Covington Ladies Home
Covington Ladies Home was founded in 1886 by West Covington resident Mrs. Ellen B. Dietrich to care for elderly indigent women who had nowhere to turn in the wake of the catastrophic Flood of 1884. Elderly poor women had no shelter, no income or resources, no means with which to re-build their lives. With the help of philanthropically-minded friends, Ellen Dietrich established The Women’s Educational and Industrial Union, which provided an employment bureau, a sewing school, and classes in housekeeping for women in need so they might improve their circumstances while preserving their dignity. The one permanent outgrowth of the Union was the Home for Aged and Indigent Women, known today as the Covington Ladies Home.
The Home has cared for elderly needy women in this area ever since. Covington Ladies Home is the only free standing home for women in Northern Kentucky, providing each resident 24-hour supervision, a private room, all meals, laundry service, housecleaning, linens, nursing assessments, activities, and much more. We have private rooms for up to 32 women.
The grand Victorian was built for the Ladies Home at the southeast corner of Seventh and Garrard Streets, which had once been an old lawn tennis court. The plot, measuring one hundred square feet, was owned by Amos Shinkle, a wealthy and enterprising Covington businessman most noted for his part in the erection of the Roebling Suspension Bridge across the Ohio River and also for the establishment of the First National Bank of Covington. He agreed to sell the land to the Home for Aged and Indigent Women—as the Ladies Home was then called– for $7,430. Later, Mr. Shinkle generously donated $2,000 toward the cost, so that the Ladies Home’s Board paid $5,430 for the lot.
The Kentucky Post reported on January 31, 1893, that the designs of Cincinnati Architect Mr. H.E. Seter, which the Ladies Home Board accepted, included a basement and three stories with a tower at the northwest corner for the main entrance. The building could house fifty residents plus first floor quarters for the matron of the home. There were to be open fireplaces in every room, but also furnaces, “in addition to all modern conveniences” placed in the building. The estimated cost was $20,000.
Mr. J.D. Hearne, who was a great friend of the home from 1888 when he began serving as a Trustee until his death, donated a large sum of money so ground could be broken in the spring of 1893. Despite a carpenters strike during that winter, the new building was ready for occupancy by June 14, 1894, when all nineteen residents moved into their new home under the guidance of board member Annie Abbert.
No lady is turned away from the Covington Ladies Home because of her financial circumstances.
The Covington Ladies Home is included on the National Register of Historic Places.