Mother of God Church

Historical Marker #1460 in Kenton County commemorates the Mother of God Catholic Church in Covington as being the "Cradle of the Arts." The church, which was the second Catholic church to be erected in Covington, was the mother-parish to several other German parishes in the city.

The Parish, fully titled The Annunciation of the Ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, originated in 1841 under the leadership of German-born Reverend Ferdinand Kuhr after separating from St. Mary's Parish. The first church was built in 1842, and the first baptism recorded in the Mother of God registry was on February 6, 1842.

A new church was dedicated on September 10, 1871. The building was an outstanding example of Italian Renaissance Revival architecture. Designed by a noted Cincinnati architectural firm, it included many distinguishable features, including two two-hundred foot bell towers, a one-hundred foot dome supported by columns decorated in gold leaf, and stained-glass windows imported from Munich, Germany.

The interior displays an array of artistic feats from prominent artists. Johann Schmitt, the first teacher of world-renowned artist Frank Duveneck, painted five large canvas murals in the sanctuary. Other artistic features include a hand-carved oak altar by the Schroder brothers of Cincinnati and ceiling frescoes by Wenceslaus Thien, a great church artist from that time. The fourteen stations of the cross painted by Paul Deschwanden, a large crucifix by Covington sculptor Ferdinand Muer, and a hand-carved wooden statue group surmounting the altar by Mayer and Company also decorate the sanctuary.

One of the most famous parishioners of Mother of God was world-acclaimed artist Frank Duveneck, who was baptized in the church on October 17, 1848. He was buried in the church cemetery upon his death in 1919.