History of Northern Kentucky

Where the River Bends
A History of Northern Kentucky

Explorers and entrepreneurs, slaves and abolitionists, Natives and immigrants, gangsters and reformers… Whether they came by buffalo trail, riverboat, or I-75, they all helped define the Northern Kentucky we know today.

Where the River Bends: A History of Northern Kentucky, KET’s three-hour documentary history of Kentucky’s Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties, is the first long-form documentary to focus specifically on that region. The programs trace the rich history of the northernmost tip of Kentucky, exploring such broad themes as the region’s evolving ethnic mix, its complex relationships with the rest of Kentucky and with Cincinnati across the river, and how both natural forces and human engineering have continually reshaped its economy and culture.

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The timeline for Where the River Bends begins some 10,000 years ago, when Paleo-Indian settlements developed along the receding southern edge of the glacier that then covered much of North America. The programs then follow Northern Kentucky’s fortunes through the early settlement period and the Indian wars, waves of immigration and backlash against immigrants, the slavery era and the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, two world wars, flood and Depression, Newport’s “Sin City” era, and the riverfront revitalization projects of the late 20th century. See Program Summaries for more specific details.

Where the River Bends: A History of Northern Kentucky is a 2007 KET production.
The programs are narrated by Cincinnati columnist and radio/TV host Nick Clooney.


Thanks to the following for the use of archival materials in Where the River Bends:

  • American Philosophical Society
  • Behringer-Crawford Museum
  • Cincinnati Historical Society
  • Filson Historical Society
  • Kenton County Public Library
  • Library of Congress
  • Northern Kentucky University
  • Texas State Archives
  • United State National Archives
  • University of Kentucky
  • personal collections