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Friday, November 27, 2009

Fort Thomas & The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky

Want a holiday gift for the dad or grandfather that is impossible to buy for?  Try the Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky.  Words just do not describe the amount of information that is in this volume.  Weighing in at over 1,000 pages, it includes over 2,100 entries written by more than 300 authors.  I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of the book in the past couple weeks and I thought I would take the opportunity with all the 'Black Friday' talk to make a case for buying the book as a Christmas gift.

While I haven't had a chance to read all the entries that relate to Fort Thomas one thing stood out to me more than anything else; the important role that Samuel Bigstaff had in building Fort Thomas.  Not only did he build much of the housing stock (especially that built in the early 1900's) but he donated the land for the current Highland United Methodist Church but also developed the Highland Country Club.

In addition to the role Samuel Bigstaff played in Fort Thomas here are some additional tidbits on our fine city:
  • The mess hall was built according to the same plans as the stone mess halls as the Presidio in San Francisco and at Fort Riley
  • The amphitheater was built for boxing matches between the service men stationed at the Fort
  • The mess hall has the original red quarry tile floors intact throughout even though they were flooded at times to provide winter ice skating.
I think that is enough to get you interested. Check it out if you get a chance and buy one for a friend to support this amazing effort.

Update: At least 2 Ft Thomas residents were contributors or authors of articles in the NKY Encyclopedia----Bill Thomas and Paul Whalen.


  1. This book is available at The Blue Marble Children's Bookstore. Support a local business while buying a book about local history. It's a win-win situation.
    Marilyn Smith
    Bookseller, The Blue Marble

  2. Thanks for letting us know how to purchase this encyclopedia. I saw a copy of it about a month or so ago and immediately looked for information about Carntown, KY. There was no entry for that tiny city. There is still a small sign on the left hand side of the AA Hwy. about 3/4 of the way to Maysville with an arrow that says, "Carntown." The stone quarry is there now but the town was settled by my northern Germany relatives (VonHagen/Vornhagens and Borgerdings) before the Civil War. They came down the Ohio River on flatbed boats and sqwatted there because it reminded them of home. This should be in the addended version of the book.