The Walnut Hills Historical Society (WHHS) is a committee of the Walnut Hills Area Council. We conduct historical research on the Walnut Hills neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio. Contact us if you want to be added to the email list.
We also engage in public history, working with schools, churches, foundations and other institutions to provide historical background to their work. And we do ongoing research into the people of Walnut Hills who have made our community such a vibrant neighborhood.
Walnut Hills was settled early in the 19th century by Rev. James Kemper. His farm overlooked the Ohio River on a bluff rising above the growing city of Cincinnati. Annexed to that city in 1869, Walnut Hills continued to be a desirable living area well into the 20th century because of its beauty, healthy air and easy transportation to downtown and factories in the Mill Creek valley and elsewhere.
From the mid-19th century, Walnut Hills included both White and Black middle-class residences and businesses and associated institutions — notably, Lane Seminary where Harriet Beecher Stowe‘s father and husband taught and where Abolitionism was famously debated; Frederick Douglass School, a historically Black Primary school with a rich history and celebrated alums; Peebles Corner, the ‘second downtown’ at the top of Gilbert Avenue; and Eden Park, with overlooks and waterworks.
These attractions are only the best known of the history that Walnut Hills contains. The WHHS researches and presents a deeper look into that history, in order to inform the development and neighbors in the area today.