Sunday, March 18, 2001

Second of two county seats was built in 1840




By Gene Franzen
Enquirer Contributor

        ALEXANDRIA — Kentucky legislators decreed, “each county seat should be centrally located, enabling any citizen of the county to travel by horseback to the courthouse, conduct his business, and return home the same day.”

        In the mid-1800s, settlers of rural Campbell County decided Newport, the county seat since 1794, was not centrally located — so they built a courthouse in Alexandria. But with most of the county's population living in Newport, it was agreed that Campbell County would have two county seats.

[photo] The Alexandria Courthouse, one of two in Campbell County, was built in 1840, after county residents decided Newport was too far.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        In neighboring Kenton County, the same situation developed between Covington and Independence. Today, Campbell and Kenton are the only counties in Kentucky with two county seats.

        The Alexandria courthouse was built on Main Street in 1840. It was a plain, two-story red brick building with a small log jailhouse located across the street.

        In 1928, the building underwent major remodeling. A facade featuring four stately columns and several coats of white paint transformed the building into a refined-looking justice center. A new wing was built, providing living quarters for the jailer on the first floor and accommodations for 24 prisoners in the second floor jail. The next year, a tower clock was mounted atop the courthouse building.

        Today the offices of the circuit clerk and the county clerk are located on the first floor of the courthouse. The second floor houses the office and archives of the Campbell County Historical and Genealogical Society.

       Now and Then, a look at historic places in Northern Kentucky, is published on Sundays in The Kentucky Enquirer. If there is a place you would like to see featured, call 578-5555.
       



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