The Beechwood Road-Woodlawn Avenue area evolved from a settlement known as “Beechwood.” The origin of the name remains unclear, but by the late nineteenth century, it would be used to describe the area in much of what is now the Beechwood Historic District.
The land was once owned by John Lawrence Sandford, a Civil War veteran and well-to-do banker who was one of several wealthy Covington residents who maintained a summer home in the vicinity. In 1895, Sandford, was killed in a duel with William Justus Goebel, a Kentucky state senator, who he had a history of political enmity with. Sometime after his death the Sandford property was subdivided and sold as lots in the early 20th century.
By the 1920’s, a number of residences would be built along the west side of Beechwood Road and the east side of adjacent Woodlawn Avenue. These dwellings would include American Foursquare and Craftsman inspired construction. Also constructed during this period would be the Beechwood Public School on Beechwood Road. The second school structure on this site, the first schoolhouse was built in 1860, the present school structure is the third.
The Beechwood Historic District is located in the part of the city still known to many as “South Fort Mitchell,” an area that remained a separate city until the 1960’s. South Fort Mitchell, a large and once-sparsely populated area located between the Foltz family farm (just north of Beechwood Road) and the Buttermilk Pike, made repeated attempts during the 1920’s to be annexed by the city of Fort Mitchell proper. When these proved unsuccessful, residents decided upon incorporation as a separate entity. Local tradition suggests that religious differences may have been one of the reasons for resisting a merger. According to that tradition, residents of Fort Mitchell were predominantly Protestant, while the families of the South Fort Mitchell area practiced the Catholic faith. Thus the two adjacent communities developed parallel social systems including separate country clubs.
The Beechwood Historic District includes a diverse and well-preserved group of large and small residences dating from 1890 to 1935. Two of the most significant of these is the Queen Anne frame dwelling, Sandford-Wade House, built during the 1890’s for John L. Sandford, and occupied after his death by Covington philanthropist Willard Wade. The other is the Neo-Classical Revival, Blakely estate, known as “Beechwood.” Other structures range from early farmhouses to early twentieth-century mansions and modest examples of popular mid-twentieth century house types. A total of 88 buildings, 67 of which are contributing are located within the Beechwood Rd., Dixie Hwy., and Woodlawn Ave area.
photo: First Beechwood School, http://nkyviews.com/kenton/kenton962.htm