Campbell – Newport – 2 Sites
Site: Newport History Museum @ Southgate Street Schools, 215 Southgate Street / General James Taylor Mansion, 335 East Third Street
Hours: Eastern Standard Time
– Southgate Street School
– General James Taylor Mansion
Website: Newport Historic Preservation Office
Facebook: Newport History Museum at Southgate
Description: Newport History Museum @ The Southgate Street School, 215 Southgate Street, will be open to the public to tour the first and second floors. Former students of the Southgate Street School and others will be on-site to tell the history of the only African American School in Campbell. The Newport Grand Lodge 120, which is home to the Newport Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star, located on the second floor will have representatives on-site to share their stories.
The Southgate Street School was originally a school which served the African-American population of Newport and Campbell County. Constructed on land Thomas Dodsworth deeded to the City of Newport in 1870, the original schoolhouse on this site was a small wood-framed cottage and operated under the jurisdiction of the Newport Board of Education and supervised by the Superintendent of Newport Schools. This school and its curriculum was subject to the same rules and regulations, had the same textbooks and course of study, had the same grading standards, and was supported out of the general funds as the other Newport Public schools. The current two-story brick Italianate building was constructed in 1893 and continuously served the African American school children of the area until 1955 when the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling desegregated the public school systems.
After the school closed, Frank “Screw” Andrews, a local gangster, purchased the building and used it as a storage warehouse. In 1959 the schoolhouse was purchased by Prince Hall Masonic Lodge 120 and in 1985 the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing resource within the Mansion Hill Historic District. In 2017 the building became home to the Newport History Museum @ Southgate School whose mission is to preserve, protect and increase awareness of the unique collection and associated provisions at the Museum. It is committed to providing a wide range of socially inclusive opportunities for the lifelong discovery and enjoyment of Newport’s diverse historical and cultural heritage.
Sunday Tours – General James Taylor Mansion, 35 East Third Street – “Bellevue” home of General James Taylor, founder of Newport in 1795, is a building the modern term ‘adaptive reuse’ was coined for. Originally, this building was built in the mid-1840’s on this site by General Taylor was previously occupied by two earlier Taylor residences. Remodeled in 1888, this Greek Revival mansion originally faced the Ohio River, was reoriented toward the south to face the newly developing 3rd Street. During this remodel the west wing was moved to the north side of the main block and attached to the original north entrance façade. Also, at this time the elegant frontispiece was added to the south façade in the form of a triple-arched central feature, flacked by two-story galleries on either side and castiron supports.
General James Taylor, with his brother Hubbard, first arrived in the area in 1791 to survey the lands located on the Ohio River from the mouth of the Licking River eastward beyond what is now Newport, KY, across from Cincinnati, OH. Returning to the area later that year, Taylor and three servants cleared the 180-acre tract of land that would become Newport. In 1795 Taylor married Keturah Moss Leitch, the widow of Major David Leitch, a Revolutionary War Soldier and founder of Lietch Station, making Taylor the largest landowner in the Northern Kentucky region. The mansion was individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and today is the home of Gerner and Kearns law practice. When it became too grand of a space for a home, it became a Funeral Parlor and then a law office. A Big Thank-You to the Gerner & Kearns, Col., L.P.A. office for opening their space to the public.