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[…]

Shoe Manufacturing

Walnut Hills played a significant early role in Cincinnati’s important shoe and boot manufacturing. Three concerns active in the 1870’s, all run by English immigrants, illustrate the large-scale industrialization of the industry. Quintin Eagle on Elmwood Av. (later Alms Place) manufactured shoe uppers from the 1870’s though the ‘90’s – a specialization that only made[…]

Baldwin Piano

D.H. Baldwin, a music teacher in Cincinnati, began selling pianos in about 1862; his stock included Chickering and Steinway products. In 1865, he hired a Civil War veteran name Lucien Wulsin as a clerk. Their success as dealers grew, and Baldwin and Wulsin, partners from 1873, opened showrooms in other cities. They lost their Steinway[…]

Hilltop Carriage

“If the question was asked: ‘In what city in the world are the greatest number of carriages manufactured?’ almost any American school boy would answer Cincinnati, Ohio.” – The Hub, October 1897 Walnut Hills boasted several carriage factories in the late nineteenth century. The finest quality coaches came from the Hill Top carriage shop between[…]

Frances Jones Poetker

Frances Jones Poetker, of “Jones the Florist,” was born in Walnut Hills in 1913. The family had moved the floral business from Northern Kentucky to McMillan Street around 1900, and lived on Park Avenue, immediately around the corner from the shop. In the late 1920’s they constructed an elegant new building with a three-story atrium[…]

Robert Gordon, businessman

The first issue of the Journal of Negro History appeared in 1916. The first article, written by the editor Carter G. Woodson, described another former slave who purchased his own freedom and eventually found his way to Walnut hills. The closing paragraphs read: “A much more interesting Negro appeared in Cincinnati, however, in 1847. This[…]