14. Dec. 4, 1988 - Exploiting a Hamilton handicap:
Journal-News, Sunday, Dec. 4, 1988
Hamilton exploiting city's 'handicap'
By Jim Blount
Plans have been unveiled for development of Hamilton's river corridor as the low-level dam nears completion. It isn't the first proposal urging the city to capitalize on Hamilton's location on the Great Miami River. One of the first was included in a city plan written almost 70 years ago.
"To few cities are given riverfront opportunities such as the Great Miami River offers to Hamilton," noted the 1920 city plan.
"It is veritably the front yard of the city, yet how shamefully it has been neglected," said the document, which was prepared by Harland Bartholomew, a city plan engineer from St. Louis.
"The Miami River has been Hamilton's greatest handicap," the plan said, "but with the approaching completion of the flood prevention levees by the Miami Conservancy District, the city will be secure against future floods."
The flood protection work -- which followed the March 1813 disaster here -- "should be a direct and added impetus to the development of Hamilton," Bartholomew declared.
"The small park, at the High Street end of the bridge offers a hint of what might be accomplished and emphasizes further the need of acquiring such property as may be necessary for proper improvement before it is appropriated by industry and commerce," the plan said.
Bartholomew said because the "Great Miami River is not a navigable stream, there is no need to locate industries along its banks for water power or shipping purposes."
"Fortunately for Hamilton, too, the railroads have not yet appropriated the river front for yards, terminals and warehouses," he observed.
"With few exceptions there are no highly valuable improvements on either bank of the river."
He said "the majority of the buildings now standing have, for the most part, outlived their usefulness and many of these will be removed in the course of the levee construction by the Miami Conservancy District."
Batholomew said "along this levee are many desirable pieces of land which could be easily converted into parks of great beauty and service and made a part of the proposed park, and boulevard system."
The 1920 plan suggested that a "Memorial Drive, which is to use the top of the levee from the Soldiers memorial at High Street to South Avenue" could become "the nucleus of a comprehensive scheme embracing both sides of the river." That Memorial Drive is known today as Neilan Boulevard, which extends from Court Street south to Williams Avenue.
Neilan Boulevard wasn't started until after World War II, a delay not foreseen in the 1920 plan. "A project such as this involves the expenditure of large sums of money, years of time and much labor," the plan said.
"To realize the completed plan is indeed a task, for a city of Hamilton's size," Bartholomew said.
"But the chief and principal need is an ultimate objective, one into which all units can be incorporated as they are completed and upon which work can progress as funds are made available."
The 1920 document called a river plan a "necessity" and urged the adoption of a blueprint and acquisition of property along the river "to prevent permanent and costly structures being erected" on the banks of the Great Miami River.
Development of the riverfront, Batholomew said, "would do more to win favor for Hamilton than anything the city could do."
"Hamilton's riverfront opportunity," he said, "is one for which many cities would gladly pay a princely sum."
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15. Dec. 11, 1988 - In Hamilton, circa 1888:
Journal-News, Sunday, Dec. 11, 1988
What was Hamilton like in 1888?
By Jim Blount
What was Hamilton like 100 years ago?
A favorable description of the city is found in an unusual place, an 1888 Congressional document which called Hamilton "one of the most rapidly growing cities" in Ohio.
"Its present population . . . is upwards of 20,000, showing an increase of 50 percent in the last five years," said Report No. 663 of the U. S. House of Representatives of the 50th Congress. It was compiled by the House Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds under the name of Rep. Samuel Dibble, a Democrat from South Carolina.
The report accompanied a House bill proposing a combined post office and federal office building in Hamilton.
The report said Hamilton in 1888 was "so close to Cincinnati -- less than 25 miles" that "it is the natural and only outlet for the overflow of manufacturers from that overcrowded city."
It described Hamilton as "so favorably located as to railroads and canals; so well supplied with water power; such an excellent labor market, and surrounded by such a surpassingly fertile country."
"Five of the leading railroad lines center there, and" the congressional document predicted that "it is destined to be one of the greatest manufacturing cities in the Union."
"The aggregate capital employed there in the various manufacturing enterprises is $3.5 million, employing 3,500 operatives, with an annual output of $6 million and an annual payroll of $1.8 million.
"It has two daily and four weekly newspapers, besides other publications of an educational and scientific character," said the 1888 report.
The report also noted that "the county is now erecting a courthouse to cost $250,000, and has recently built an infirmary for $100,000. The city has just completed waterworks at an outlay of $350,000."
Industries which have vanished from the local scene in the intervening 100 years are depicted in a paragraph which justifies erection of a federal office building here. "The distilleries, breweries, tobacco and cigar factories located and now operating in the county are producing internal revenue at the rate of $2.5 million per annum," the report said.
"Offices are needed for the deputy collector of internal revenue, for the storekeepers and gaugers, for pension examining surgeons, for United States commissioner, and for such officers as the government now uses or may hereafter require."
The report said Hamilton's growth also demanded improvements in postal facilities. "The government has, up to the present time, depended upon renting rooms for its post office, which were constructed for mercantile purposes, and the quarters now occupied are wholly inadequate for the public service."
The report said postal activity had increased 200 percent in the last 10 years in Hamilton.
"There are six letter carriers, one of whom is mounted, and seven other employees to be accommodated in the post office now," said the report, which forecast "the probability of a large increase in the near future."
Home delivery of mail had started in Hamilton in July 1887. Postmaster John E. Lohman reported that carriers delivered 38,185 pieces and collected 17,281 pieces in that first month.
In 1888, the post office occupied one room in a building at N. Third and Market streets.
Despite the 1888 recommendation that the government build instead of renting, the post office remained in leased space for several years.
Meanwhile, Hamilton's population increased from 12,122 in 1880 to 17,565 in 1890 to 23,914 in 1900 -- an 87 percent jump in 20 years.
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16. Dec. 18, 1988 - Marking Cincinnati's birthday:
Journal-News, Sunday, Dec. 18, 1988
Marking Cincinnati's 200th birthday
By Jim Blount
Cincinnati has been celebrating its 200th anniversary throughout 1988, but its actual birth date is this month -- Dec. 28 -- when Losantiville was founded.
Congress had created the Northwest Territory 17 months earlier -- in July 1787 -- and began selling large tracts of land in the region.
The initial sale of 1.5 million acres was to the Ohio Company, which had been formed by veterans of the American Revolution residing in New England. The first group of Ohio Company settlers arrived in April 1788 to make Marietta the first permanent settlement in the territory.
The second large sale of land was to John Cleves Symmes, who purchased one million acres between the Great Miami and Little Miami rivers.
Columbia -- the second settlement in the Northwest Territory and the first in the Symmes Purchase -- was established Nov. 18, 1788. Columbia was north of the Ohio River and immediately west of the mouth of the Little Miami River.
Losantiville began a little more than a month later, the result of a partnership formed by Matthias Denman, Robert Patterson and John Filson, who bought 740 acres from Symmes for $125.
Twenty-six persons left Limestone, Va. (now Maysville, Ky. ) on flatboats on Christmas Eve 1788. After about four days on the Ohio River, they reached their destination.
"They suffered much from the inclemency of the weather and floating ice, which filled the Ohio from shore to shore," noted John Cleves Symmes. "Perseverance, however, triumphing over difficulty, they landed safe on a most delightful high bank of the Ohio, where they founded the town of Losantiville."
Pioneer reports say the first cabin — believed to have been located near Front and Main streets — was built with planks salvaged from their flatboats.
Filson -- before his mysterious disappearance -- named the new community Losantiville, meaning village opposite the mouth of the Licking River.
When Filson vanished, his stake in the risky venture was assumed by Israel Ludlow, a surveyor.
The New Jersey native -- only 23 years old in 1788 -- is credited by some sources as being responsible for changing the settlement name from Losantiville to Cincinnati. (Most accounts attribute the switch to Gen. Arthur St. Clair.)
Ludlow -- the only Losantiville proprietor who resided in the area -- was busy as a surveyor on the Ohio frontier.
He was appointed by the U. S. geographer to survey both major land purchases — that of the Ohio Company around Marietta and the Symmes Purchase in this region.
After Gen. Anthony Wayne defeated the Indians, Ludlow surveyed the boundary lines spelled out in the 1795 Treaty of Greenville.
In December 1794 — as Wayne prepared to negotiate the treaty — Ludlow laid out a town around Fort Hamilton which, at first, was called Fairfield, but soon changed to Hamilton.
In November 1795, Ludlow joined Jonathan Dayton and others in starting the town of Dayton.
When Ohio became a state in 1803, one of the first acts of the new legislature was to create several new counties. Butler County was one of them.
Several towns competed for selection as county seat, a decision which promised to bring some stability and the prospect of long-term prosperity.
Hamilton was chosen county seat, thanks mostly to a donation of land for public buildings by Israel Ludlow, who died in January 1804 before he could see the fruits of his generosity.
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17. Dec. 25, 1988 - Why Hamilton isn't in Hamilton County:
Journal-News, Sunday, Dec. 25, 1988
Why Hamilton's not in Hamilton County
By Jim Blount
"Why isn't Hamilton in Hamilton County?" ask those who question the logic of the city being the county seat of Butler County.
The simple explanation is that Hamilton once was in Hamilton County, of which Cincinnati is the county seat.
Hamilton's present county location is in the product of several changes, starting in 1787 when Congress created the Northwest Territory -- which later was divided into the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Settlement of the territory began in April 1788 at Marietta on the Ohio River at the mouth of the Muskingum River. Marietta also became the seat of the first county, Washington County.
Hamilton County, the second county, was created Jan. 2, 1790, by Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory. The original Hamilton County included the area north of the Ohio River between the Great Miami River and the Little Miami River.
The Great Miami River was the eastern border of Knox County, which was formed June 20, 1790.
Fort Hamilton -- which spawned the town of Hamilton -- was built in the wilderness of Hamilton County in 1791.
Gov. St. Clair altered county boundaries Feb. 11, 1792, extending Hamilton County's borders east to the Scioto River and north into the area which became Michigan.
As settlement increased in the territory, additional counties were formed. That enabled the original counties to be reduced to manageable dimensions.
The first division of Hamilton County came Aug. 15, 1796, when Wayne County was formed in what is now the northwest quarter of Ohio, the northeast section of Indiana and all of Michigan.
In the next alteration June 22, 1798, land west of the Great Miami River — stretching into what is now Indiana — was shifted from Knox County to Hamilton County.
Less than four years later some of that area was taken from Hamilton County.
April 30, 1802, a triangle bounded by a line extending northeast from the mouth of the Kentucky River (near present Carrollton, Ky. ) to Fort Recovery, Ohio, was detached.
The new western limit of Hamilton County became an extension of a line north from the mouth of the Great Miami River at the Ohio River.
March 1, 1803, Ohio became the 17th state and three weeks later the new state legislature created Butler County, carving it out of Hamilton County.
Eight new counties were formed then: Gallia and Franklin, effective April 30, and Butler, Warren, Montgomery, Greene, Columbiana and Scioto, effective May 1, 1803.
They joined 10 counties established before statehood (Washington, Hamilton, Wayne, Jefferson, Adams, Ross, Fairfield, Clermont, Trumbull and Belmont).
The Ohio General Assembly appointed a three-man commission to select a county seat for Butler County. Commissioners James Silvers, Benjamin Stites and David Sutton chose Hamilton.
In January 1808 a portion of Butler County, near the present city of Franklin, was switched to Warren County, which also had been formed from Hamilton County.
At the same time, state legislators ordered the boundary line between Hamilton and Butler counties in the Colerain area moved north about a mile, placing the city of Hamilton about eight miles north of the Hamilton County line.
March 1, 1808, Preble County was formed from Butler and Montgomery counties.
Finally, March 1, 1815, another part of Butler County was transferred to Warren County.
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