Cincinnati Then and Now: Adventures in the Subway and Street Improvements Digitization Project

By:  Angela Vanderbilt

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.

Race at Canal 1921

Northbound Race at Canal, 1921

Race at Central 2012

Northbound Race Street at Central Pkwy, 2012





Elm at Central

Northbound Elm St. at Canal St., 1921

Elma at Central, 2012

Northbound Elm at Central Pkwy, 2012






Central at Plum, 1921

Eastbound Canal from Plum, 1921

Central at Plum, 2012

Eastbound Central Pkwy from Plum, 2012







Central at Mohawk, 1921

Dismantling Mohawk Street Bridge, 1921

Central at Mohawk, 2012

Mohawk Place, 2012








Canal at Mohawk

Canal Street at Mohawk Place, 1921

Central at Mohawk

Central Parkway at Mohawk Place, 2012





McMicken Avenue, 1921

Northbound McMicken Avenue, 1921

McMicken Avenue, 1921

Northbound McMicken Avenue, 2012









The last comparison I’ve provided, Madison Road at Woodburn, was part of a later street improvement project, the photographs of which are also part of the collection being digitized through the Library Services and Technology Act grant. More of those images to come!

Madison Road, 1928

Eastbound Madison at Woodburn, 1928

Madison Road at Woodburn

Eastbound Madison at Woodburn, 2012







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This project is funded by a grant for $60,669 through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the State Library of Ohio.