Northern Kentucky Heritage League

Historical marker #2550 celebrates the history of the Northern Kentucky Heritage League.

The Northern Kentucky Heritage League (NKHL) began in 1967 as a fine arts organization dedicated to promoting the heritage, culture and arts of the region. Initially, the group focused on supporting a grassroots effort to establish a gallery to display the art of world-renowed painter and Covington native Frank Duveneck. The NKHL was instrumental in this successful effort which culminated in the Frank Duveneck Memorial Gallery, Covington's first public art gallery.

Having achieved this goal, the NKHL soon found itself opposed the lease granted by Covington to the Mike Fink Floating Restaurant which allowed the eatery to dock alongside Riverside Drive. The NKHL eventually lost this fight, but it inspired later efforts successful to preserve other structures on Riverside Drive that would otherwise have been scheduled for demolition. During the late 1960s, the NKHL also made various improvements to the George Rogers Clark Park and sponsored an arts and crafts fair in the park. This eventually grew into the Annual Duveneck Memorial Art Show, which continues into the twenty-first century. Similarly, the NKHL continues its work within the community. 

Unsuprisingly given the group being commemorated by the marker, the dedication for #2550 was well attended. The auidence enjoyed remarks from a variety of speakers including Jim Jenkins, President of the Northern Kentucky Heritage League, Dr. Amanda Higgins, Community Engagement Administrator for the Kentucky Historical Society, Chris McDaniel, Kentucky State Senator for District 23, and Kris Knochelmann, Kenton County Judge Executive. Jack Gore, Northern Kentucky Heritage League Program Chair and Board Member, gave a dedication address. The marker was unveiled by the George Dreyer Family, a founding member of the Heritage League, and the Jane Purdon Family, a past president and emeritus board member of the Heritage League. Many attendees enjoyed the Duveneck Art Show after the event with a new appreciation of the role the Heritage League played in its history. 

The marker reads:

In 1967 George Dreyer, Ben Baker
and Luella LeVee formed the
League to promote the arts,
heritage and culture of Northern 
Kentucky. Projects included the
Duveneck display at the Covington
Library, cataloging landmarks and
original homes, a walking tour of
the riverside area and historic
preservation initiatives. Over.

The League and local residents
preserved the historic district
along Covington's Riverside Drive
by opposing an urban renewal
project to raze the buidligns to
build apartments. In 1969 the 
group beautified George Rogers
Clark Park and started the annual
Duveneck Memorial Art Show,
which continues to flourish.

The marker was dedicated during the 49th annual Duveneck Memorial Art Show on May 12, 2018.