The area of present-day Park Hills is located on the hilltops adjoining the city of Covington, Kentucky. Sparsely populated in the early 19th century. Around 1845, the land, owned by Coram Spencer, was subdivided and settled along the Lexington Turnpike, the forerunner of Dixie Highway, and on Old State Road which ran through the area. The Stonewall House, a restaurant tavern built sometime in the mid 1800’s served as a stopover point on the turnpike for farmers taking stock to market in Covington and Cincinnati.
By the end of the 19th century the land remained mostly uninhabited, and Spencer’s plans to develop the area failed. In 1907, he sold the land to Robert C. Simmons and Ed Renz who constructed the Audubon Road, but probably due to lack of funding the road was never grated and quickly fell into disrepair.
This community remained quite small until D. Collins Lee, a prominant lawyer and alumnist of the Rugby School in Covington, along with Simmons, developed the area in the 1920’s. By 1926 homes were for sale on Audubon, Emerson, Cleveland, Park Drive and Rose Circle. A city charter was granted in June 1927.
Throughout the early years of Park Hills development trolleys were a convenient means of transportation around the city. The trolley line connected Park Hills with downtown Covington, Cincinnati, and many other Kenton County areas. Many visitors used them to visit Devou Park adjoining the property. The CNC (Cincinnati, Newport & Covington Railway), better known as the Green Line, ran it’s last streetcar on July 1, 1950, when it was replaced by General Motors busses. Trolley Park was named in honor of the trolley line.
In the 1930’s a commercial boom along the Park Hills section of Dixie Highway started what was later to be called “The Gourmet Strip”. Marshall’s Tavern, Nick Behle’s Old Lamp Lighter, Gus Sanzere’s Golden Goose, The White Horse Tavern, Chappie’s Tavern, and Blue Star were popular destinations for Northern Kentuckians.
The majority of homes were built between 1939 and 1959 with styles ranging from Tudor to Spanish Colonial to Craftsman bungalows. Park Hills is home to the all-male Covington Catholic High School and all-female Notre Dame Academy. Both schools are assciated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington.
photo: Warren Berry, 26, painting new White Horse Tavern sign,