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New Historical Markers Coming to Kenton Co. Sites

Two new historical markers are coming to Kenton Co.

The Kenton County Historical Society announced Wednesday that its efforts to land more signs from the Kentucky Historical Marker program, which has more than 2,400 markers across the state, has been successful in two additional cases.

The county historical society said that the Kentucky Historical Society only reviews applications for markers twice per year, looking at historical relevance, significance, location, and community support.

The Kenton County Historical Society compiled a list of three possible subjects, and ultimately landed two.

One is for 3L Highway, a now colloquial name for Kentucky State Route 17, or Madison Pike.

It was once known as the Independence Turnpike and renamed LLL or 3L Highway in the 1920s.

Other state roads, including parts of what is now US 60 between Louisville and Lexington, and most of present-day US 27 between Paris and Falmouth, were also given this unique name. 

LLL was an abbreviated version of the full name of the road, that being the Louisville, Lexington, and Latonia Highway. 

The purpose of the renaming was to show horseracing fans, jockeys, horse owners, and trainers the best route between the state’s three most popular tracks at the time: Churchill Downs in Louisville, the Association Track in Lexington, and the Latonia Racetrack in Covington. 

While only signed as the 3-L (white signs with blue Ls) from around 1920 to about 1936, residents in Northern Kentucky, especially those in Kenton County, affectionately refer to this major thoroughfare as the 3-L still today. 

In fact, several cities along the route still include the unusual and historic name on their official street signs. 

The marker is planned to be placed in the grassy field at Old 17 (the original LLL) and KY 17 in Fort Wright.

The second marker is titled “Ancient Civilizations" and celebrates the existence of the many ancient civilizations that once roamed, hunted, and lived in the Northern Kentucky region, with particular attention to Kenton County. 

Native tribes arrived in this region over 12,000 years ago. 

The geography and plant life here, after the Ice Age, formed a near-perfect location for these tribes to thrive. 

Thousands of artifacts and evidence of burial mounds, campsites, and actual communities have been unearthed and researched for decades.

This marker is planned for the southern end of Pioneer Park in Covington, the actual location of one of the more important ancient civilization sites unearthed decades ago, the historical society said. 

Official installation ceremony details will be announced later.

Funding for the markers comes from the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana and the David J. Reinhardt Family, the Wells Family Trust, Karl Lietzenmayer, Bob Webster, and other contributors. 

-Staff report

Photo: Construction on Madison Pike (KY 17) near Pioneer Park in 1981 (via Kenton Co. Public Library)