Newport, Kentucky, (population 17,048) was officially incorporated in 1795 and is the oldest city in northern Kentucky. The location of the Newport Barracks in the region helped spur development, as it supplied soldiers during both the War of 1812 and the Civil War. During the 1840s and ‘50s, the development of industry helped Newport become a trading and industrial center. Major industries included iron, steel, sawmills, and breweries.  

One of the community’s most significant preservation projects was the rehabilitation of the National Register of Historic Places-listed Louisville and Nashville Bridge (1897) and its conversion to a pedestrian bridge. Fondly known as the Purple People Bridge because of its color, the bridge links the riverfronts of Newport and Cincinnati, Ohio, and has encouraged a whole new level of visitor and resident interaction between the two communities. The bridge has encouraged the creation of festivals to be held on both sides of the Ohio River, such as the Great Inland Seafood Festival.  

The Historic Preservation Office in the city of Newport developed a program to provide fifth graders in Newport information about historic preservation in the city. The program includes four sessions, two in the classroom and two field trips. Classroom sessions explore the history of Newport, significant buildings in the city, discussion of house styles, and elements of preservation. Students then take walking tours of the historic neighborhoods to see the information in context. 

The East Row Historic Foundation hosts the annual Historic Homes Tour and Victorian Christmas Tour. Each tour highlights approximately eight restored historic houses, allowing ticket holders a chance to enter and tour each home. Other points of interest within the city and historic district are featured, giving participants a greater knowledge about the history of Newport.  

To coincide with May’s National Historic Preservation Week, the city of Newport holds an Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards ceremony. The annual event gives recognition to projects that showcase exemplary restoration and rehabilitation projects. The Newport Historic Preservation Commission selects the recipients, aiming to highlight both small and large projects from across the city. 

Designated a Preserve America Community in April 2004.

For more information

City of Newport

Newport Historic Preservation Office

Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau