Historical Marker #1351 in Bellevue provides a brief history of this Ohio River town in northern Kentucky.
The land on which Bellevue was founded was originally granted to Col. John Campbell (Campbell County's namesake) for his service in the French and Indian War. Ownership passed to General James Taylor, famous for his involvement in the War of 1812. Originally from Virginia, Taylor settled in Kentucky in 1793 and acquired land in what is now Newport. The city of Bellevue was named for a plantation owned by Taylor's father. In 1866, the land was divided into lots. Shortly thereafter, residents petitioned the Kentucky legislature for a charter which was granted on March 5, 1870.
At the time of Bellevue's founding, the town's population was 380 people. Bellevue, however, thrived with the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad in the 1880s. Located on the Ohio River, the city was an ideal tourist attraction. The white-sand beaches drew swimmers and boaters during the summer. Horseshoe Gardens, an entertainment club, hosted some of the nation's most popular musicians. The charming days of Bellevue were short lived with the closing of the beaches and the destruction of Horseshoe Gardens. The flood of 1937 destroyed sections of the town and left the once-popular club in shambles. Due to increased pollution and the creation of dams and locks to assist barges down the river, many of the recreation beaches closed.
Today the city of Bellevue remains an excellent example of small town America, living up to its French translation of "beautiful view" as resident can easily look across the Ohio River to the sites of eastern Cincinnati.