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Monday, February 13, 2017

Hedgehog Signs Wants Help From Local History Buffs

Fort Thomas residents Pam and Jim Claypool bought the old Klingenberg's Hardware in January 2016.

In January 2016, Fort Thomas residents Pam and Jim Claypool, owners of Hedgehog Signs, bought the building that housed Klingenberg's Hardware for 90 years. And now the Claypools are seeking out some history.

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Pam recently posted a a plea for help from Newport history buffs on Facebook. "We would love to know the history of it prior to it being Klingenberg's," she wrote. "We know the original building (the front room) was built in the late 1800s. We have been told it was a bar. We know it became Klingenberg's in the 1930s. Anyone know anything (name of bar, previous owners, when the rest of the building was built etc) or have an photos of it prior to the 30s?"

Here are pictures of the building in January 2016, when the Claypools purchased it.

Klingenberg's Hardware operated in Newport for 90 years.

The hardware store closed in December 2013.

And here are pictures of the building today.

The Claypools spent a lot of time remodeling the building.

Hedgehog Signs opened May 2, 2016.

The Claypools started their business in their Fort Thomas home in 2013. May 2, 2016, they opened their business at 402 W. 11th St. in Newport. Pam says they did a lot of clean up and remodeling, and still have more to do. "We love the neighborhood here and have gotten to know many of our neighbors," Pam says. "It has been a great new location for us."

Pam recently made some progress. A Facebook comment advised her to take a look at "Sanborn Maps," located at the Kentucky Digital Library. Pam found them and in the 1886, 1894 and 1910 maps she was able to see the original building.

This is an 1886 map of the area, which was found at the Kentucky Digital Library.

On the 1886 map on "Williamson" St. (now 11th), the map indicates that the building was a saloon with a one-and-a-half-story dwelling behind it. Pam says it's the same on the 1894 map. "On the 1910 map it shows the current two-story structure that runs along Patterson (less the garage that we knew was built much later) but the building is designated 'S' (Store) instead of 'Sal' (Saloon)," she says. "I'm not sure if it was just an omission of letters or it became a small store prior to Klingenberg's."

Pam says if they're able to get any photos they would like to print graphics to install where the windows are bricked up on the Patterson Street side of the building and, perhaps, install an interior wall mural where they think the actual bar used to be.

So, history buffs: If you have any information for the Claypools, contact them through their Facebook page or email Pam at

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