Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cincinnati West Side History: Lower Price Hill

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 Lower Price Hill.

Although OTR is perhaps best known for its Italianate architecture Lower Price Hill has an equally impressive collection of architecture from that era.


Lower Price Hill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places – Listed November 15, 1988 (No. 88002536). The Lower Price Hill Historic District is an intact legacy of the communities that developed in Cincinnati’s Mill Creek Valley, the city’s most important transportation and industrial corridor during the 19th century. Among the modes of transportation were the Miami-Erie Canal of the 1820s and the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad of the 1850s. The district’s architectural character is epitomized by the Italianate style brick multi-family residences, which comprise the most numerous property type and approximately 85% of the housing stock. The districts boundaries are w 8th street, State Street, Burns and English street.

Lower Price Hill history goes back along way to Evan Price who came to Cincinnati from Baltimore. He invested his wealth in land on the west side of the city along with his son Reese who managed a brickyard and a sawmill. Reece was the 'developer' who sold lots. Lower Price Hill was "remote' so to speak from downtown as it was on the other side of the Mill Creek valley. Developing the "top of the hills" however required some ingenuity and it was Reece's son William who was responsible for the passenger car line and Incline in 1874 that took the wealthy up the hill to their estates. The incline was made lower Price Hill . Lower Price Hill had its share of saloons since William had prohibited liquor on or at the top of the incline. As a result people would "hit the bar' before the trip up "buttermilk Hill" as it was jokingly referred to because of the lack of alcohol. Of course one would also stop at the bottom of the hill on the way back for drink too. Eventually The Prices lost control of the incline company and it quickly added liquor and beer to the "pavilion"
Today Lower Price Hill is experiencing a quiet turnaround. Many seeing the same architecture as OTR without the higher prices are slowly coming into the area and restoring. As Section 8 Landlords are leaving The area is on its way back, only minutes to downtown. The neighborhood must still struggle with the commercial and industrial development to the east but the neighborhood is largely intact. Row upon row of streets packed with Italianate and Second Empire Townhouses and mixed use buildings on Neave and State and larger more substantial homes as one goes up the hill a bit. Architecturally amazing homes just minutes from downtown.

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