Thursday, May 27, 2010

SERIES: Cincinnati West side History: Sedamsville

As part of the lead up to the West side Preservation summit, June 5th at the Westwood Library, we have been covering the history of west side neighborhoods Today we take a look at Sedamsville. A special thanks to Dave Zelman for providing some of the historical resources for this blog.
"A view of the business district and the architecture it once had"
Henry Sedam was responsible for Sedamville and the village was formed in 1835. Sedamsville was annexed into the City of Cincinnati in the late 1860's. At one point there were over 100 businesses on river road between Steiner and Sedam Street. It was close knit community. One popular place in the early days was Manhatten Park, owned by the Fleishmann Family of the Fleishman Yeast Company fame. The park lasted until the 1913 flood destroyed it.
"Sedamsville Fire Station provided a prompt response to any fire threat."
Sedamsville like much of Cincinnati continued to prosper and at the turn of the century Sedamsville had a post office, police station and Fire House. Although Sedamsville might seem isolated and remote resident could take the streetcar into the city and the Bromsley-Sedamsville Ferry took people across the river to Kentucky. The city also had a Train station.
"The railroad station was a popular place as residents headed into town"
In spite of the river flooding the business district hummed along however the disastrous flood of 1937 and the ongoing depression made it impossible for some to rebuild and thus began the slow decline of the once bustling commercial district. The city had been proposing the raising and widening of River Road and when it was first proposed in the 1920's there was serious opposition to it. By the 1940's because of the business district decline there was hardly any opposition to the project.
"In this view you can see the Sedamsville Drug Store on the left."
The road widening left a neighborhood without a business district. 91 buildings were razed and over 100 families were displaced. All those buildings were pre 1900 and some were very early structures. Today those buildings would have been moved. Historic preservation was virtually unheard of back in those days.

Sedamsville still has a good collection of residential structures and efforts are underway to have the area declared a historic district in an effort to protect it.