Grants Lick celebrates 225 years: ‘It’s a community that helps each other’

Haley Parnell
Haley Parnell
Haley is a reporter for LINK nky. Email her at [email protected]

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Grants Lick is a small town in the southwestern part of Campbell County. It has been there for 225 years.

In 1793, Samuel Bryan, the nephew of Daniel Boone, discovered salt water in the area. John Grant, also a nephew of Boone, owned the land on which the salt water was found and created a profitable business around salt mining.

Because of their partnership and interest in the salt business, the area of Grants Lick developed into the community it is today.

One resident LINK spoke to described it as a quiet rural town with friendly neighbors.

“I think it’s a very quiet lifestyle,” 48-year Grants Lick resident Ken Reis said. Reis is also organizing the 225th anniversary celebration, which was held over the weekend. “Little to no crime of any type, never has been. It’s a community that helps each other. Everybody’s very friendly. It’s a community that takes our school and our churches very, very seriously. And we tend to be outdoors people; we like to be outside a lot.”

The Grants Lick sign posted in the Welcome Park. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky

While some businesses and city signs refer to the city as Grant’s Lick (with an apostrophe), according to the Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky, the city is Grants Lick (with no apostrophe).

Reis is a retired president of the Campbell County Historical Society. He said he started writing a history advancement, which allowed him to interview people and collect information on Grants Lick, ultimately leading to the 225th celebration.

“This anniversary helps us celebrate our ancestors who came here and settled our land and began what we consider today, the Grants Lick heritage,” Reis said.

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As part of the event, signs highlighting historical places, people, or events were put up in a mile stretch from U.S. 27 leading into the community.

Reis said one important place highlighted with the signs is the town’s corner store.

Grants Lick Market historical marker. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky
Grants Lick corner store. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky

“Our country store, which was built in the 1900s, has been the center of the community for a long time,” Reis said. “That’s why when this event started. I decided I wanted something permanent as a representative of the event. I wanted to find someplace to put a mural. So, it turns out this side of our store facing the highway was originally the entrance to the store.”

The mural that was commissioned on the side of the corner store for the 225th anniversary. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky

He said the mural was based on a picture he found during his research of Grants Lick from 1896.

The mural that was commissioned on the side of Grants Lick market for the 225th anniversary. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky
The first historical marker at the entrance of Grants Lick for the historic “salt well.” Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky
Grants Lick Café was formerly a log home converted into a hotel, funeral home and more, before becoming known as Grants Lick Café in the 1980s. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky
Historical marker’s seven and eight on the second post office in Campbell County. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky
The former Grants Lick post office that closed in the 1950s, then serving as storage for the Grants Lick Market next door. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky
Historical marker number 13 for the Trapp Family service station. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky
The former Trapp Family service station. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky
Historical marker number 14 for the Jr. Order Mechanics building. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky
The former Jr. Order Mechanics building. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky
The historical marker for Grants Lick elementary school built in 1935. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky
Grants Lick Elementary School. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky

Reis has been very involved in the Grants Lick community for the many years he has lived there.

He is responsible for the welcome park at the town’s entrance. Reis said a highway expansion from 2006 through 2016 took their funeral home and left a piece of land that created a “mess.” He said he wanted to do something about it. After three years of trying to convince the state to let him turn the land into a welcome park, he said he was able to get it cleaned up.

Historical marker number two for the Grants Lick funeral home. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky

He has maintained the three-quarter acre park since 2016 and was able to get a sign, a flowerbed, and a flagpole erected.

The Grants Lick Welcome Park. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky

Then, Reis decided to create a Grants Lick community library during the pandemic. The library sits off to the side of the corner store, is free to the public, and encourages book donations.

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The Grants Lick community library sponsored by Ken Reis. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky

“I always felt that social responsibility is very important,” Reis said.

Other events throughout the day were a tractor and antique car show and tours of the Grants Lick cemetery where Daniel Boone’s sister is buried. Grants Lick Elementary school held a vintage baseball game with old rules like playing with no gloves.

The tractor show at the 225th celebration. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky
Rosie Red, a Reds baseball team mascot at the Red Stockings Vintage Baseball game. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky
The crowd standing outside of the Thelma Lee Bray Memorial Ballfield waiting for the Red Stockings Vintage Baseball game to start. Photo by Haley Parnell | LINK nky

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