Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mount Adams Incline

Location: Southwest corner of East Fifth Street and Eggleston Avenue, Downtown

The marker reads:

From 1800 to 1830, the steep hillside land that lay between the downtown basin and the Kemper family’s Walnut Hill farm was occupied only by stone quarries and a few scattered house.  In 1830, Nicholas Longworth acquired a great part of the property in the area.  He created a vineyard that he called the Garden of Eden and later, he donated the piece of the land for the Cincinnati Observatory.  Other speculators began laying out streets and dividing their holdings into building lots in the mid 1840s.  But the area was difficult to reach – the few roads that went up the hillside were too steep for horse-drawn streetcars to ascend and descend safely.

In 1874, the construction of the Mt. Adams Incline, which ran from the foot of the hill up to Celestial Street, made the area more accessible to the working families anxious to move away from the smoky, crowded basin.  The incline consisted of platforms drawn up and down two parallel tracks by a stationary steam engine; it carried both passengers and freight.  At the end of the 1870s, the incline began to carry horsecars, becoming a link in the streetcar line system that ran from downtown to Mt. Adams and Walnut Hills.

With the accessibility brought by the incline, Mt. Adams experienced a building boom between the 1870s and the 1890s.  Its streets were quickly lined with the modest brick and frame houses of lower middle-income families and a variety of neighborhood institutions, including churches, bakeries, saloons, groceries, a savings and loan, bowling alley, and firehouse.  The incline took workers to and from their jobs in the factories and yards in the basin and Deer Creek Valley.

1 comment:

Gassyknoll said...

Interesting. I've never seen that marker. Something to look for when the weather improves!