Robert Gordon's Coal Yard

Robert Gordon: How History lost his Community

The previous half-dozen posts examined the way businessman Robert Gordon thrived in the growing, prosperous and culturally rich African American community in Cincinnati before, during and after the Civil War. By the time of his death Gordon was a minor celebrity; he turned up in national accounts of wealthy Blacks during reconstruction and was covered[…]

Ford Model T assembly plant

An old industrial building at 660 Lincoln Avenue, now used for office space by Children’s Hospital and bearing its logo, is visible from I71 as the highway reaches the top of the hill from downtown Cincinnati. The building began its life in 1914 as an assembly plant for the Model T Ford. During the last[…]

Melrose “New” YMCA building, 1967

The last couple of posts concerned the Melrose YMCA in the remodeled Cincinnati Club building. In 1967 the old building was demolished to be replaced with a modest modern facility. During the construction the Black religious community in Walnut Hills returned the favor of space. As the Y had hosted the services of churches under[…]

Melrose YMCA Development and Programming

In 1944, the Cincinnati and Hamilton County YMCA established the Walnut Hills branch, a Black alternative to the segregated Williams YMCA on McMillan. Initially the branch operated the existing Nash Recreation Center at Mt. Zion AME Church. Within a few years the programs had more than 1700 participants and required more space. The citywide YMCA[…]

Walnut Hills (Melrose) YMCA

With the closing of the Melrose YMCA for a remodeling that will leave most of the space in the hands of other non-profit organizations, we look back at the history of the buildings on that lot – and their occupants – as a reflection of the history of the block and the neighborhood. Known originally[…]

Major Savings and Loan

Major Savings and Loan, located primarily at Gilbert and Lincoln Avenues, was the longest-lived African American Savings and Loan in Cincinnati, operating from 1921 until 1986. Savings and Loans, earlier called Building and Loans, were the primary savings institutions for most people, and the source of most mortgage loans, during the middle half of the[…]

The Hotel Alms

In 1891, Frederick Alms built a large apartment building on McMillan, just across Elmwood Place (later renamed Alms Place, now Victory Parkway) from his palatial home. He intended the place as a residence for families who “could have the fine air of a hill-top.” The new property also shared with his residence the magnificent view[…]

Thatcher’s Fish and Poultry

Ernest and Georgia Thatcher came to Cincinnati in 1929, a young African American couple from Kentucky hoping to make a better life together. His construction boss, a white man, agreed to help the Thatchers start a business in 1933; he paid their first few month’s rent on a storefront at 1015 Lincoln Avenue, and lent[…]

Dow Drugs

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw an explosion of consumer products, and produced a revolution in retail sales. Where were the new economic actors going to buy and sell all that stuff? Drug stores stepped into the breach, expanding from pharmaceutical products and hard candy to a plethora of new products, including bathing[…]

Fox Hardware

William H. Fox, an Irishman born in 1851, came to America at age 18. By the mid ‘70’s he had established a business as a tin worker in Cincinnati; in 1880, he opened a hardware store at Gilbert and Curtis in Walnut Hills. In addition to the normal tools and mechanics hardware and iron pots[…]