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encourage clients to develop their independence. Originally operating exclusively in the ErlangerElsmere area, the agency has expanded its operations and now serves all of southern Kenton and Boone counties. In 1996, after years of borrowing and renting space from local churches, United Ministries built a new facility at 525 Graves Ave. in Erlanger. A rift between the founding volunteers and the board of directors prompted the board to close the doors of the agency in December 1998. It reopened in April 1999, minus the founding volunteers, who formed a separate local group, the United Christian Volunteers. Grants, donations, and fundraisers help to keep the United Ministries of Northern Kentucky going. A thrift shop operates out of the basement of the agency’s building three mornings per week. Selling donated items at reasonable prices, the thrift shop serves a dual purpose: it is the agency’s biggest fundraiser, and it provides an affordable place for low-income families to shop. Croyle, William. “Help to Needy Expands with Thrift Shop Shopping with Dignity—and More Often,” KE, May 12, 2004, C2. Kreimer, Peggy. “Split Agencies Share Mission: The Poor,” KP, July 17, 1999, 1K.

Laura Schaefer

UNITED STATES. The steamboat United States, owned by the U.S. Mail Line, was built in 1865 by Johnson, Morton & Company, Cincinnati. It was 294 feet long and had a 40-foot beam and a 6.5-foot-deep hold; it operated on the Ohio River between Louisville and Cincinnati, along with its sister boat the America, with which the United States collided on December 4, 1868, in one of the most fiery steamboat disasters on record. Capt. David Whitten, original master of the United States, had left the boat and was replaced by veteran captain Richard M. Wade on September 17, 1868, less than three months before the accident. Owen Co., Ky., native author Alfred Cobb was on board the United States that fateful night; he survived and wrote about it in his 1890 work Liff y Leman or Thirty Years in the Wilderness. Certificate of Enrollment, Str. United States, April 10, 1868, Life on the Ohio River History Museum, Vevay, Ind. Change of Master certificate, Port of Cincinnati, District of Mississippi, George W. Neff, Surveyor of Customs, September 17, 1868, Life on the Ohio River History Museum, Vevay, Ind.

Barbara Huff man

UNITED STATES PLAYING CARD COMPANY. The world largest manufacturer of playing cards and supplier to casinos worldwide, the United States Playing Card Company began in Cincinnati in 1867 as Russell, Morgan & Company, primarily a printer of circus and theatrical posters. In 1881 the company began to manufacture playing cards; in 1891 it was renamed the United States Printing Company; in 1894 the playing-card division became the United States Playing Card Company (USPC). USPC subse-

quently acquired other card firms, including New York Consolidated Cards, makers of Bee Playing Cards, which are still manufactured by USPC. USPC has been making its famous Bicycle playing cards since 1885. It also produces Aviator and Hoyle playing cards. In 1900 USPC moved to a new facility on 30 acres of land in Norwood, Ohio, a plant that eventually comprised more than 600,000 square feet. The Norwood headquarters also housed radio station WSAI. Owned by USPC from 1922 until 1930, WSAI with its strong signal broadcast bridge lessons nationwide. During World War II, the company made parachutes for bombs, as well as playing-card decks that were sent to Americans in German prisoner-of-war camps; the prisoners could moisten and peel apart the cards to find maps of escape routes. From the 1960s until the 1980s, USPC was itself acquired by other owners. In 1994 USPC managers and local investors purchased the firm. In July 2008 USPC announced that it was moving its headquarters and 500 jobs to a 570,000-square-foot facility, formerly occupied by the Gap Inc., in the Mineola Industrial Park in Boone Co. The United States Playing Card Company. “United States Playing Card Company History.” (accessed August 10, 2008). Van Benschoten, Amanda. “U.S. Playing Card Moving to N.Ky,” KE, July 9, 2008, A1.

Paul A. Tenkotte

UNITY BAPTIST CHURCH. The Unity Baptist Church in Pendleton Co. was organized in spring 1817 by Rev. Christian Tomlin, who was also a physician. It was located on Haw Lick Branch, a tributary of the Middle Fork of Grassy Creek. The first building was a hewed-log structure. In 1844 that building was disassembled and moved about 300 or 400 yards from its first location. The second church building was next to the Unity graveyard on the main Middle Fork of Grassy Creek. In August 1860, when the Crittenden Baptist Association was organized, it was reported that the Unity Baptist Church had 33 members and that the church was represented in the association by J. Tomlin, W. Tomlin, and T. Morris. Asa Tomlin was one of the church’s earlier preachers. The church was moved again about 1888. The original logs were used to construct the church’s third building on land donated by Mary Agnes Detmus, widow of William McMillian. The site was on the ridge of Jagg Rd., later called Unity. In 1914 the log church was demolished and the present frame church building was built. In 1975 this church closed. It reopened on October 18, 1981, when a contingent of 77 worshipers from the Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church met there in search of a new church home. There were 121 interested persons gathered for the first Sunday ser vice, with 4 former members present. At the April 1984 business meeting, the church voted to erect a new building next to the old church. It was dedicated on August 10, 1986. Today the old building is used for Sunday school and meetings.


Belew, Mildred Boden. The First 200 Years of Pendleton County. Falmouth, Ky.: M. B. Belew, n.d. [ca. 1994].

Mildred Belew

URBAN LEARNING CENTER. Northern Kentucky’s Urban Learning Center (ULC) is a unique program developed to bring the campuses of the three local postsecondary educational institutions into the urban core. In the mid-1990s, through the Forward Quest visioning process, a group of civic leaders studied Northern Kentucky’s urban communities and found that although a more educated population was going to be needed in modern times, none of the postsecondary institutions offered classes that urban residents could easily attend. Thus, the ULC was established to make postsecondary education accessible for this underserved population in Northern Kentucky. The ULC is an educational partnership among Forward Quest, the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, Northern Kentucky University, Thomas More College, Gateway Community and Technical College, Covington Independent Schools, Newport and Dayton Independent Public Schools, and the Scripps Howard Foundation. Through the cooperation of these partners, the program has overcome traditional bureaucratic barriers to deliver flexible, responsive educational programming for the “hard-to-serve” and “high risk” urban population. The partners are committed to using their resources in whatever ways necessary to meet student needs. The ULC’s innovative program eliminates the four most significant barriers that adult students experience in pursuing postsecondary education: lacks in the areas of finances, child care, transportation, and self-confidence. To overcome the financial barrier, the most common one, courses are offered at the low cost of $10 each. Furthermore, in some cases students may borrow textbooks for their courses at no charge through the Kenton Co. Public Library. Because many students have young children and do not have access to consistent child care that they can afford, the ULC provides on-site child care at no cost, utilizing the ser vices and expertise of the Chapman Child Development Center. The care is both nurturing and developmental, thus extending the impact of the program beyond the parents. The ULC classes are offered in locations that have good access to public transportation: the familiar settings of public schools and the newly opened Urban Learning Center buildings, owned by the Covington Independent Schools and adjacent to Holmes High School. To bolster ULC students’ self-confidence, the instructors and staff endeavor to make every student successful, offering support, encouragement, advice, and knowledge in every encounter with students. ULC students regularly make the transition to the campuses of the center’s partner institutions, earning degrees or certificates. Some have earned certificates at ULC urban locations and have obtained training that has helped them secure better jobs, thus providing Northern Kentucky with a more educated and skilled workforce.

Chapter U of the Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky  

The Encylopedia of Northern Kentucky in partnership with Edited by Paul A. Tenkotte and James C. Claypool, The University Press of...

Chapter U of the Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky  

The Encylopedia of Northern Kentucky in partnership with Edited by Paul A. Tenkotte and James C. Claypool, The University Press of...