Excavation Along River Yields History - Hemingray archaeological dig


Publication: The Kentucky Post

Covington, KY, United States

Excavation along river yields history


By T. C. Brown

Kentucky Post Staff Writer

The past is surfacing along the Covington riverfront.

Excavators have recovered almost 300 bags of artifacts, including the remains of a glass factory, pottery plant and steel mill, researchers say.

The digging is part of the RiverCentre project, a complex of offices, a hotel and theme park planned along the Ohio.

But continued work at the bank could cost Covington $150,000.

Economic Development Director Tom Fiorini said no final cost has been determined, but he would "not be surprised If the final figure approached $150,000."

City Finance Director Greg Engelman said payment for the digging probably will come from a $16 million bond issue the city intends to float for the entire development project.

Fiorini said the digging was initiated because of the 1966 Historical Preservation Act. He said the excavation is required whenever federal money is used toward a project, like River-centre. An $8.1 million, grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will help finance the $70 million development along the river.

Fiorini said tests and archaeological surveys are nearly complete. Consultants have made some recommendations to the city and state government about which resources may be destroyed and what research questions must be addressed.

Bob Genheimer, the city's consultant, said the finds have been historically significant. Articles have been recovered from a previously undocumented pottery plant and the other evidence tells archaeologists more about Covington's past. That evidence would have been destroyed if not for the excavation.

Researchers have uncovered glass objects and the foundation of the Heminggray [sic] Hemingray Glass Factory dating from 1853, articles from an 1830 steel mill that made nails, and artifacts from a pottery plant that operated in the 1830s to 1840s.

Items recovered include insulators, bottles with markings, paintings and etchings, flasks, and a "rare find" of a cast-iron bottle mold. Workers also have uncovered a number of privies with more domestic items.

Genheimer said he has recommended more excavation, but said researchers will work within the city's demolition schedule.

Recovered items will be turned over to the Behringer-Crawford Museum.

Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:September 6, 2009 by: Bob Stahr;