Campbell County Courthouse REDUX - Newport, Ky.


So if there is anyone out there that pays attention to these posts, you might remember that I have had the Campbell County Courthouse on here before...but it wasn't in Newport.

So looking back, I was pretty tired when I photographed the Courthouse in Alexandria. And that town is still terribly depressing. But I should have remembered the courthouse picture above, which I have passed numerous times in Newport and thought that something must be amiss here.

So here's the deal. According to an article by Jim Reis that has been published on Rootsweb, the county seat was moved to Newport in 1797. The land for this courthouse was given by James Taylor, the founder of Newport. The first courthouse was built in 1815. Now, some people wanted the county seat to be closer to the center of the county, so it was moved to a small rural community called Visalia. Visalia was apparently in the middle of nowhere, so the seat was moved back to Newport, where it remained until 1840. That was until Kenton County was carved out of Campbell County, and the legislature decided to make another move to the center of the county, establishing the county seat in Alexandria.

As Reis says "[t]he transition from Newport to Alexandria wasn't smooth." It actually took a court order and a visit from the sheriff to get the county clerk to go to Alexandria.

I know there are many who wonder why Kentucky has so many counties. The story of why there is still a courthouse in Newport is the perfect answer to that question. In 1883, Newport lobbied the legislature for an exception to the state law that required county business to only be conducted in the county seat. A special law was created, creating the Newport Court House District, which allowed for Campbell County business to be conducted in Newport. However, as was clarified by a recent court decision, Newport is NOT a county seat. County business is just conducted there.

Anyway, the above courthouse is where county business is conducted in Campbell County. I had to go to a hearing in this courthouse, and there is a great deal of construction going on behind and in front of the building. I am a big fan of this building, as I think it's a striking building in a community that I love. I've always been a big fan of Newport, both for its recent revitalization, and for its seedy history as a den of sin.
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