The history of West Covington fits into the overall pattern of suburban development in the city of Covington. Many properties such as the houses at 1224 and 1226 Highway Avenue, stand as important examples of this creation of the suburbs and their subsequent absorption into the growing city of Covington, Kentucky.
The West Covington neighborhood has been a part of the City of Covington since 1916. Prior to this time, it was an independent city. The land was once owned by Israel Ludlow in the 1840s. In 1846, Ludlow decided to commission a plat for a small village on the property. This small area of residences and businesses became known as Economy. The area became attractive to newcomers because of its location on a hill away from the industry and noise of nearby Covington. In addition, the area was linked to Cincinnati by the 5th Street Ferry. In 1858, the Commonwealth of Kentucky incorporated the little town under the name West Covington.
During the decade of 1900-1910, the City of Covington had annexed two of its neighbors; Latonia and Central Covington. In part, as a result of these annexations, Covington’s population grew, the electric street car lines had been extended, and most of the city’s streets were paved with brick and sidewalks throughout the city. Access to the city of Covington’s public utilities, schools, and lower taxes led many in the West Covington community to support the idea of annexation.
In 1892, construction had begun on Highway Avenue through West Covington, and this resulted in the first attempt by Covington to annex the town. In 1895, Long time mayor of West Covington and proponent of the city’s annexation, Joseph J. Moser(1861-1919) was elected into office. In 1908, Mayor Moser called for the community to be annexed by the city of Covington, arguing its citizens would be better served if they lived within the city. In November 1916, West Covington residents went to the polls to vote on annexation. The measure passed, and the City of West Covington ceased to exist.
The creation of the West Covington neighborhood is historically significant. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000, the Moser Family Houses, also known as KEC 156, are examples of Community Planning and Development.
West Covington is located on hilly terrain. In its early development progress was slow, in part, due to the inaccessibility of West Covington. At its historic core, several streets with small lots resulted in houses being placed close together. In 1892, that all changed with construction of a new road, completed in 1894. This new route, known now as Highway Avenue led to houses in the neighborhood to be developed into larger suburban-type homesettings. These houses are examples of Italianate and simplified Queen Anne townhouses.
The Moser Family Houses at 1224 and 1226 Highway Avenue, Covington, Kentucky, are a pair of early twentieth century Queen Anne houses thought to have been built between 1900 and 1903. The two houses are distinctively different, but contain features that suggests that they are somehow related. The Moser House at 1224 Highway Avenue is a large, asymmetrical, two and one-half story brick house. It has late Victorian and classical detailing, with Queen Anne characteristics most predominant. The Moser House at 1226 Highway Avenue is a two and one-half story brick American Foursquare with classical revival detailing.
The boundaries of the Moser Family Houses National Register District are based on historic ownership of the property by the Moser Family, who were the first owners of lots 1, 2 and 3, and part of lots 31 and 24, of the John W. and Alice A. Clark subdivision. These houses were placed in the center of their lots. Both have full width front porches along with other details which were meant to display the wealth and position of the builders, Gottlieb Moser and his son Joseph.
The Moser Houses face Highway Avenue, and shows how Highway Avenue left an impact on the development of West Covington. After Joseph J. Moser died on February 12, 1919. His widow, Lillie, continued to reside in the home on Highway Avenue until 1921, when the property was sold out of the family. The property changed hands several times through the 1920s, and eventually was sold to James King in 1948; it remained in the ownership of the King family until December 1998.
photo: West Covington Baseball Club. F. Boellinger, photographer, Cincinnati, OH, http://www.kentonlibrary.org/genphotos/viewimage.php?i=di100282