03 January 2011

An Urban Hike

It was exceptionally warm on New Years Eve and my son wanted to take a hike. We started at 14th and Race, went due north on Pleasant Street, through Findlay Market, up to McMicken and Mohawk to Fairview Park. Then we hiked east to Ohio Street and Bellevue park and then back down Race. It was as thoroughly enjoyable walk. I saw many houses and side streets that I hadn't even noticed before. It was a great way to end the year.

Here are some photos from along the journey:

Drilling piers for new underground parking garage at Washington Park:
North of the park at 14th and Race, and the almost completly renovated Bang's building. I really like how they rebuilt the porches and cleaned-up the crooked sidewalk:
1508 Pleasant. I remember when this building was occupied, at least partially.
Not looking so good, 118 West Fifteenth Street,
Brewery buildings on Mohawk. The Elm Street Bellevue Park incline passed the end of this street a century ago.
Round cobbled, Nagel Alley looking down from Mohawk to McMicken. I have met the Nagel family, they are still very active in the city, own Brighton Mills and contribute to the arts. This northwestern most reach of OTR is in the most dire condition. Many vacant buildings, some in danger of collapse. If I was looking for a cheap building to rehab, I would look here...before they are all demolished that is. This area needs investment badly.
The "renovated" end of Mohawk Street, near Ravine
Strange narrow steps up to very old wooden house that is set way back from the road and is abandoned. I expect this to burn down some day. [where: 430 W. McMicken Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45214}
Juxtaposition Bookstore. Long closed. Interior smells of many cats.
One of many interesting buildings on W McMicken
The first of 3 sets of steps that once connected W McMicken to Klotter. All of them are now blocked. Arghh! These are the Baymiller Street Steps that just recently went all the way from Brighton Corner in the West End, up through Conroy. They included a nice pedestrian bridge over Central Parkway that was just removed last year.
View through McMicken/Klotter Playground to solid line of buildings on W Mickmicken. There is evidence that there was once a large institutional building on this lot. If anyone knows what it was I would love to know.
first time I ever walked on Atlas Alley. Nothing to write home about.
Building on Atlas Alley
Freeman Steps still in place, but behind a fence. We needed to get up to Klotter, so we went around the fence.
Freeman Avenue Steps go up to west Klotter
Steps that once connected McMicken to West Klotter and Conroy.
Warner Street steps, lots of them from W. McMicken up to the Fairview Park, ...looking down
the remains of the Warner Street steps up to Fairview Avenue. We climbed these almost to the top, just for fun:
view of the rail yards and the river in the distance from western end of Fairview park
View from Fairview Park towards our destination, Bellevue Park
The corner of Fox and Coon Streets. Never even heard of these alleys before, so took a photo of the street sign. Lame I know.
Flora, modest but nice and quiet
Public walkway between Flora and Emming. I had never been on this before
Steps from City View Place (at Ravine Street) up to Emming
Interesting doorway, I believe on Stratford?
Perhaps a place where steps once descended to McMicken? Or maybe just an informal trail?
Famous circular shelter
One of many beautiful houses on Klotter. I really gained a new appreciation for this part of town on our walk:
Steps in Bellevue Park that lead down to the end of Ohio Street:
House accessed by public steps:
Un-named steps that go from Van Lear Street down to Vine. We didn't take this route. BTW, the residents at the dead end of Van Lear act like moonshiners and DO NOT LIKE VISITORS, even on the public street, which they think they own, so if you find yourself here, turn down the steps.
Ohio Street Steps, down to McMillan and the top of Race Street:
Another alley I had never noticed: Rowan Court, almost to Findlay Market and back home.

UPDATE: A friend sent me to a link about the bookstore on McMicken.


Quimbob said...

I kinda liked that bookstore. Near as I could tell it was a bunch of junk, but....
Got my nephew a book of gas station photographs there.

Paul Wilham said...

It would be interesting in 10 years to take this same walk and see how much of this is left.

Radarman said...

The city really needs a program to keep the steps and the rights of way up to the standard of the Ohio and Main Street steps. They are an asset and they are distinctive. The city should never cave into people like the residents of Keys Crescent who forced the city to close the Cleinview steps lest undesirables should take the footpath. Wankers.

5chw4r7z said...

What an awesome day that was, we did the same thing, an almost 5 mile convoluted loop around downtown and OTR.

VisuaLingual said...

Great photos! I love urban hiking.

I agree with Radarman about the steps. They are most definitely a distinct asset to urban Cincinnati.

Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

There's a book about the steps of Cincy titled
Walking Steps Of Cincinnati by[Paperback]
Mary Anna Dusablon (Author), Mayor Roxanne Qualls.

RedAntCreations said...

I really liked following your trip. I did a lot of exploring of the insides of the adjacent Mount Auburn over the last year, and found it most rewarding (sometimes in a spiritual sense). I never brought my camera, though. It is only recently that I have started carrying my camera around.

Kevin LeMaster said...

Thank you for the tour!

Anonymous said...

Great tour.You were correct about the large institutional building at the Klotter Park. It was the location for the old 28th District School.Built in 1880 with an addition in 1887. There is a book "A History Of The Schools Of Cincinnati" by John Brough Shotwell.Look it up on Google books. It has a pic on pg 308. It was on Browne St.(guess it was a street back then,not an alley) west of Baymiller.

CityKin said...

^thanks. I will definitely look that up. I love learning tidbits like this.

Todd McFarland said...

I enjoyed using the Emming street steps and Klotter street steps a lot when going down to Rick C's from Victor. Rick said there used to be a school there in the 500 block of McMicken.

Anonymous said...

Used to walk the stairs from Ravine up to Emming everyday to get to campus from Renner st. There are some more abondoned steps from Renner leading to upper Klotter. Some cool foundations still there, and what looks like old privy vaults. The steps from Ravine to Klotter were closed after efforts led by Renee Makras and klotter residents.

CityKin said...

^ I see on old Sanborn maps that there were once steps from Renner to Klotter, called the Manchester steps. They are called out on the old maps as wooden steps, and yes there were quite a few buildings in that hillside which is now thoroughly overgrown. I have never gone here, but may try.

Anonymous said...

It's actually pretty cool back there, half of renner st is actually closed and grown over. One of the guys at Dunlap Cafe actually grew up at the corner of manchester and renner, sounds like it used to be an interesting Appalachian neighborhood not even 50 years ago. It's almost surreal to walk on those closed streets.

CityKin said...

^Also, the right-of-way at the top of the steps was sold and consolidated into two lots on Klotter, and new houses were built there:

277 Klotter built 1990
301 Klotter built 1995

So the steps could not ever be re-established up to Klotter.

Anonymous said...

When they started to remodel and build new homes on Klotter, they also put the fences up to protect the homes and the people who lived in them. The steps were apart of my history, I grew up at 540 Klotter along with most of my family members right across the street or a few doors down.
If you would have taken the steps from Klotter to Conroy and made a right at the top of the steps, you would have found an old beatin path that would have led you to Fairview Park. It would have brought you right out next to the lookout point of Cincinnati. And also they have the most Delicious tasting organic plums I have ever tasted.

Thankyou for taking me back to my roots.


Unknown said...

Oh, my childhood memories have been recharged by your post and photos. I'm currently writing a family history/memoir about growing up German either in OTR or somewhere close to its boundaries. I was doing research on the steps at the end of Klotter Avenue, the last street I lived on with my parents before I moved to Tennessee. I've walked up those steps! Thanks for a great blast from the past. I plan on coming up for a visit to take more photos soon and visit the library. Thanks. Bettyann Schmidt

Anonymous said...

I wanted to buy the house at the bottom of the hill on klotter where the pedestrian trail should flush out onto ravine and then you can get to fairview park. I am SO SO SO upset to lead that the path can't be restored because they could the right of way to a shit community that couldn't even work together to make it a nice path. I live in Berkeley now an the pedestrian paths are the way to get around and take a break from the city. They are vital to connecting people and communities. If you don't want to know your neighbors - you should not live in a city...the suburbs/rural areas are more your cup of tea. I would have developed and helped maintain that area....but now I am completely put off....any changes to the pathway and neighborhood that would reverse this negative so I can restore house now graced with garbage cans in front from neighbors who don't want people coming through....

Bill Brown said...

Thanks for the tour. I grew up on Renner St. and lived on McMicken as a kid for a while, a couple doors down from the bookstore.
When I was a kid, that "Klotter park" was full of abandoned cars and other junk. We played there a lot.
I can still remember what Renner St. was like before they tore down all those houses and eventually closed the street to traffic.
Sadly, it's a forgotten area.

CityKin said...

hi Mike, i seen a post of yours about the steps from Renner up the hill to Klotter, i was born 1941 and climbed the steps going to school, at the top of Stonwall, Renner street starts there and goes to the left and to the right on Renner, The steps started where Stonewall and Renner meets, i went to Fairview school, climbed those steps every day, they were concrete, we lived at 226 Renner just before Renner ended, a gravel and stone road went back to more steps that started from McMicken to Clifton, from the steps was a trail through the woods the ended on Clifton close to Vine street, i understand the gravel and stone section has been covered over from a landslide. Mrs Peters lived in the last house on the left and across from her was an apartment building, this is where Renner ended, we lived about 4-5 houses from Mrs Peters, long after we left 226 burned down, we had a lot of good German neighbors and good people living on Renner, loved that area.