NKU to spotlight 150th anniversary of Roebling Suspension Bridge, regional history

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Did you know people once paid a penny to cross the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge from Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky?

More than 160,000 people paid the penny on the bridge’s opening weekend in December 1866, becoming the first to walk across what was then the longest suspension bridge in the world.

Almost 150 years later, the Roebling still fascinates the Tri-State, and the steel and stone structure will be in the spotlight 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the 23rd annual Northern Kentucky Regional History Day at Northern Kentucky University.

“Northern Kentucky Regional History Day provides us an opportunity to celebrate our region's rich heritage,” said Dr. Paul Tenkotte, director of NKU’s Center for Public History. “Knowing how we came to be enables us to understand where we are, and what we hope to become.”

Dr. Don Heinrich Tolzmann, historian for the Covington-Cincinnati Suspension Bridge Committee, will discuss Roebling and his bridge during the day’s opening address.

Other workshops will include a historical tour of Covington in 1916, an overview of resources available to research the history of the region’s African-American community, what popular music can tell us about American history and a presentation about the tragic lives of a 19th century couple as told through the eyes of a descendant who spent a decade researching them.

A display area will also feature artifacts, papers and more from more than 30 local historical societies, museums, libraries and publishers.

Northern Kentucky Regional History Day is 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the James C. and Rachel M. Votruba Student Union on NKU’s Highland Heights campus. The cost is $8 in advance or $10 the day-of. Parking is available in Lots K and L on Kenton Drive.

The event is sponsored by NKU’s Department of History & Geography and the historical societies and heritage groups of Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Fleming, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, Lewis, Mason, Owen, Pendleton and Robertson Counties.

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