Sunday, July 01, 2001

Counties boast 2 courthouses

Independence structure built in 1912

By Gene Franzen
Enquirer Contributor

        INDEPENDENCE — In 1840, using the Licking River as a marker, the vast county of Campbell was divided and the western half designated “Kenton County.” The county seat was named “Independence” and a courthouse was built.

        From 1840 until 1860, the population in Covington continued to grow. In 1860, the Kentucky Legislature authorized a second courthouse to be established in Covington. Today, Kenton and Campbell are the only counties in Kentucky with two county courthouses.

        The original Independence Courthouse served the county until 1912, when the present courthouse was built. The white building with Greek-style portico and four columns is surrounded by trees. Some say it represents the peoples' doctrine, “Independent.”

        The main road connecting Independence and Covington is now known as Ky. 17 or the “LLL Highway.” Two versions of the name's origin exist. Take your pick, because neither is documented.

        One theory says the "LLL' might have represented Latonia, Lexington and Louisville, though records show the road continued south of Lexington, not west to Louisville.

        The other theory is that the scale-master, who weighed the wagon loads of rocks being used in the building of roadbeds, applied nicknames to new roads. That scale-master, a Mr. Linus Lamb Leibus, designated the new road to Independence, “The L.L.L. Highway.”

       Now and Then, a look at historic places in Northern Kentucky, appears Sundays in The Kentucky Enquirer. To suggest a feature, call 578-5555.


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