1850's - 1890's
During this time, Walton was a small town of about 500 residents. Tobacco factories, livery stables and carriage builders were the businesses in town. In the years following the Civil War the town became the railroad center of Boone County. The railroad prompted rapid growth for the City. In the late 1860’s, the Kentucky Central Railroad, later acquired by the Louisville & Nashville (L&N), laid tracks through Walton and Verona, our neighbor to the west. In the mid-1870’s the Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific, later part of the Southern rail system, was built through Walton and Richwood. Walton became the most important shipping point in Boone County for farm produce, as well as a local drop-off point for mail-order items. Following the turn of the 20th century, passenger service was introduced, and daily commuter trains linked Walton with Cincinnati, Covington, and Ludlow. As late as the 1920’s Walton residents commuted to work or to school by train.
Walton developed as a railroad town, bound by rail lines on the east and west. A business district between the tracks flourished along Main Street, and residential neighborhoods developed to the north and south. A small industrial and warehouse district grew up beside the L & N tracks, and worker housing was built near the Southern depot. The early streets of Walton were Locust Street, Church Street, Beaver Road, High Street, and the Covington & Lexington Turnpike (Main Street) according to the Walton map of 1883.
In the years following the Civil War a small African American Community formed in north Walton. Several Generations of the Steele and Ingram families, descendants of freed slaves, made their homes in the modest hall-parlor and saddlebag dwellings along Church Street. The center of the community was the Zion Baptist Church, founded on 1872.
Also during these early years the Churches of Walton were established. The earliest being First Baptist Church, Walton was established on August 8, 1866, followed by Zion Baptist in 1872, Walton Christian Church in 1876, Walton Methodist in 1879, and All Saints in 1894.
In 1880 Walton had the first known organized firefighters. They were known as the “Bucket Brigade”. There were 12 cistern built along the roadside to be used only for fighting fires. These cisterns were used until 1936 when the City installed a water system.
In 1883 a Mr. Henry Newton was a teacher of the “select school offering all branches of mathematics and a regular course of thorough instruction”. In 1902 this private school located on South Main Street became a public school.
The Walton Deposit Bank was established in 1890 with a capital stock of $25,000, which increased later to $50,000, all paid up. Dr. D.M. Bagby was President, O. Percival was Vice President, R.C. Greene was the Cashier. The building was a very commanding structure commodiously arranged for the special use assigned. Dr. Bagby was an ex-Confederate soldier, popular and public-spirited. He was also a director in the Walton Perpetual Building and Loan Association. He succeeded Dr. B.D. Allen as President of the bank. The Vice President, Mr. Percival, was a very prosperous and influential citizen and business man. R.C. Green was born in Grant Co., and reared in Kenton, and had filled the office of Cashier since the inception of bank, being previous agent for C. & S.R.R. at Brock, KY. He married Miss Eleanor Southgate; they had one daughter. Mr. C.C. Metcalf was the Assistant Cashier and succeeded Mr. C.E. Ford, who went with the Fifth National Bank in Cincinnati. Mr. W.L. Rouse was a very worthy young man and was retained as Clerk and Bookkeeper.
William H. Metcalf served as Postmaster by appointment from November 1897 through 1901.
In 1894 the names of the streets in Walton were Main, High Street, Columbia, Scott, Cruse, Locust, Botts, Verona, Arnold and Banklick Street.
In the late 1800's-1900's the town marshal of Walton was paid $6.50 per month and $1.00 for each dog he killed and buried.
In 1897 an ordinance was passed prohibiting trains from running more than 15 mph though Walton.
In 1898 Walton had only 2 paid fireman. The first fire chief, Taylor Stilley and his assistant chief Eugene DeMoisey. These two men were paid $2.00 for every fire they went to.
In 1899 the Walton Lodge F & A.M. was organized.
The Percival Southgate House, standing at 189 North Main Street, is believed to have been built for a Canadian named Percival Southgate during the Civil War era around 1860. The J. G. Tomlin House, standing at 109 North Main Street, was built around 1885. Behind the house is a former summer kitchen or smokehouse. J. G. Tomlin was a lawyer and the proprietor of a tobacco re-handling house in Walton.