This tour will take you through an extraordinarily extensive and
intact urban neighborhood that houses one of the greatest concentrations of
mid-nineteenth century residential buildings in the country. Your journey will
begin on the eastern edge of the district at the intersection of Main and
Sixth Streets, in an area known as MainStrasse. Here you will enjoy fine
stores and eating establishments in an area that has historically been the
center of commerce for this unique community.
Phase one of this tour will take you through the MainStrasse
area, which constitutes the commercial portion of this district. You will
begin at the park in the eastern end of Sixth Street and continue west, until
you reach the Goebel Park Bell Tower.
West Sixth Street.
This stately avenue which helps to delineate the northern,
western and eastern borders of this district was once the site of an open air
livestock and produce market. Lining this thoroughfare is a collection of
homes representing many major styles from the nineteenth century. It is here,
in this block adjacent to the commercial district, that some of the finest
homes in the West Side neighborhood can be found.
1. 305-307 West Sixth Street c. 1900
This group of three structures represents some of the later
development in this area. Similar in plan, these townhouses exemplify many
elements of the Queen Anne style. Popular around the turn of the century, this
style can be recognized by such features as decorative brickwork and textured
wall surfaces that are often complemented by stained glass panels in radiating
2. 311-313 West Sixth Street c. 1850
This austere doublehouse, done in the Greek Revival style is one
of the oldest homes in the district. Its unusually deep setback and simple,
symmetrical façade, suggest that this antebellum structure predates most of
3. 314-328 West Sixth Street c. 1880
This cluster of nearly identical townhouses flanking the north
side of Sixth Street are all examples of the Italianate style. Note the
decorative, bracketed cornice and rounded hood molds common to all of these
Before crossing Main Street, look to the north for the next
point of interest.
4. 521-525 Main Street c.1890
This unusual group of storefronts on the west side of Main Street
creates a commanding streetscape. Eclectic in design, these three buildings
represent various stylistic elements from the Romanesque arch to the Second
Empire slate mansard roof.
5. 527-531 Main Street c. 1870
This large Italianate commercial structure complete with a
bracketed cornice and decorative hood molds, once housed a Deutsche Apotheke,
or German pharmacy. Note the original cast iron storefront that graces the
simple façade of this building, now home to the Dee Felice restaurant.
Continue west on Sixth Street.
6. 409-411 West Sixth Street c. 1880
The John R. Green Company building, originally a tobacco
warehouse, is one of the few remaining examples of mid-nineteenth century
factory architecture in the West Side. Note the simple window treatments,
pilasters and storefront that adorn the façade of this functional
7. 511 West Sixth Street c. 1860
This commanding structure with Italianate details, is an unusual
addition to the streetscape, in that its plan is not of the typical townhouse
design. The classically inspired porch, added at the turn of the century,
creates a rural ambiance in this otherwise urban setting.
8. 513 West Sixth Street c. 1870
This otherwise simple Italianate townhouse is quite unique in its
surface treatment. A rare find in Covington, this home is clad with a wood
siding on the main façade designed to look like stone. Finishes such as these
were not uncommon in the Victorian era, in that homeowners desired the
appearance of expensive materials but could not actually afford them.
9. 606 Philadelphia Street c. 1874
This large Victorian Gothic mansion, formerly the Park Hotel and
now the Lawrence Law Firm, is one of the largest and most commanding
structures in the West Side district. Built as a wedding present for a very
fortunate bride, this house boasts Gothic lancet arches surrounding the doors
and window and contrasting surface designs that are indicative of this style
You have now reached the intersection of Philadelphia and
Sixth Streets. Take some time to enjoy Goebel Park and the Carroll Chimes
Bell Tower facing you.
The 600 Block of Main Street.
At this point you are ready to enter the old commercial district
of the West Side. Now called MainStrasse, this area has historically served as
the center of commerce and social activities of the neighborhood for over a
century. Once a strip of modest establishments designed to meet the needs of a
nineteenth century community, this area has now become a popular specialty
shopping district, providing visitors and residents with a wide variety of
gifts and services.
As you stroll down the block of charming storefronts, you will
notice a pleasing uniformity in the streetscape. Though each building is
unique in detail, there is a consistency among these modest, mixed-use
structures, boasting cast iron storefronts and Italianate decorative elements.
It is this sense of repetition and homogeneity that gives the MainStrasse
District its sense of character and old world charm.
If you wish to continue this tour, proceed to phase two. The
second phase of this tour explores the residential portion of this district;
know as the West Side neighborhood.
This tour will begin at the intersection of Main and Seventh
Streets. When you have reached this point, proceed east on Seventh
200-300 Block of Seventh Street.
As you walk down Seventh Street, you are entering what was a
nineteenth century working class neighborhood of modest homes. Here you will
find a dense concentration of Italianate townhouses, build in the last 1870s
and early 1880s. As you will see, this neighborhood still maintains much of
its original sense of pride and integrity, reminiscent of its German
Proceed south when you reach Willard Street.
The 800 block of Willard Street boasts one of the more
picturesque streetscapes in this district. Though comprised primarily of the
Italianate style, this block also contains many well-executed Queen Anne style
homes such as 822 and 823. Because a majority of these structures are
Covington Townhouses, two bays wide with a side entrance, the result is a
unified and appealing streetscape. With the addition of two corner stores and
a church that now has been restored into a gallery, this block exudes a sense
of community that is indicative of the nineteenth century walking city.
10. 819 Willard Street. c. 1863
Grace United Methodist Church is the oldest church in Covington’s
West Side neighborhood. Built as a Dutch Reform church and day school, it is
the second oldest parish in the city that is still used by its founding
congregation. This simple Gothic building blends well with the surrounding
structures as it continues to serve the community.
As Willard Street ends at Ninth Street, proceed east until you
reach Greer Avenue.
This street runs down the center of what was once the Greer
Estate, which was subdivided in the late 1800’s. The homes on this avenue are
some of the largest and most commanding in this area, and were built a decade
or so later than the modest working class structure. Products of the Victorian
Era, these houses boast many interesting features. Of special note are
807-809. These Queen Anne townhouses are adorned with mosaics, decorative
brickwork and ornate gingerbread woodcarving, all indicative of this
Cross over Eight Street and continue up Greer.
11. 710 Greer Avenue c. 1870
This six bay structure with Italianate details was built sometime
after the Civil War. Formerly a malt house, it was used to produce malt fort
the local brewing industries. The front portion of the building was likely
used as a tavern and the rear for production.
Continue east on Seventh Street and follow the road around the
bend until you reach the intersection of Eight Street.
Like Seventh Street, Eight Street was also a working class
neighborhood of the late nineteenth century. Though many of these homes may
seem large by today’s standards, they were still modest compared to the
mansions near the river. As you follow Eight Street back to Main Street, you
will pass several typical Italianate townhouses that vary only in surface
detail. However, 316 West Eight Street is of special note in that it boasts
elements of the Second Empire style, a sight rarely seen in this area. Though
it resembles the neighboring structures, the addition of a slate mansard roof
sets it apart from the continuity of this streetscape.
When you reach Main Street, travel north back to the
12. 416 Emma Street c. 1850
This austere Federal style mansion predates nearly all of the
structures in this area. Its hilltop location suggests that this house was in
the country, and as nearby land was subdivided; the West Side community grew
up around it.
13. 820-822 Main Street c. 1890
This later Queen Anne double house makes quite an impression on
the otherwise modest scale of this block. Notice the fishscale shingles in the
upper dormers and gables, as well as the obviously recessed façade, both
elements indicative of this style.
14. 831-833 Main Street. c. 1870
This pair of identical townhouses, done in the Italianate style,
are quite unique for this neighborhood. In an attempt to mimic some of the
higher style mansions in the city, these homes were adorned with a highly
ornate cornice, keystoned hoodmolds and elaborate, pedimented door
15. 827 Main Street c. 1888
The façade of this old firehouse once displayed two plaster
relief horseheads and stained glass panels, which since have been removed in
the process of adaptation. The symbolic horseheads, however, were not just a
coincidence, in that this station was still using horses to pull the engine as
late as 1927. This structure now serves as a multiuse building with commercial
space on the first floor and apartments on the second.
Now that you have completed the entire tour of the MainStrasse/West Side Historic District, we hope that you take advantage of the wide variety of shops and restaurants that the MainStrasse Village has to offer.