History of St. Joseph Heights: Heck Farm

Posted on: February 19, 2018 12:00 pm
Tags: Archives, Did you know,

Aerial view of St. Joseph Heights shows the extent of the Heck farm. Due to financial stress, part of the original property was eventually sold to allow residential development along St. Joseph Lane, as shown to the left. This photo is also available on page 41 of "Covington's Sisters of Notre Dame", a pictorial history of the Sisters of Notre Dame. The author is Michael Hargis. For more details about purchasing the book, contact Sr. M. Joan Terese Niklas at 859-392-8120.

When Theodore Heck sold his farm to the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1912 (plus two additional acres in 1914), the Sisters’ property extended to approximately 54 acres. Twenty-two thousand dollars was the total price of the Heck Farm.  

The initial cost of 14 acres at $17,000, increased to $22,000 with the inclusion of existing buildings, equipment, and natural features. Three large buildings, a small building, and a pond were situated on the property. One of the large buildings, a three-story dwelling, was available for the Sisters’ residence.

The first floor of the eight-room bungalow was reserved for classrooms, while the upper floor provided living quarters for the boarders. The barn (40 by 30 feet) was remodeled into a chapel with a capacity of 50 to 60 worshippers. Another small building was originally a blockhouse for protection. A blockhouse is a fortified structure with ports or loopholes through which defenders may direct gunfire. Later this served as an engine house for the machinery that pumped water to the various buildings.

The original cow stable became a garage. Other structures included a small hot house and a chicken stable that had been relocated from the Fedders farm to the Heck farm. A large wagon (lacking a horse) was among the available farm implements.

Excerpt from Appraisal of Property

“A summary of our appraisement which we have made to the best of our knowledge and ability:

Current Value of Land $90,000.00

Current Value of Buildings $31,500.00

Estimated cost of contemplated building (St. Joseph Heights) is $300,000.00.”


November 13, 2017 was the 90th anniversary of the dedication of St. Joseph Heights at 1601 Dixie Highway. Sr. Mary Joan Terese Niklas, archivist for the SND Covington Province, will share a special St. Joseph Heights "Did You Know...?" article each month of this 90th year.

Suggested links

90 Years: St. Joseph Heights

SND Retired Sisters: Donate Online

Partner Spotlights

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