The beginnings of Covington can be found at the junction of Second and Garrard Streets, in a small park commemorating the legendary George Rogers Clark. Now a part of the Cincinnati Bicentennial River Walk, this tract of land was once the site of a 150-acre farm owned by Thomas Kennedy, the founder of Covington. On this site he built a modest log home in 1791 and proceeded to run a ferry across the Ohio River from Northern Kentucky to Losantiville (now Cincinnati). By 1814, the town was officially put on the map, bearing the name of General Leonard Covington, a famous hero from the War of 1812.
With a constant influx of industry and inhabitants, Covington was a full-fledged city by the mid-1830’s. “The Point” at the confluence of the Licking and Ohio Rivers, was both the commercial and residential focus of the city of several years, home to various shipping facilities and industry along the rivers, taking full advantage of Covington’s superior river location. Advances in transportation changes the character of the city, as work was completed on both the Kentucky Central Railroad and Cincinnati-Covington Bridge (John Roebling Suspension Bridge) by the late 1860’s. Financial and commercial interest shifted to locate near the new train terminals, forming a more advantageous hub in the area now called Downtown.
The Ohio Riverside area, however, did not suffer for long. Once again capitalizing on its riverfront location, it became home to the elegant townhouses and villas, with park-like settings and commanding views still seen today. With a now direct link to Cincinnati via the Suspension bridge, the area continues to prosper and the residential grandeur began to spread south along Garrard and Greenup Streets. Here, the more urban Licking Riverside area took shape, characterized by a dense settlement of large homes on fairly modest lots. By combining these two areas, the full spectrum of nineteenth century architecture, from typical Italianate townhouses to the mansions of the Second Empire, Queen Anne, Romanesque and Greek Revival styles can be experienced.
The City of Covington has been very fortunate in that so many of its historic resources remain intact. Due to the efforts of many admirable individuals, the hands of time have left a collection of unique structures that form a unified tapestry of the city’s rich heritage.