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Ludlow, Kentucky
Location of Ludlow in Kenton County, Kentucky.
Location of Ludlow in Kenton County, Kentucky.
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Kenton
Incorporated 1864
Named for Israel Ludlow
 • Total 1.28 sq mi (3.31 km2)
 • Land 0.92 sq mi (2.37 km2)
 • Water 0.36 sq mi (0.93 km2)
538 ft (164 m)
 • Total 4,385
 • Density 4,787.12/sq mi (1,849.06/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 859
FIPS code 21-48378
GNIS feature ID 0497339

Ludlow is a home rule-class city in Kenton County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 4,407 at the 2010 U.S. census. Located on the Ohio River, Ludlow is a suburb of Covington, Kentucky, and Cincinnati, Ohio. It received its greatest period of early growth as a rail station.


Ludlow is located at 39°5′24″N 84°32′52″W / 39.09000°N 84.54778°W / 39.09000; -84.54778 (39.089893, -84.547820). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2), of which 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) (30.65%) is water.


In 1790, the land that is now Ludlow was given to Gen. Thomas Sandford as a grant in recognition of his service during the Revolutionary War. Sandford traded the land to Thomas D. Carneal for land in what is now Ft. Mitchell. Carneal had Elmwood Hall built on the riverfront in 1818. It still stands (as of 2011) at 244 Forest Avenue and is a private residence. Carneal later sold the land to William Bullock, a British showman, entrepreneur, and traveller, who directed John Papworth to design a utopian community for the site named Hygeia (Greek for "health"). Never realizing this plan, Bullock sold the land to Israel L. Ludlow in 1830. Ludlow was platted as a town in 1846.

The city of Ludlow, named for the landowner, was incorporated in 1864.

Ludlow was used as a filming site for the movie Lost In Yonkers, starring Richard Dreyfuss.

Historic Ludlow Lagoon

Ludlow was formerly the site of the regionally significant Ludlow Lagoon Amusement Park.

As written by the Kenton County Public Library, "Genealogy & Kentucky History":

"The Ludlow Lagoon Amusement Park was a major recreational center for the Greater Cincinnati area between 1895 and 1920.

In 1894, workers began constructing a lake on Ludlow's western edge. The lake was produced by damming the Pleasant Run Creek, which emptied into the Ohio River. The original incorporators were Jerome J. Weaver, John J. Shipperd, Tom Jenkins, George M. Abbott and Charles Simmirall. These individuals were also involved in the South Covington and Cincinnati Street Railway Company. When the streetcar lines were laid through Ludlow, they were extended to the Lagoon entrance on what is today Laurel Street between Park Avenue and Lake Street.

The original attraction at the Lagoon was a lake so large that five islands dotted its surface. The clear fresh water provided excellent fishing and boating. The promoters also constructed a wide sandy beach that was used extensively for swimming.

Other early attractions included the large clubhouse. This large Victorian structure sported wide verandas that wrapped around the building. The clubhouse was constructed on high ground, which offered sweeping views of the lake and other attractions. The Lagoon dance pavilion also drew thousands to the park. This pavilion provided space for hundreds of dancers and large orchestras that were popular during the Jazz Age. The orchestra leader for many years was Professor Len Bagby.

Over the next few decades, many rides were added to the park. Among these were a $10,000 merry-go-round, a large 100' Ferris wheel that was housed on an island, a roller coaster (scenic railway) over the lake, a gold mine replica, an elevated automobile ride, a circle swing, and a Chute the Chutes.

The first general manager of the park was John Noon, who held the position from 1895 to 1902. J.J. Weaver was his successor.

Various entertainments also drew large crowds. The park boasted a 2,500 capacity amphitheatre where live productions were held. A large moving picture theater was also very popular as was the vaudeville stage. The park also featured a Japanese Fair that included an authentic teahouse and small exhibit space. Other activities included a large midway with various games, refreshment stands, picnic grounds and several miles of walking trails.

Four events between 1913 and 1920, led to the closing of the park. A flood in 1913 damaged many of the Lagoon's attractions. A large financial investment was necessary to restore the facilities. In that same year, tragedy struck the park. Lagoon managers had constructed a large quarter-mile motorcycle racetrack with seating for 8,000 spectators. The racetrack was an immediate success. However, in July 1913, a serious wreck brought notoriety to the lagoon. A driver lost control of his motorcycle and veered off into the stands. The cycle hit a gas lamp causing fire to spread throughout the grandstand. Panic set in as the 5,000 spectators tried to flee the fire. The result was horrific. Nine people were killed and over a hundred were treated for burns.

In July 1915, a large tornado ripped through Ludlow. Over $20,000 in damage was done to the buildings in the park. The final event that spelled doom for the park was the First World War. For many years, the Lagoon served Bavarian Beer (Covington made) at various bars in the park. Grain, however, was needed for the war effort, so the United States Government halted the manufacturing of liquor and beer. The loss of alcohol sales spelled doom for the park. The Lagoon Amusement Park closed after the 1918 season.

The Lagoon property was developed as a residential neighborhood. Parts of Lake Street, Laurel, Stokesay, Deverill, and Ludford were built on the site of the former park. J.J. Weaver used the clubhouse for his private residence. Eventually it was transformed into an apartment building. The City of Ludlow utilized a portion of the property as a site for an incinerator. Another portion of the site was utilized as a city refuse dump.

In 1967, the Ludlow Realty Company sold the remaining Lagoon property to Ludlow Development Enterprises Inc. (Carlisle Construction, King Wrecking Co., et al.). The purchase price was $28,000.00. At this time, the low-lying areas began to be filled."

Neighborhood taverns of Ludlow

The neighborhood taverns of Ludlow were once an integral part of this small community. With limited access to and from the city, social life often revolved around these public houses. These taverns included:

The Buffalo Bar (still in operation)

Ludlow-Bromley Yacht Club (still in operation)

Ernie's Bar (closed) - Formerly known as "Bud & Bills Stagg Cafe" or "The Stagg". It was owned and operated by Bud Crowley and Bill Flick.

Bob's Place (closed) - Formerly known as "Burkes Cafe". Owned and operated by Robert "Bob" Young. The business was taken over by his brother John Young.

Rock Bar (closed)

White Oak (closed)

On average, there are 1.5 bars/taverns per 10,000 people in the United States. With approximately 4,400 people as of the 2000 census, Ludlow currently has nearly four times the national average of bars/taverns to residents. In the late 1980s, when the Buffalo Bar, Bud & Bills Stagg Cafe, Ludlow-Bromley Yacht Club, and Bob's Place were all in operation, the ratio was nearly ten times the national average.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 2,469
1900 3,334 35.0%
1910 4,163 24.9%
1920 4,582 10.1%
1930 6,485 41.5%
1940 6,185 −4.6%
1950 6,374 3.1%
1960 6,233 −2.2%
1970 5,815 −6.7%
1980 4,959 −14.7%
1990 4,736 −4.5%
2000 4,409 −6.9%
2010 4,407 0.0%
2020 4,385 −0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 4,409 people, 1,739 households, and 1,135 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,141.5 people per square mile (1,979.4/km2). There were 1,888 housing units at an average density of 2,201.7 per square mile (847.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.46% White, 0.39% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.18% from other races, and 0.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.75% of the population.

There were 1,739 households, out of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 15.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.7% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 28.8% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,509, and the median income for a family was $44,441. Males had a median income of $34,890 versus $26,714 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,015. About 8.8% of families and 11.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.5% of those under age 18 and 14.9% of those age 65 or over.

See also

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