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The Respectable James Thomas Earle and Her Royal Majesty

The residence at 501 E. Southern Avenue, Covington, Kentucky

James T. Earle home at 501 E. Southern Avenue, Covington, Kentucky. Circa 1900.

There is a very elegant Queen Anne home at 501 E. Southern Avenue (MLS # 528509), in Covington’s historic neighborhood of Latonia currently seeking a new steward. The thing about rather substantial historic homes like this one (it has 5 bedrooms and over 3,200 square feet) is that they often once belonged to important people–folks that were the successful businessmen, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, politicians, or societal contributors extraordinaires of the past. The residence at 501 E. Southern Avenue is no exception.

The home was built in 1897 for James T. Earle in what was then a newly developing area originally called Milldale. Milldale was incorporated in 1884 as the City of South Covington but known by its vernacular name, Latonia. 

Earle, an employee of the C&O Railroad, was also president of the Latonia Board of Education, and Latonia Commercial Club.

In 1902, Earle became president of the First National Bank of Latonia and was later elected mayor in 1905 (the only mayor Latonia ever had!). This small city soon had financial problems and thus elected to annex to the City of Covington in 1909. Earle remained a successful banker until shortly after WWI, at which point he sold his Latonia home.

The Queen Anne architectural style is the most elaborate and eclectic of the Victorian styles. The style became fashionable in the United States during the 1880s and 1890s after being popularized in England by the architect Richard Norman Shaw (1831-1912). Ironically, the name has nothing to do with the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714) but draws its design aesthetics from the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras (1558–1625).

Queen Anne houses can vary greatly in their details and can include bay windows, balconies, stained glass, turrets, porches, brackets, and an abundance of other decorative details. Oftentimes, what is considered to be a Queen Anne home is actually a hybrid, combining Queen Anne motifs with features from earlier and later fashions.

Queen Anne details include:

Steep roof;

Asymmetrical shape;

Front-facing gable;

One-story porch that extends across one or two sides of the house;

Round or square towers;

Wall surfaces textured with decorative shingles, patterned masonry, or half-timbering;

Ornamental spindles and brackets;

Bay windows

Overall, Mr. Earle’s former residence at 501 E. Southern Avenue fits this style to a tee!