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

Part 6 of a continuing series on Cincinnati’s grand downtown department stores. 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...

Our Rich History: Regional African-American inventor and WWI veteran, Fred McKinley Jones, honored

By Lois Hamill Special to NKyTribune The pocket watch had stopped ticking. The little boy took it apart to see what was inside. After he put it back together, it began ticking again. Satisfied with the results, he proudly shared his discovery with his father. Fred Jones was reportedly only five years old at the time. Frederick McKinley Jones, courtesy of The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky and the...

Our Rich History: Shillito’s, the late 20th, early 21st Centuries; as Macy’s downtown store shuts down

Part 5 of a continuing series on Cincinnati’s grand downtown department stores By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to NKyTribune In last week’s installment, we examined how Shillito’s grew to be the largest department store in size and sales in downtown Cincinnati, and a “destination” for one-stop indoor shopping, eating, and services. In fact, by 1955, Shillito’s total sales volume was larger...

Our Rich History: Shillito’s downtown store reaches its peak, World War II through the 1960s

Part 4 of a continuing series on Cincinnati’s grand downtown department stores By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to NKyTribune In last week’s installment, we reviewed how Shillito’s Department Store in downtown Cincinnati completed a mammoth addition in 1936-37, expanding its total sales floor space from 263,000 to 423,000 square feet. But 1937 would also bring misfortune to the Ohio River region. In...

Our Rich History: The Lazarus family reinvigorates Shillito’s and leads it through the Great Depression

By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to NKyTribune In last week’s installment, we reviewed the establishment of Shillito’s dry goods store in Cincinnati in 1830, the beginning of a 188-year lineage that ends with the closing of Macy’s downtown Cincinnati store in 2018. In 1878, Shillito’s completed its new downtown Cincinnati store at Seventh and Race Streets. With founder John Shillito’s death the...

Our Rich History: Shillito’s marvelous buildings still remain in Downtown Cincinnati, one a condominium

Part 2 of a continuing series on Cincinnati’s grand downtown department stores. By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to NKyTribune Born in November 1808 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, John Shillito arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1817 at age nine. In an era when young boys of rather poor circumstances entered the workforce, Shillito immediately took a job at one of Cincinnati’s leading merchandising firms,...

Our Rich History: Cincinnati’s legendary downtown department stores and the grand downtown dining experience

Part 1 of a continuing series on Cincinnati’s grand downtown department stores By John Schlipp Special to NKyTribune For those old enough to remember the days of numerous vibrant downtown Cincinnati department stores, it makes many of us sad to hear the news of Macy’s closing their downtown store in 2018. Front cover of Lost Tea Rooms of Cincinnati. Macy’s is the descendant of Shillito’s, a...

Our Rich History: Regional inventors — legendary toys, everyday health, home and more

By John Schlipp Special to NKyTribune 

If necessity is the mother of invention, then perhaps your inventiveness might motivate you to come up with the next “fidget spinner” toy. Maybe you’ll even appear on the popular television series Shark Tank. Whirligig, patented in 1866 Inventors of the metropolitan Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region have conceived some of the world’s definitive...

Our Rich History: Northern Kentucky’s health needs fed the growth of St. Elizabeth Hospital for 158 years

By Stephen Enzweiler Special to NKyTribune Part 2 of a 2-part series Last week, we left you with Bishop Carrell’s approval in late 1860 of the establishment of a new hospital in Covington, proposed to him by Henrietta Cleveland. By Christmas, the city of Covington was all abuzz with the news that there would soon be a new hospital in its midst. The Covington Journal called it “one of the wants...

Our Rich History: St. Elizabeth Hospital founded as response to the plight of poor, sick, homeless

By Stephen Enzweiler Special to NKyTribune Part 1 of a 2-part series Anyone who has ever passed through the shiny, sliding-glass doors of St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Edgewood probably never imagined the humble and improbable beginnings from which the massive facility sprang. Established in 1861, only months before the Civil War began, it owes its existence to two local Catholic women, a German...

Our Rich History: The story behind Big Bone Lick’s ‘Big Bone Heist’ by con artist Thomas Ashe

By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to NKyTribune Have you ever met a person who seemed sophisticated, erudite, and trustworthy? Then, much to your chagrin — and perhaps to your heart and to your pocketbook too — you discovered that they were a fraud? Thomas Ashe was such a man. Reputedly born in 1770 in Glasnevin, County Dublin, Ireland, Thomas Ashe died in 1835. In-between those two years, however,...

Our Rich History: Betty Clooney, ‘the best of us,’ and part of ‘devoted’ and famous sister singing act

By John Schlipp Special to NKyTribune Sibling singing acts have been around since families sang together for after-dinner amusement before the days of plentiful prime-time broadcast entertainment. As mass media entertaining developed with radio and records, highly talented acts catapulted beyond their local churches, schools, and community events. Our region’s memorable sibling acts include: 98...

Our Rich History: Early Kentucky patents and inventors; search free at NKU’s Steely Library

By John Schlipp Special to NKyTribune Northern Kentucky has a rich history of inventors and patents, even as early as the antebellum period. The US Constitution encouraged national innovation by establishing that “Congress shall have Power…To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings...

Our Rich History: Covington Latin School’s first home was a Methodist Church, demolished in 1940

By David E. Schroeder Special to NKyTribune Covington Latin School was established in September 1923 by Bishop Francis Howard. When Bishop Howard arrived in Covington, he discovered the need to establish high schools for boys. The only high school program for young men was a two-year commercial course called St. Joseph, operated by the Brothers of Mary on 12th street in Covington (this school transitioned...

Our Rich History: World War I heats up for Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, with hopes for a quick end

By Paul A. Tenkotte Special to NKyTribune On October 21, 1917, World War I heated up for the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). On that day, the First Division of the AEF fired the first American shell at the war front in Europe. Meanwhile, one week prior — on October 15th — the 42nd AEF, dubbed the “Rainbow Division” because it was composed of National Guard units from every state, steamed...