After a relaxing morning in our Airbnb, we left at 9:45 for walk around Covington, Kentucky, stopping first at Saint Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption. We walked across a busy 4-lane bridge in frigid temperatures, bullied by a gusty wind. The sun was supposed to come out later, although snow was flurrying when we set out.
We hoped to find beauty in simplicity. Covington is a charming little town across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. It has neighborhoods of elegant homes with little pretense. Saint Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption has elegant stained glass windows and intricate mosaics that are beautifully crafted with tiny pieces of stained glass and enamel glass. Elaborate religious stories are told out of simple cuts of colored glass. The church itself follows designs of two French churches, inside and out; they’re not simple plans but using a design already created makes a simpler task than inventing something from scratch. There are statues of famous men, men who created bridges, drew birds, fought wars, and led youth. Men who allowed their loves, skills, and talents to lead them to historical achievements. The Cincinnati skyline gleamed from across the Ohio River but didn’t encroach upon the laid-back vibe; we observed it quietly from the shores of the delightful and peaceful town.
In 1892, the third bishop of the Diocese of Covington engaged Detroit architect Leon Coquard to build a cathedral; he designed the interior after the Abbey Church of St. Denis and the exterior, with its flying buttresses, after the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. They broke ground in April, 1894 and finished on September 8, 1895.
The Cathedral, which has limestone columns and limestone-faced walls, was dedicated in 1901, but still lacked a façade in 1908. It was finally completed in 1910, decorated with gargoyles and chimeras copied from Notre Dame.
The Cathedral Basilica is most famous for its 82 stained glass windows designed in a neo-Renaissance art style known as the “Munich Pictorial Style.” Windows were handmade in the studios of Franz Mayer and Co. in Munich, Germany and installed from 1908-1923.
The circular Rose Window at the rear of the Cathedral is 26 feet in diameter.
In the north transept is the Cathedral’s majestic North Transept Window which is 67 feet high and 24 feet wide; it is the largest stained glass window in the world. It tells the story of the Council of Ephesus (431 AD) which affirmed both the humanity and divinity of Christ, and declared Mary to be the “Mother of God.”
The fourteen mosaic Stations of the Cross depict scenes of Jesus’s Passion and Crucifixion. Each station contains 70,000-80,000 pieces of enamel glass with gold and mother of pearl highlights.
Outside, especially on the back side, we noted the resemblance to Notre Dame.
After leaving the Basilica, we walked back to our Airbnb. This time we were walking into the wind and my cheeks were frozen. I had a hat, gloves and multiple layers on, so I was okay otherwise. We then drove to downtown Covington and took the “Historic Licking Riverside and Roebling Point walk” from the book Walking Cincinnati. It was icy cold.
We admired the Roebling Suspension Bridge along the Ohio River, the Cincinnati skyline and statues of famous men.
John A. Roebling was hired to build what was then called the Covington-Cincinnati Bridge, with the goal of creating the world’s longest suspension bridge.
John James Audubon was known as a painter of birds and most notably for his series called the Birds of America. Audubon came to the northern Kentucky area in 1819, and made many drawings near this place. During his stay in the Cincinnati-Kentucky area, he grew from an amateur to a professional, leaving Cincinnati to embark on his project to record the birds of North America, which was first published in 1826.
Chief Little Turtle, a Miami War Chief, fought to protect the Indian hunting grounds of Kentucky and the villages of southern Ohio from the onrush of American settlers. He twice led a confederation of Miami, Shawnee, and Delaware Indians in victory against American armies. After the Indians were defeated at Fallen Timbers in 1794, Little Turtle joined signing the treaty of Greenville in 1795. He declared: “I am the last to sign it and will be the last to break it.” He kept his word.
At the end of Riverside Drive, we came to The Point, the area where the Licking River and Ohio River come together.
Built by Thomas Carneal, a founder of Covington, around 1815, the Carneal House was the first brick house in the city. Georgian in concept, the style reveals the influence of the great Italian architect Andrea Palladio. In 1825, Lafayette visited as a guest; other famous visitors were Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and Andrew Jackson. Today the Carneal House is home to local preservation activists.
Daniel Carter Beard was a youth leader, outdoorsman, artist and author. Born in Cincinnati, “Uncle Dan” later came to Covington to live in this 1820s Victorian house that is a National Historic Landmark. He inaugurated the Boy Scout movement in 1905, and was one of the first National Commissioners of the Boys Scouts of America. He was awarded the first medal for outstanding citizenship in the state of Kentucky.
It was a quiet and simple beauty we found in this town across from a modern big city, a non-pretentious town that sat on the dividing line between North and South during the Civil War and that today serves as a bridge between the different attitudes that make up the once-opposing regions.
*Monday, March 4, 2019*
*Steps, 13,479, or 5.71 miles*
“PHOTOGRAPHY” INVITATION: I invite you to create a photography intention and then create a blog post for a place you have visited. Alternately, you can post a thematic post about a place, photos of whatever you discovered that set your heart afire. You can also do a thematic post of something you have found throughout all your travels: churches, doors, people reading, people hiking, mountains, patterns, all black & white, whatever!
In my case, my intention was to look for thematic possibilities during my Midwestern Triangle Road trip. We took an icy cold walk around Covington, Kentucky, just south of the Ohio River and Cincinnati, Ohio, where I looked to find “beauty in simplicity.”
You probably have your own ideas about this, but in case you’d like some ideas, you can visit my page: photography inspiration.
I challenge you to post no more than 20-25 photos (I have a lot more here!) and to write less than 1,500 words about any travel-related photography intention you set for yourself. Include the link in the comments below by Wednesday, September 4 at 1:00 p.m. EST. When I write my post in response to this challenge on Thursday, September 5, I’ll include your links in that post.
This will be an ongoing invitation, every first, second, and third (& 5th, if there is one) Thursday of each month. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂
I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!
the ~ wander.essence ~ community
I invite you all to settle in and read a few posts from our wandering community. I promise, you’ll be inspired!
- Ulli, of Suburban Tracks, posted about his trip to Budweis and Cesky Krumlov in Bohemia.
- Jude, of life at the edge, posted some gorgeous photos of Trebah garden, all abloom with hydrangeas.
Thanks to all of you who shared posts on the “photography” invitation. 🙂