Deconstructing Construction during Reconstruction: Financing the Reservoir Project

The Eden Park Reservoir project came during the decade or so after the Civil War, a period generally known as Reconstruction. The construction we have considered through this summer’s posts represented a huge public works project, on a scale unlike anything carried out by the city before the War. While we naively may think of[…]

Eden Park after Reconstruction: Presidents, Politics and Forestry

The 1882 Arbor Day celebration intersected with other history around the end of Reconstruction. It was as much an occasion for forgetting as for remembering – forgetting the Civil War and remembering a longer shared American history, reintegrating the states of the southern rebellion into the Union. The chance meeting of Col. A. E. Jones[…]

Frederick Alms

Frederick Alms, a native Cincinnatian born in 1839, graduated from Woodward High School and began to work for an uncle in the dry goods business. He heard Abraham Lincoln’s “bugle blast” in 1861 and enlisted in the Union Army, along with his cousin William Doepke. Their regiment, the Sixth Ohio Volunteers, saw hard service in[…]

Joseph B. Foraker, Reconstruction, and Civil Rights

Joseph B. Foraker lived on Cross Lane in Walnut Hills, in the block between Frederick Alms and Henry Pogue, across the street from the lot that would later be the Verona apartments. Like Frederick Alms he served in the Civil War, enlisting in 1862 – on his sixteenth birthday. He showed great leadership abilities, rising[…]

Benjamin W. Arnett

Benjamin W. Arnett, a free African American born in Pennsylvania in 1838, moved to Walnut Hills in 1867 to pastor Brown Chapel, the AME church organized in educator Peter Clark’s home. Arnett stayed at Brown Chapel through 1870; he occupied many pulpits in Ohio, including long service at Cincinnati’s much larger Allen Temple at Sixth[…]

Elm Street School, the Frederick Douglass School building, 1872

Walnut Hills north of McMillan Street annexed itself to the city of Cincinnati in 1870, at the height of progressive Black Reconstruction. The merger included Cincinnati’s Colored School Board. It resulted in the creation of a Walnut Hills district and the prompt construction of a new Elm Street Colored School. The report of the  Cincinnati[…]

Black Teachers during Reconstruction

Reconstruction presented a brief, brilliant decade of tremendous progress and optimism for the four million African American citizens of the US. Cincinnati’s Colored John I. Gaines High School and its Normal School for training teachers, under the leadership of Black Walnut Hills resident Peter Clark, made significant contributions to the creation of new schools for the[…]