In order for Cincinnati to keep pace with other major cities at the turn of the 20th century, city leaders and citizens recognized that a rapid transit system was necessary for the successful growth and prosperity of Cincinnati. Although several electric street car and interurban railroad lines, as well as horse-drawn streetcars, were utilized for passenger transportation around the city, each line was separately owned and passengers were required to switch from one line to another to reach the downtown business district. A faster, more direct and more efficient means of reaching the downtown was needed.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, the collection’s photographer (whose identity continues to elude us) did not hesitate to include scenes of everyday life in his images that document the subway and street improvement projects. As he photographed the progress of the construction, which included images of the workers, engineers and commissioners in charge of the projects, he also captured the curiosity of the city surrounding these projects.
The Archives and Rare Books Library has added some new links on our website for Cincinnati German-American places and events. Have you seen the Sausage Queen at Bockfest? Have you danced the Chicken Dance at Oktoberfest? If not, learn more about these German-influenced events in the Cincinnati area. We’ve also updated other links on ARB’s website for research resources, exhibits, and websites related to our collections. Take a look and see if there is anything that interests you. For more information, contact the Archives and Rare Books Library staff directly at 513.556.1959 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Over winter break, a good deal of progress was made on the Southwest Ohio Folklore Collection (SWOFC) web exhibit. Work on the exhibit is almost complete and it should be available online within the next couple of weeks. This exhibit will feature brief glimpses into the various genres of the collection, as well as a link to the finding aid. All the research materials in the SWOFC were donated by professor emeritus Edgar Slotkin who collected them over the span of his four decades of teaching folklore in the Department of English at UC. He saved the years’ worth of student work which now makes up the collection. Continue reading Progress on the Folklore Collection
Some of our regular blog followers may have noticed that both the Archives and Rare Books Library and the Winkler Center are active contributors to the OhioLINK Finding Aid Repository. This repository was designed to help researchers find special collections, manuscripts, and archival material throughout the state of Ohio. A total of 60 institutions are currently participating and the repository now holds more than 4000 finding aids. Researchers can find 330 of the Archives and Rare Books Library’s finding aids on the site. Although the repository is not yet comprehensive, it does allow researchers to find an important avenue to find collections within the state of Ohio.
In addition to the scenes of everyday life that are found in the photographs of Cincinnati’s subway and street improvement projects, our photographer also captured a glimpse at the consumer side of this growing city. Images of billboard advertisements, as well as shots of shops and markets, gas stations and factories are found within the photographs, providing a backdrop to the construction and repair work that were the intended subject matter.
Found among the images of neighborhood drugstores and shops are shots of companies such as Cincinnati’s own The Kroger Company. In the images below, early Kroger storefronts are seen, one located at the corner of Mohawk and Central Parkway, and the other (to the right of Linwood Drug Store) at the corner of Eastern and Linwood Avenues.
In the spring of 1916, the citizens of Cincinnati voted in favor of the $6 million bond issue approved by City Council for construction of the “Pearl Street Belt Line,” a rapid transit loop that was to provide a solution to the congested traffic patterns in-and-out of downtown Cincinnati at the turn of the 20th century.
The Archives and Rare Books Library has recently processed a collection from the Cincinnati Ballet spanning the years 1970-2008. This collection, full of photographs, contact sheets, sketches, and notes, makes an excellent addition to our already extensive Cincinnati Ballet Records.
The new collection mainly includes visual materials related to The Nutcracker. Professional photographs, advertising campaigns, and community outreach programs are all documented. Above is a billboard advertisement, “One Size Fits All: This Year Give The Nutcracker.” Below is “Nut Man” who was very active in the Cincinnati community circa 1988. Contact sheets and action prints, as seen below, comprise an entire box of the collection. Continue reading New Addition to the Cincinnati Ballet Records
Sometimes, in order to build up you must tear down. Sometimes, progress comes with a price. In the case of the Cincinnati subway construction project, that price was the removal of several homes and businesses located along the proposed subway route. The razing of these buildings was due in part to their location, some lay in the direct path of the subway route, but also due to structural damage caused by the construction process.
All buildings were photographed as part of the subway project, including those which sustained damage due to construction of the subway. In some locations, vibration from blasting and digging resulted in cracked walls and ceilings. Below are images from 1921, the beginning of construction, that show cracks in foundations of structures located along the old canal bed, the new Central Parkway. Such photographs would be used to support property owner damage claims made to the city. It is reported that the city paid out over a quarter-million dollars in property damage reparations. Continue reading Accidents Happen: Adventures in the Subway and Street Improvements Digitization Project
After World War II and through the 1960s and 1970s, millions of people fled Appalachia in search of jobs and a better life. Cincinnati’s proximity to Appalachian counties in Kentucky and Ohio and its industries encouraged many migrants to settle in this area. The migrants brought unique music, cultural traditions, and stories. The experiences of Cincinnati’s Appalachian migrants varied. Continue reading Urban Appalachian Council Records Available in ARB