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Marker Celebrates Ohio-Kentucky Border, an Issue Decided by U.S. Supreme Court

Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso and Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Mann clasped hands and posed for cameras this week, standing at the precise spot that officially separates the two states.

The issue of where Kentucky begins and Ohio ends was not always so photogenic, though.

In 1980, it took a ruling from the United States Supreme Court for the two states to agree where the line would go. Kentucky had at one time claimed ownership of the entire Ohio River, and battled the state named for the river, and also Indiana, for nearly two centuries in some form or another. The New York Times reported in 1981 that Kentucky had even claimed parts of the Indiana cities of Evansville and Clarksville due to the shifting nature of the river.

After the Supreme Court ruling established the state lines, returning them where they were when Kentucky became a state in 1792, at the low water mark of the river, Ohio and Indiana experienced a river windfall, collecting money from river activities that had previously only gone to Kentucky.

In Northern Kentucky, most of the river is still owned by the Bluegrass State.

A new marker denoting the precise location of the two states was unveiled on the Purple People Bridge that connects Newport to Cincinnati, and Thursday's ceremony was nearly all the way across the bridge in the Queen City.

The Newport Southbank Bridge Company, which programs the Purple People Bridge, hosted Thursday's bi-state ceremony.

The markers give visitors the opportunity to stand in both states at once - and to acknowledge a happier neighborly relationship.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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