Newport, Kentucky

Newport is a home rule-class city[5] at the confluence of the Ohio and Licking rivers in Campbell County, Kentucky, in the United States. The population was 15,273 at the 2010 census. Historically, it was one of four county seats of Campbell County.[6] Newport is a major urban center of Northern Kentucky and part of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Area, which includes over 2 million inhabitants.

Newport, Kentucky
Monmouth Street Historic District
Monmouth Street Historic District
Location of Newport in Campbell County, Kentucky.
Location of Newport in Campbell County, Kentucky.
Coordinates: 39°5′19″N 84°29′25″W / 39.08861°N 84.49028°W / 39.08861; -84.49028Coordinates: 39°5′19″N 84°29′25″W / 39.08861°N 84.49028°W / 39.08861; -84.49028
CountryUnited States
 • TypeCommission-City Manager[1]
 • MayorJerry Peluso (R)[2]
 • Total2.99 sq mi (7.73 km2)
 • Land2.73 sq mi (7.07 km2)
 • Water0.26 sq mi (0.66 km2)
512 ft (156 m)
 • Total15,273
 • Estimate 
 • Density5,471.60/sq mi (2,112.32/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)859 513
FIPS code21-55884
GNIS feature ID0499438
The Campbell County Courthouse in Newport, Kentucky


Newport was settled c. 1791 by James Taylor Jr. on land purchased by his father James Sr. from George Muse, who received it as a grant.[why?] Taylor's brother, Hubbard Taylor, had been mapping the land twenty years prior.[7] It was not named for its position on the river but for Christopher Newport, the commander of the first ship to reach Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607.[8] Newport was established as a town on December 14, 1795, and incorporated as a city on February 24, 1834.[8] In 1803, the Ft. Washington military post was moved from Cincinnati to become the Newport Barracks. A bridge first connected Newport to Covington in 1853,[9] and the first bridge spanning the Ohio River to Cincinnati, the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, opened in 1866. Newport experienced large German immigration in the 1880-90s.[10]

By 1900, Newport was the third largest city in Kentucky, after Covington and Louisville, although Newport and Covington were rightly considered satellites of Cincinnati.[11]

Prohibition under the Volstead Act of 1919 resulted in a widespread illegal sale of alcohol. Many gangsters began to smuggle alcohol into the city to supply citizens and businesses. Speakeasies, bribery, and corruption became a norm in Newport.[12] A well known Newport crime boss was gambler and National Crime Syndicate member Ed Levinson. [13]

Newport's worst natural disaster occurred in 1937, when a flood covered a great part of the city. A flood wall was completed in 1948, and remains a significant part of Newport's landscape.[7]

Newport once had the reputation of "Sin City" due to its upscale gambling casinos on Monmouth street.[14] Monmouth also had many men's stores, restaurants, and ice cream parlors.[14] Investigations for racketeering pushed out the casinos, which were replaced by peep shows and adult strip clubs.[14] Many of the old businesses disappeared when parking became difficult on Monmouth Street and the commercial district opened on the hill of south Newport.[14]

A garage at 938 John Street manufacturing illegal fireworks exploded without warning in 1981, leaving severe damage up to a six-block radius.[15]

In the 1980s and 1990s, Newport made plans to develop its riverfront and core to focus primarily on "family friendly" tourism, instead of the "Sin City" tourism of the past. In May 1999 the $40-million Newport Aquarium opened,[16] and the historic Posey Flats apartments were leveled in favor of the Newport on the Levee entertainment complex, which opened the following year.

In 1997 plans for a 1,015-foot (309 m) structure called the "Millennium Tower" were revealed.[17] The tower's main selling point was that building it would be financed by private money, as opposed to taxpayer money. Mick Nelson also heads up the expo at the levee in Newport.[17] The tower was expected to be completed by 2003,[18] but investors later pulled out and no construction was done. Today the site for the tower is a parking lot next to the World Peace Bell.

Today, Newport is becoming the entertainment community of the fast-growing Northern Kentucky area while its neighboring cities—Bellevue and Covington—become the business centers.[19]


Timeline of Newport, Kentucky

County seatEdit

Newport is a county seat of Campbell County, and was previously a county seat from 1797 until 1823, and again from 1824 until 1840.[42] In the 19th century, the overwhelming majority of the population lived in Newport and the surrounding cities. Many citizens did not like traveling south to Alexandria to conduct county business, as southern Campbell County was primarily undeveloped.

In 1883, Newport successfully lobbied the state legislature for an exception to state law, which both required that a county seat be located in the center of the county, and that certain county business only be conducted at the county seat. Frankfort passed a special law, creating the Newport Court House District, and within that district, the Newport Courthouse Commission which functioned as a special taxing district, so that an additional courthouse could be built, and business could take place in Newport, in addition to Alexandria. In 2008, the Kentucky General Assembly removed the taxing authority from the Courthouse Commission, but left the District and Commission intact.

The Daniel Carter Beard Bridge is more commonly called the "Big Mac" bridge because of its resemblance to McDonald's iconic arches.

In 2009, a court ruled that Alexandria is the only county seat, and Newport is not a county seat.[43] On November 24, 2010, the Kentucky Court of Appeals disagreed, and granted Newport equal status as a county seat.[44] On August 25, 2011, the Supreme Court of Kentucky denied review of the appellate decision.[45]


Newport is located at 39°5′19″N 84°29′25″W / 39.08861°N 84.49028°W / 39.08861; -84.49028 (39.088661, −84.490206).[46]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.0 square miles (7.8 km2), of which 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (8.42%) is water.

Newport is located within the Bluegrass region found in the Upland South of the United States of America. Newport is also commonly referred to as being located in the Midwest. Either description of Upland South or Midwest is acceptable, as Newport is located at the boundary between those regions.


Newport is located within a transition zone and is proximal to the extreme northern limit of the humid subtropical climate of the Southeastern United States.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)14,932[4]−2.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[47]

As of the census[48] of 2010, there were 15,273 people, 6,194 households, and 3,273 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,267.8 inhabitants per square mile (2,420.0/km2). There were 7,828 housing units at an average density of 2,878.0 per square mile (1,111.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.3% White, 7.6% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.7% Asian, less than 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.8% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.1% of the population.

There were 6,194 households, out of which 23.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 28.7% were married couples living together, 17.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.2% were non-families. 37.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the city the population was spread out, with 22.2% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 31.2% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,451, and the median income for a family was $32,858. Males had a median income of $29,337 versus $22,723 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,207. About 20.7% of families and 22.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.1% of those under age 18 and 16.3% of those age 65 or over.


Newport Public Schools are part of the Newport Independent Schools School District. The district has one elementary school, one intermediate school, one middle school, and one high school.[49] Newport is also home to a Catholic private high school, Newport Central Catholic is a coed private Catholic school in central Newport which has been operating for over 100 years. Newport has a public library, a branch of the Campbell County Public Library.[50]


Local TV is based in Newport.


A pivotal scene (in which the autistic character Raymond Babbitt counts the toothpicks) in the 1988 film Rain Man was filmed in Newport at Pompilio's Italian restaurant.[51][52] Scenes from the Netflix original movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) were filmed in Newport. The scenes from Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) showcase parts of Monmonuth Street, Pepper Pod, and Newport's historic court house.[53] A scene from the 2011 political thriller The Ides of March was shot in Newport. The scene (in which Molly Stearns overdoses) was shot at the Comfort Inn located at 420 Riverboat Row facing downtown Cincinnati across the Dan C Beard Bridge in Kentucky.[54]

Notable peopleEdit

  • Brent Spence (December 24, 1874 – September 18, 1967), was a long time Democratic Congressman, attorney, and banker from Northern Kentucky.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ City of Newport website
  2. ^ Bailey, Phillip (13 March 2014). "Republican Matt Bevin Receives Endorsement from Northern Kentucky Mayor". WFPL. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  3. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  5. ^ "Summary and Reference Guide to House Bill 331 City Classification Reform" (PDF). Kentucky League of Cities. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  7. ^ a b "History". Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  8. ^ a b Commonwealth of Kentucky. Office of the Secretary of State. Land Office. "Newport, Kentucky". Accessed 4 September 2013.
  9. ^ Barker, Thomas; et al. (October 10, 2008). Wicked Newport. The History Press. p. 7. ISBN 9781596295490. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
  10. ^ Federal Writers' Project (1996). The WPA Guide to Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky. p. 247. ISBN 0813108659. Retrieved 24 November 2013.
  11. ^ Shevitz, Amy (2007). Jewish Communities on the Ohio River: A History. University Press of Kentucky. p. 143. ISBN 978-0813172163.
  12. ^ "The Hidden Mob History of Newport, Kentucky". Retrieved 2017-02-05. External link in |newspaper= (help)
  13. ^ Thomas., Barker (2008). Wicked Newport : Kentucky's sin city. History Press. ISBN 978-1-62584-117-9. OCLC 849739118.
  14. ^ a b c d Hughes, John (January 6, 2000). "For Whom the Bell Tolls". City Beat. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved 2008-09-21.
  15. ^ Newport Fire/EMS History Timeline Archived 2012-03-12 at the Wayback Machine City of Newport. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
  16. ^ a b Vernon N. Kisling, Jr., ed. (2001). "Zoological Gardens of the United States (chronological list)". Zoo and Aquarium History. USA: CRC Press. ISBN 978-1-4200-3924-5.
  17. ^ a b Ramos, Steve (August 10, 2000). "The Return of Newport's Erection". City Beat. Archived from the original on May 19, 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-21.
  18. ^ Flynn, Terry (August 8, 2000). "More than money needed for tower". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2008-09-21.
  19. ^ Jeffrey McMurray, Associated Press (2007-07-07). "Cities divide to conquer growth". Lexington Herald-Leader/ Retrieved 2007-07-08.[dead link]
  20. ^ a b c d e f Britannica 1910.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h Federal Writers' Project 1939.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Whitehead 2009.
  23. ^ Davies Project. "American Libraries before 1876". Princeton University. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  24. ^ a b Federal Writers' Project 1939, pp. 451–461: "Chronology"
  25. ^ a b c Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990, U.S. Census Bureau, 1998
  26. ^ Steely Library Special Collections. "List of Collections". Northern Kentucky University. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  27. ^ E. Polk Johnson (1912). History of Kentucky and Kentuckians. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company.
  28. ^ a b "Library History (timeline)". Kentucky: Campbell County Public Library. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  29. ^ "History of Newport, Kentucky". City of Newport. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  30. ^ a b "The School on the Hill: A Brief History". Newport Central Catholic High School. Archived from the original on March 12, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  31. ^ "Timeline", Where the River Bends: A History of Northern Kentucky, Lexington KY: Kentucky Educational Television
  32. ^ "Then and Now: The rise and fall of 'Sin City'",, 2013, archived from the original on 2018-12-10, retrieved 2019-01-07
  33. ^ "US Newspaper Directory". Chronicling America. Washington DC: Library of Congress. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  34. ^ Caraway 2009.
  35. ^ "Once a Rundown District, It's Now Mansion Hill", New York Times, January 16, 2000
  36. ^ "Newport Mayor Resigns", Kentucky New Era, August 19, 1992 – via Google News
  37. ^ "Campbell County (Kentucky) Historical and Genealogical Society". Archived from the original on 2016-09-16. Retrieved September 1, 2016 – via
  38. ^ "Kentucky". Official Congressional Directory. Washington DC: Government Printing Office. 2005. hdl:2027/mdp.49015002997139 – via HathiTrust.
  39. ^ "Peluso to Seek Reelection as Newport Mayor", River City News, Covington, KY, January 18, 2016
  40. ^ "Newport city, Kentucky". State & County QuickFacts. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  41. ^ Civic Impulse, LLC. "Members of Congress". GovTrack. Washington DC. Retrieved September 10, 2016.
  42. ^ "Alexandria and Newport Courthouses".
  43. ^ Judge: Alexandria the only county seat, The Kentucky Enquirer, 2009-05-12. Accessed 2009-05-28.
  44. ^ Nolan v. Campbell County Fiscal Court Kentucky Court of Appeals. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  45. ^ SUPREME COURT OF KENTUCKY AUGUST 25, 2011 MINUTES Archived April 24, 2017, at the Wayback Machine Supreme Court of Kentucky. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  46. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  47. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  48. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  49. ^ "Newport Independent School District". Newport Independent School District. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  50. ^ "Kentucky Public Library Directory". Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Archived from the original on 2019-01-11. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  51. ^ Film Locations for Rain Man Retrieved 2013-03-11.
  52. ^ Kiesewetter, John (May 16, 2013). "'Rain Man' put Cincinnati on film-world map". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  53. ^ Film Locations for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile Retrieved July 10th, 2020.
  54. ^ Film locations for the Ides of March (2011) Retrieved July 10th, 2020
  55. ^ John Alexander, 85; Film and Stage Actor


External linksEdit