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
The Cincinnati (Ohio) City Engineer – Rapid Transit Records collection includes both negatives and prints of subway construction and street improvement projects conducted by the City of Cincinnati between 1917 and 1957. While we are fortunate to have over 2000 printed copies from negatives included in the collection, not every negative has a matching print, and the digitization project does not extend to producing archival prints of the negatives. Because the prints and negatives have been separated into folders, with the negative folders organized by date and the print folders organized by street name, it is quite a task to match a print with a negative.
Like a game of Concentration, I compare prints to scanned images, hoping to match a print with its negative, spurred on by the challenge of turning over the right combination of cards! Fortunately, having gone through each folder to prepare the materials for scanning has made me familiar enough with the contents to have a general idea of where I might locate an image of Elm Street or Ludlow Avenue. Most helpful is the information being transcribed from the negatives and prints as they are scanned, which provides dates and street names in a spreadsheet that I compare and also match to the finding aid. As the project moves into the online collection building phase, each print will be matched with its negative in a database, so that ultimately researchers viewing the images on screen may quickly determine if a physical print is available. Continue reading Pairing Prints with Negatives: Adventures in the Subway and Street Improvements Digitization Project
Reviewing the images of the subway construction has provided me with a great opportunity to learn the names of the streets and the different intersections around downtown Cincinnati that were major points along the subway route. As I learn to navigate my way around the city, driving from one location to another, I’m finding this very useful as I’m constantly recalling images and the navigational captions written on the negatives. By providing the street names and directional information for each image, the photographer gave us a map of 1920s Cincinnati. I thought it would be fun to show a “then and now” perspective of some of those streets and intersections, courtesy of Google maps, providing a snapshot of how much the city has grown and changed, starting with the removal of the canal in the 1920s.
The images shown here begin at Race Street and head west along Central Parkway, then make a turn at Plum Street to head north on Central Parkway past Mohawk Place (The building on the corner of Central and Mohawk Robin Imaging, the company digitizing the collection.), and north on McMicken Ave.
Many of us are preparing this week for Thanksgiving, one of America’s oldest traditional holidays. Food rituals are key in most cultures, and they are certainly featured in the contents of the Southwest Ohio Folklore Collection. Providing a common link and shared experience, Thanksgiving dinner, and the holiday itself are prime examples of traditional American culture.
There are many Thanksgiving traditions which mark the holiday as an example of folkloric tradition. We may take for granted how commonly held practices such as preparing a turkey or breaking the wishbone might be considered folklore given their ubiquity, but folklore can be just that: a ritual so regularized that it begins to be practiced without thought. Continue reading Thanksgiving Tradition
Admittedly scatter-brained in many regards, it sometimes takes a few days for me to catch on to matters. To wit, two weeks ago a book arrived on my desk from Rowman & Littlefield Publishers accompanied by no letter or other explanation, only the package with my name typed on the label. I thought it was just another of the occasional books that find their way here, usually self-published religious or philosophical musings that are mailed wholesale to everyone and his brother. The title was interesting, though: Terrorist Attacks on American Soil: From the Civil War Era to the Present, and it was from a legitimate publisher. But even so, I set it aside with barely a glance. Continue reading The McNamara Brothers and American Terrorism
The Southwest Ohio Folklore Collection features a wide range of folklore related topics and this week’s blog explores food lore and folk art with a local twist. Carol Watkins’ paper from the collection features photographs and information on Myra’s Dionysus, a charming restaurant situated in a unique building at 121 Calhoun Street. Myra’s Dionysus is well known locally for their ethnic foods, vegetarian options and, perhaps most notably, for their seasonal soups. If you have ever visited the restaurant, you might remember that the soups which are being offered that day are listed on colorful hand-painted signs hanging in the doorway to the small, but cozy, dining room. Continue reading Myra's Dionysus: Local Folk Art and Food Lore