The rich history of Devou Park dates back to the year 1910 when William P. and Charles P. Devou donated 500 acres of property to the City of Covington for park purposes.
Over the years, the park has added various recreational facilities, first of which was a golf course. The city commission hired John Brophy, golf professional at Ft. Mitchell Country Club, to design a nine-hole golf course in the park in 1922. The following year, the course opened for play. In 1936, the original course was redesigned and graded for better play. Respectable tee fees ranged from seventy cents to one dollar.
Devou Park enhancements weren't limited to recreation facilities. The Covington Rotary Club began an effort to improve the beauty of the park in 1932. The Rotarians planted trees in memory of their deceased members. This area became known as Rotary Grove and was dedicated on June 7, 1932. Additional trees were planted over the next decades. In 1938, through a grant for park improvements, three major projects were planned including a shelter house, two swimming pools and a large band shell. The shelter house was constructed of native fieldstone and contained a large fireplace. This building was ready for use by the spring of 1939.
The Band Shell
The distinctive band shell was completed in the summer of 1939. In August of that year, a record-breaking crowd of 40,000 experienced a concert at the new band shell. Gas rationing during World War II, however, brought the summer concerts to a temporary end. Since 1945, the band shell hosts both concerts and dramatic performances including current use by the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra.
The Memorial Building
In October 1956 workers began demolishing the original shelter house at the overlook on the eastern side of the park, with its spectacular views of both Covington and Cincinnati. In place of the shelter house, the Memorial Building was constructed for public rental. Dedication ceremonies for this 2,600 square foot, $150,000 facility took place on August 10, 1958. A memorial plaque was presented for keeping in the building. Project funding was made possible in large part by the Devou Family Trust.
In February 2003, The Drees Company announced the donation of a new reception and banquet facility, the Drees Pavilion, to replace the Memorial Building. The $2 million donation was made to commemorate the home building company's 75th Anniversary. Construction of the 10,453 square foot Pavilion began in April 2003, and opened for events and receptions in January 2004.
At the dedication ceremony on February 3, 2004, a time capsule was sealed in the brick facade of the Pavilion, to be opened in 2053. The commemoration plaque that originally hung in the Memorial Building is now prominently displayed in the Drees Pavilion foyer along with a plaque memorializing The Drees Company's donation.
A non-profit board oversees the administration and profits from the Pavilion with the hope to fund future park improvements.