Strasse was developed in the 1970s as a restored 19th Century German village.
The village centered on the corner of 6th and Main Streets and originally
encompassed five city blocks. Main Strasse contained a large carillon,
entertainment facilities, restaurants, and numerous shops and other business
The beginnings of Main Strasse Village can be traced back to the mid-1970s.
At this time, the City of Covington compiled a plan for the revitalization
of the west end. A major component of this plan was the creation of
restored neighborhood of shops and restaurants with a German theme.
The site surrounding 6th Street was chosen due to the location of the
nearby 5th Street exit ramp (I-75) and Goebel Park.
original plans for the village included a large German Gothic carillon,
a visitors center, shelter house, restored Goebel Park, new sidewalks
and landscaping, and a decorative fountain. In April 1977, the Commonwealth
of Kentucky awarded Covington a grant in the amount of $2.5 million to
begin work on the village. Among the most prominent early supporters of
the project was Kentucky Governor Julian Carroll.
Work on the village began in the summer of 1977. Among the first projects
to be completed was the Julian Carroll Carillon. The carillon was designed
by Addison Clipson Architects Inc. of Cincinnati. The German Gothic
tower was constructed at the intersection of 6th and Philadelphia Streets.
The carillon featured four illuminated clock faces and 43 bells which
were supplied by the I.T. Verdin Company of Cincinnati. The largest
bell, weighing nearly 1,000 pounds was named “Big J” in
honor of Governor Carroll. The next eight in size were named after the
neighborhoods in Covington: Austinburg, Buena Vista, Helentown, Latonia,
Lewisburg, Peaselburg, Rosedale and West Covington. The tower reached
100’ feet into the air and was toped by a weathervane designed
to look like a Peaselburg goose. The carillon also featured a mechanical
depiction of the Pied Piper of Hamlin which played at regular intervals
throughout the day. The carillon was dedicated on July 19, 1978.
Park, which abutted the village, received a major renovation at this time.
In addition, a large German Gothic shelter house was constructed on the
north side of the carillon. On the south side of the carillon, an old
home was remodeled into offices for the Northern Kentucky Convention and
Visitors Bureau and for a welcome center. Other improvements included
new sidewalks and landscaping on both sides of 6th Street.
Many new businesses were established in the village. Most of these were
housed in restored 19th century buildings. By 1985, 29 restaurants and
shops were in operation in the village.
Goose Girl Fountain was officially unveiled in Main Strasse
Village in October 1980 on Main Street at its intersection with 6th. The
fountain was designed by Greek sculptor Eleftherios Karkadoulias and featured
a large basin topped by a German girl carrying geese to market. The fountain
is based on the Grimm’s Brothers “Goose Girl” fairy
tale. The fountain was produced in bronze using the lost wax method.
Main Strasse Village was formally dedicated on September 8, 1979. Among
the dignitaries present were Kentucky State Development Secretary William
Short and Federal Republic of Germany Counsel to the United States Frederick
Dittrich. Events on dedication day included speeches, entertainment
and German food.
Main Strasse Village quickly became a popular location for season festivals
in Northern Kentucky. The most popular festivals held in the village
had German themes: Maifest and Oktoberfest. These events brought crowds
of tens of thousands to the village each year. Other smaller festivals
and events held in the village included: Antiques Fair, Auto Fest, Christmas
Walk, the Great American Yard Sale and Goetta Fest.
January 1996, the Main Strasse Village Association hired their first full-time
executive director. The association promotes the neighborhood, sponsors
many of the annual events in the village and encourages tourism.
City of Covington Main Street Development Plan, December 2, 1976;
Kentucky Department of Communications: News Releases, August 11, 1977
and September 10, 1979; Kentuckian, May 13, 1979, p. 1; Kentucky Post,
January 5, 1982 and May 17, 1996, p. 3k.