In 1798, the process began to create Boone County, carving out a portion of Campbell County. Our first county court was held in 1799, nearly 225 years ago. As we approach this landmark anniversary, we reflect on our past and how we came to be who we are today. Quite a lot transpired during the year 1973, according to a timeline of important events published in the Boone County Recorder’s last issue, December 27, 1973.
A lot of growth was happening in the county around this time; plans for the Florence Mall (which would open in 1976,) were in full swing, I-275 was under construction in the Petersburg/Hebron area and funds to bring mass transit to Florence were approved. The Greater Cincinnati Airport (not yet international) dedicated a new terminal in September of 1973 and the grassroots effort to open a public library in Boone County was finally realized in November when voters approved the establishment of a library district.
The county was growing in all quarters: The Tri-City YMCA announced an Olympic-sized outdoor pool under construction, county parks were being established and Booth Hospital (now, St. Elizabeth) signed a contract to bring a full-service medical facility to Florence. Along the river, a long-fought battle to improve the crumbling River and Ryle Roads was being addressed and Cincinnati Gas and Electric announced plans for a station at East Bend, now under the ownership of Duke Energy. Progress takes a toll, though, this new station also meant the demise of one of Boone County’s most historic properties, Piatt’s Landing, which became the site of the power station.
Florence Mall, 1976
As one can imagine, not all of the news was positive. Boone County experienced violent crime, vandalism and theft at a rate that seemed outsized for the time, though it’s possible that this type of news was what sold papers. Destructive weather was also noted, including a tornado that destroyed homes on Bullittsville Road and Conrad Lane, a harbinger of the “Super Outbreak” that would arrive the following year. There was a train derailment in Walton, with 9 cars thrown from their tracks and a rapidly growing drug problem in the otherwise sleepy southern part of the county.
Our police departments were growing, right along with the county. Florence added four officers to its previously ten-man force. In Walton, the two-man force was suffering from scandal after scandal in 1973 but would soon settle down.
Boone County is less than 25 years younger than our nation, so we have a lot of ground to cover. Over the coming months, we will take a look at our county history, far and near, and what shaped us into the thriving community we are today.
By Hillary Delaney, Local History Associate