A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Beyond the Curb: River City Living showcases an urban oasis in Bellevue, complete with backyard pool

By Jill Morenz
The Catalytic Fund

This week’s episode of Beyond the Curb: River City Living tours a Bellevue house known to a generation of kids as the Monkey House. The current owners have made it their own (no monkeys in sight) and created a backyard party spot, perfect for relaxing by the pool.

The monkey connection started in the 1960’s. The man who then owned the house found an abandoned spider monkey in a shipping box at the airport. He and his wife adopted it and named it Reb. Since the wife taught kindergarten, she took the monkey to her classroom, where Reb became a favorite of her students.

Since buying the house a few years ago, the current owners found out that the passage between their bedroom and dressing room was where the monkey had lived.

In addition to this interesting piece of history, there are other quirky details in this house, such as the numbered doors on the second floor and the Coca-Cola cooler that came with the house because it was too heavy to move.

The house, built in 1888, is in great shape. It has several original stained glass windows, a lovely staircase and a pocket door to the living room. The door had been trapped inside the wall, so when it was finally set free, it had been so protected that its original key was still in the keyhole.

The Playhouse

Another reason the home was a bit of a local landmark is the playhouse that stands alongside.

The small structure was built for a former owner’s daughter but didn’t serve a useful purpose for the current owners. Then they put in a pool and turned the playhouse, which has electricity, cable and running water, into a cabana.

The oasis they’ve created in the backyard is popular with their friends and neighbors and serves as a gathering spot for summertime fun.

Catch up on all of the episodes at www.BeyondtheCurb.org/video-tours. New Season 3 episodes are released every Friday.

The Catalytic Fund is a private sector, not-for-profit organization provides financing assistance and related services for developers of quality residential and commercial real estate projects in Northern Kentucky’s urban cities of Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue and Dayton. Its mission is to accelerate Northern Kentucky’s urban renaissance through targeted investments in catalytic real estate development projects in urban neighborhoods.

The pool

The living room

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