- Several springs were located in the Latonia area.
- Ralph Letton bought property and established a resort called Latonia Springs
- Named after Roman goddess Latona
- People felt bathing and drinking mineral water was good for you (Hydrotherapy).
- People took vacations to these springs. It was called “Taking to the waters.”
- Most of the visitors to Latonia Springs were from the south.
- They came to Latonia to get away from the heat of summer and disease
- Cholera (big epidemic in the South in 1833)
- Yellow Fever
- Other reasons for coming to Latonia Springs
- You could visit and shop in Cincinnati
- Southerners could bring their slaves (illegal to bring slaves to northern resorts).
- During the Civil War, few visitors came to Latonia Springs.
- North and South were at war.
- Most Northern Kentuckians favored the Union
- Latonia Springs closed in the 1870’s.
- Following the civil war, Covington grew quickly.
- More land was needed to build houses and businesses.
- The land in Latonia was level; in fact the area was sometimes called “The Flats.”
- The official name of the area at this time was Milldale.
- People began building homes in the area.
- A small town began to grow.
- Small Mule-drawn streetcars traveled between Covington and Milldale
- This allowed people to live in Milldale and work in Covington
Latonia Race Track:
- In 1883, a group of businessmen built a racetrack in Milldale.
- The racetrack was located where the Latonia Shopping center is today.
- First race was held on June 9, 1883.
- The racetrack eventually contained a large clubhouse, large barns to house the horses, a grandstand that sat thousands, and a large lake.
- 1888 the first Latonia Derby was held.
- This drew thousands of people to the racetrack.
- Crowds were as big as those at the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
- Many famous people visited the Latonia Racetrack.
- Alice Roosevelt in 1905.
- The Daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938.
- The area around 3L Highway (once the site of old Latonia Springs resort) was leased in 1891 to Herman Summe and August Ratterman
- Used the property for dairy farms.
- Springs were used to keep the milk cold.
City takes Shape:
- The racetrack brought many new people to Milldale.
- New houses and businesses were constructed.
- Ritte’s corner was constructed.
- The corner where Decoursey, Southern, and Winston Avenues come together
- These buildings were built in the late 1880’s and early 1890’s.
- Businesses at this corner included a saloon, theater, and a bank.
- 1893- Electric streetcars replace mule-driven cars.
- The trip into Covington became much quicker.
- 1895-the population of Milldale was 1,500.
- Milldale needed a fire and police protection and the streets needed paving.
- Milldale, however, was not a city so it could not levy taxes.
- Residents decided to establish a city in 1896.
- The city was named Latonia (after the early resort and the race track).
- Latonia was now an independent city.
Churches and Schools:
- Over the years a number of churches and schools were built in Latonia.
- Latonia Christian Church
- Latonia Baptist Church
- Episcopal Church
- Latonia City School (later becomes 9th District)
- The largest Church was Holy Cross.
- The parish was created in 1890 by 42 families (mostly German families).
- A combination church and school was built.
- School was on the first floor and the church on the second.
- Holy Cross School opened in January 1891 with 80 Students.
- That year there was only one teacher for all 8 grades.
- September 1891, the Sisters of Benedict arrived as teachers.
- Present Holy Cross Church built in 1908 at a cost of $50,000.00
- The parish had 206 families in 1908.
- 1913- enrollment in the school reached 354.
- A new school (the current Elementary school) was built in 1914 at the cost of $36,000.00.