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These Covington and Bellevue Spots Are Headed to DC for National Register Consideration

Two sites in the River City Metro are headed for National Register of Historic Places consideration in Washington, DC.

The Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board this week approved six Kentucky sites for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, nominations which will now be forwarded to the National Park Service (NPS) for final determination of eligibility. A decision on designation will be rendered within 60 to 90 days.

The Marianne Theater in Bellevue and the Hellman Lumber Building in Covington were among the sites. The others were the Charles Young Park and Community Center in Lexington, Lynn Acres Apartments and the Louisville Gas & Electric Co. Service Station Complex in Louisville, and the Elkhorn City Elementary and High Schools in Pike County.

The Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office administers the National Register program in Kentucky and provides administrative support to the review board, which is charged with evaluating National Register nominations prior to their submission to NPS. 

Owners of National Register properties may qualify for state and/or federal tax credits for rehabilitation of these properties to standards set forth by the Secretary of the Interior, as certified by the Kentucky Heritage Council, or by making a charitable contribution of a preservation easement. National Register status does not affect property ownership rights, but does provide a measure of protection against adverse impacts from federally funded projects.

The National Register is the nation’s official list of historic and archeological resources deemed worthy of preservation. Kentucky has the fourth-highest number of listings among states, at more than 3,300. Listing can be applied to buildings, objects, structures, districts and archeological sites, and proposed sites must be significant in architecture, engineering, American history or culture.

The Marianne Theater was purchased this year by the City of Bellevue and has since seen a lot of interest in its forthcoming redevelopment and last week was the site of a scene in a Hollywood film being shot in and around Cincinnati. The Hellmann Lumber Building was purchased by the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington and is the target of a $1.45 million grant as well as the recipient of money from the Duke Energy Foundation.

Here is how the sites are described by the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

Campbell County

Marianne Theater, 609 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue; authored by David Killen, Northern Kentucky University graduate student. Designed by architect Paul B. Kiel in 1941 and built in 1942 by owner-manager Peter L. Smith, the Marianne Theater is a colorful structure located in the center of a city block. The theater’s design draws upon motifs from Art Deco and Moderne styles, featuring symmetrical design, glazed and colored tile, contrasts between horizontal and vertical elements, and geometrical shapes. The front facade is divided into three bays – a prominent entry bay flanked by a wing on each side. According to the author, “Considered Ultra Modern in comparison to other neighboring theaters, the Marianne was a social destination for the residents of Bellevue. The neighborhood theater became a significant place in which Americans participated in cultural entertainments and forged their cultural values… [It] remains remarkably intact from its time of construction.” It was nominated under Criterion C, property that embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction. Its significance was evaluated within the context “Neighborhood Theaters in Northern Kentucky, 1929-1965.” The theater was recently purchased by the city, which is conducting public meetings to determine a new use.

Kenton County

Hellmann Lumber and Manufacturing Co., 321 W. 12th St., Covington; authored by Beth Johnson, preservation and planning specialist for the city of Covington. Constructed between 1886 and 1894, the Hellman Lumber and Manufacturing Co. building occupies roughly a half a city block. It is associated with one of Covington’s oldest businesses and with the lumberyard industry, and played an important role in the construction of many of Covington’s substantial buildings. This structure is an intact, two-story, two-bay, side-gabled brick warehouse-style corner commercial building, approximately 14,000-16,000 square feet. The original foundation is wet-masonry limestone, and building characteristics include tall, narrow windows, doors topped by segmented arches, oversized doors, vertical divided windows, hand-painted signs and loading dock openings, in three distinct sections. According to the author, “As lumber yards changed and increased their inventory, altered the way they milled, and evolved in how they served their customers, the buildings would be tailored to those changes. The business adapted the building so that the Hellmanns could satisfy their customers’ desires.… The building retains much of its original architecture and exposed interior support system, giving the property the ability to inform us about this type of important business to the building trades.” It is being nominated under Criterion A, significant within the context “Lumberyards in Covington, 1880-1960.”

-Staff report