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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hidden Treasures Provide Big Wow for Heritage League Tour

The Stegman House. FTM file. 
We see our town so often that we sometimes forget all of the little treasures tucked away in it. Jim Jenkins, the President of Northern Kentucky Heritage League (NKHL) told me on Sunday that their group wants to encourage people to appreciate all the treasures that often go unnoticed. So they toured a few historic and/or artistically significant homes in Fort Thomas on Sunday, October 9.

The NKHL’s website says that The Northern Kentucky Heritage League was formed in 1967 … to…foster all forms of art, music, and architecture that make up our heritage and culture. 

It was difficult to select a few homes for their group to tour in a few hours when there are so many magnificent and historic homes available. They toured the museum; one of the oldest home in Fort Thomas, the Stegeman House; one of the oldest homes on the north end, the David and Marcie Hosea house; and the Harlan Hubbard home and studio that was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places by the National Parks Service.

They began at the museum in the fort where they viewed exhibits of items from the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I and World War II, as well as more recent military conflicts. They also visited the room dedicated to the Beverly Hills Supper Club disaster. Even though the museum is small, its military collection could easily fill a much larger building.

The Stegeman House was built in 1889 by Henry Stegeman, a prominent Northern Kentucky businessman, who was the original president and co-founder, with H. A. Wadsworth, of the Wadsworth Watch Company, one of the largest employers in Northern Kentucky in the early 1900's. Henry Shriver built that house as well as the iconic water tower and buildings within the Fort itself.

The Campbell County YMCA. This is an advertisement. 

The David and Marcia Hosea home was built about 1875. After a fire in 1920, it was reconfigured into a smaller six room house, which what the Hoseas bought in 1977. Even though they have added on a number of times, it still maintains the original wooden random peg floors in what is now the dining and breakfast rooms. The front pillared addition was built just to allow the annual erection of a twenty foot Christmas tree. David Hosea was happy to host. He said that there were a “lot more people than I thought. But the best thing is, it got my house set for Christmas. My house is in the finest detail that it has ever been!”
Dan Humpert thanks the Hoseas during a program at 15 North after the tour.

Harlan Hubbard built his house on Highland Avenue in 1923 when he was just twenty-three years old. He built the art studio behind the house in 1939 from salvaged materials. Both remain fairly unchanged. Hubbard has been inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame and received a Governor’s Award for his lifetime of artistic achievement. Owner Sidney Thomas said, Sharing the studio with those who are so appreciative is what inspires me to work so hard to share it with more.   

The Harlan Hubbard studio.

Debbie Buckley said that It was so much fun to hear the comments from everyone.  I followed the tour group from the museum to Harlan Hubbard to the Hosea's. …One gentleman, [who] had had my job in Winterhaven, Florida was incredibly complimentary about Fort Thomas as a whole, but in particular about the Harlan Hubbard project.  Thank you to everyone who helped make this tour such a success.

Dan Humpert, Past President of NKHL, and current Board Member said So I have done neighborhood tours in some fashion for the last twenty years…We try to capture the history and culture and ambiance of the neighborhoods.  The museum, the Hosea house, the Stegeman house, and the Hubbard home and studio certainly capture the essence of Fort Thomas.  I thought it was a fantastic program. Debbie Buckley did a superb job of putting this together. 

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