Erlanger history

A suburban city located in northwestern Kenton County, was first settled around 1807, when Bartlett Graves built a log cabin on land he had purchased there in prior years. A large-scale settlement occurred after the Covington-Lexington turnpike was chartered in 1829. The small community that grew up around a tollgate was originally known as Timberlake in honor of local physician, William Timberlake. When the Southern Railroad arrived in 1873, the depot was named Greenwood after the president of the railroad. The depot was renamed Silver Lake to avoid confusion with five other cities along the rail line. When a post office was established in 1882, both the post office and the depot were named Erlanger in honor of Baron Frederic Emile D’Erlanger. The Baron was a German-born English financier who headed up a land syndicate created to develop the city. The land syndicate persuaded the railroad to make Erlanger a stop for all passenger trains and it offered one year of free rail transportation to anyone who located there. The town grew quickly and was incorporated in 1897. Businesses grew along the Covington-Lexington Road, which was paved in 1921. When Interstate I-75 was established in the early 60’s, subdivisions and industrial areas built up along the interstate, and Erlanger led the Cincinnati metropolitan area in new construction for three years in the 1960’s.

The railroad

On May 31, 1887 the Erlanger Land Syndicate recorded in Kenton County Deed Book 47/64 their intention to create the Erlanger Proper Subdivision and divide the property into 220 lots. Thus began the City of Erlanger, Kentucky. The area designated by the Deed Book included: Graves Ave. being 2112 ft. long and 60 ft. wide extending from Lexington Turnpike northward to George Bender’s land; Commonwealth Ave. from the Lexington Turnpike northward to George Benders land; Erlanger Road northward to the Longmoore/Graves land. Elm, Queen and Lake Streets were to flow in an eastwardly direction and be short connectors for the major streets initially proposed. Hulbert Avenue, Home Street and Cowie Avenue were established three years later in deed book 66/642. Timberlake (later to be named Erlanger), like most of the State, was barely touched by the Civil War. With the end of the War, the Northern Communities were looking for a way to enter the Southern Markets. When the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce began discussions of a Railroad into the area, they were reviving an earlier plan from the 1830’s. Louisville was strongly opposed to the route through the central portion of the state as this would pull southern commerce away from their city. The developers of the Southern Railroad set Chattanooga as the southern terminus. Many cities set proposals as to the location of the rails. Early on the cities of Timberlake and Florence began to set a strategy as to how they could attract the rails into their communities. Covington and Ludlow both offered generous support to gain the rail route through their city. The heirs of the Ludlow family offered 15 acres for the location of the station in their area. Covington offered $150,000 for the construction of a bridge and depot in their city.

historical homes

Union Church ca 1888 Land Syndicate donated a lot on Commonwealth Avenue for a non denominational Protestant Church called The Union Church. Today the location is now the Erlanger United Methodist Church. 

Locust Street School ca 1907 The school served all 12 grades. The building was enlarged in 1924 and closed its doors in 1970. It was torn down in 1985. 

Timberlake Home ca 1826 The original home was two stories. In July 1915, a tornado ripped through Erlanger. The Timberlake home lost its second floor and was remodeled to include only one story. The home is located at 108 Stevenson Road and is on the National Registry. 

Southern Railroad Engineer Home ca 1854 Located at 3302 Crescent Avenue. 

Kuchle Blacksmith ca 1900 Horseshoeing, wagon, and plow work was done by Mr. Kuchle. 

Mitchell Market ca 1891 Morgan Mitchell delivered fresh meat and groceries. 

Southern Railroad Depot ca 1877 Donated to the city of Erlanger in 1992. It was moved 100 feet from the track and now serves as the Erlanger Historical Society Depot Museum. 

Scheben Hotel and Cafe ca 1888 Originally located at the Southwest corner of Commonwealth and Dixie Highway. 

Land Syndicate Home ca 1887 Located at 26 Center Street. One of five homes built by the land Syndicate. The stucco covering is a rarity in Erlanger. 

Hauerkamp Home ca 1865 Located at 319 Erlanger Road. Matthew Hauerkamp was a town trustee in 1897. In 1910, O.M. Rogers, a state legislator, owned the home. In the 1950’s, Austin Mann, the Mayor of Erlanger, owned the home. 

Forest Lawn Cemetery ca 1850 Originally the Caleb Manly Mansion. Colonel Tom Cody also owned this property before selling it to investors headed by George Stetter to construct the cemetery. 

Castleman Home ca 1900 Located at 3214 Crescent Avenue. David E. Castleman was a prominent attorney in the area. His two sons, David and Ben, were reared in this home. Ben owned the famous White Horse Tavern in Park Hills and owned a horse farm where Triple Crown Winner Seattle Slew was bred. 

“A Centennial History of Erlanger, Kentucky” is a history book of the city of Erlanger written by Wayne Onkst. This book can be purchased at the City Building located at 505 Commonwealth Avenue, Erlanger, KY 41018 for $25.00. For more information, please call (859) 727-2525.