice, in business for 89 years. The Dusings have warm, inviting personalities, completely opposite...

Our Rich History: Sweet memories of Woolworth’s downtown Cincinnati store, a five-and-ten cent store

By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to NKyTribune F. W. Woolworth Co. was once the largest discount store chain in the entire world. Its five-and-ten-cent stores, recognizable everywhere by their gold-lettering-on-red-background signs, proved to be early mass-marketing success stories. And to many of us, they held special memories. In the 1960s, as I was growing up in Northern Kentucky, my mother would drive...

Our Rich History: ‘Squirrel Hunters’ answer the call to save Cincinnati and NKY from the Confederacy

By Steve Preston Special to NKyTribune In 1862, Cincinnati seemed well-insulated from the destruction and violence of the American Civil War. The Queen City was a bustling port city that supplied the Union forces in the Western Theater. Despite rationing and the loss of many able-bodied men to the war effort, spirits were high, and the war seemed a million miles away. All that would change in August...

Our Rich History: World War I in Cincinnati — the case of Lotta Burke and Free Speech

by Paul A. Tenkotte Special to NKyTribune One hundred years ago, on April 6, 1917, the United States officially entered World War I. George Creel Shortly thereafter, in mid-April, President Woodrow Wilson created the Committee on Public Information to generate support for the war and to release official war information to the news media. George Creel (1876-1953), a journalist who had assisted Wilson...

Our Rich History: RoeblingFest to celebrate 150 years of our famous Roebling Bridge on June 17

By Ralph G. Wolff Special to NKyTribune It’s finished! The bridge work is finally completed! It’s June 1867, and although the bridge from Covington to Cincinnati had been open since New Year’s Day, work has continued under the direction of Washington Roebling. The Grand Opening on Tuesday, January 1st was a hasty arrangement precipitated by the freezing of the river. With ferryboats unable...

Our Rich History: World War I comes to Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to the NKyTribune One hundred years ago, on Wednesday, May 30, 1917, Covington, Kentucky’s Memorial Day Parade wound its way from 5th and Madison Avenue in downtown to historic Linden Grove Cemetery. At the cemetery, dignitaries gave addresses, followed by a 21-gun salute to the fallen dead of America’s armed forces. Headline of Cincinnati Post, April 6, 1917. Declaration...

Our Rich History: The Wyandots — well assimilated — were sadly victims of Indian Removal Act

By Steve Preston Special to NKyTribune In 1843, Cincinnati’s public landing was a bustling place of business and human interaction. These ten acres of land were at the heart of the business district in the 1840s. Shopkeepers and their customers shared the landing with those loading or unloading cargo from docked boats. Other citizens embarked and disembarked from the boats as passengers. Over 5,000...

Our Rich History: 40-years ago, the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire became Kentucky’s greatest tragedy

By Robert ‘Bob’ Webster Special to the NKyTribune Forty years ago this month, on Saturday, May 28, 1977, the Commonwealth of Kentucky experienced its worst tragedy since the Civil War. The Beverly Hills Supper Club, located in Southgate, Kentucky, was packed with people over the holiday weekend when a fire broke out. Fire erupts from the roof of the structure. Courtesy of Robert Webster Before...

Our Rich History: Made-in-Covington Aqua-Cycle had a big start but faded to collectors’ item

By Kaira Tucker Special to NKyTribune Twenty-five-year-old Phyllis Brawley was installed as a living window display at Cincinnati’s Hotel Sinton on the day of the Aquacycle’s debut. Clad in a “beach costume,” the blonde model peddled the newly-patented marine invention that allowed users to propel boats and canoes by foot power. Spectators congregated around the window in such numbers that...