Thursday, June 24, 2010

Knox Hill History: Cane Mills, Bells, Tents and the Inventor

As part of our continuing quest for information on Knox Hill, based on our research for our Historic District Nomination we will, from time to time, report more historical findings on Knox Hill. A neighborhood our estemed Urban Conservators asserts has 'No historic value"

Ok, what does a sugar cane mill have to do with Knox Hill you ask? The inventor of that mill was Wm H. Clark. Clark was an entrepreneur, inventor and industrialist who helped shape the early history of Knox Hill. Clark was one of the early land owners in Knox Hill and owned a large tract of land on the North side of Central Ave which was renamed Fairmount Avenue after Fairmount was annexed into the City of Cincinnati.
In fact Clark was an inventor of many things one of which was a specialized tent frame as reported in the the scientific American Vol 13 which listed the new patent claims from June 29th 1865. He also was heavily involved in the sugar cane industry, sawing equipment and the bell making industry.

Early records show that as early as the 1950's Clark was making his mark as he was involved in a company called Hedges, Free & Co [Isaac A Hedges, Watkin Free, Wm H Clark & James B Chadwick], Cincinnati, Ohio was formed in 1857 primarily to produce Sugar Cane Mills. By 1859 they were also producing iron bells.

This company was succeeded in 1860 by three of the former principals, Watkin Free & Co, and Wm H Clark. Both manufactured iron bells. Watkin Free & Co [Watkin Free & James B Chadwick], Wholesale and retail Iron, Steel, nails, Springs, Axels, and smith's tools, located at 6 Main St. Cincinnati Ohio.
Wm H Clark sold his interests in 1863 to the Clark Sorgo Machine Co [Wm H Clark, Superintendent; Wm H Blymyer, President; and Horace Norton, Treasurer],
Manufacture Cane Mills etc. Their office was at 122 Main St, with the bell foundry in the West End 9th St.


When Clark moved from Cincinnati, OH, in 1866, he moved to his land in Knox Hill in the town of Fairmount, and the company became Blymyer, Norton & Co, [Wm H Blymyer, President; Horace Norton, Secretary/Treasurer; Wm H Clark; B D Fearing], Clark retained his interest in that company until 1872 this business became Blymyer Manufacturing Co


Clark was also one of the principals in the Queen City Sugar Cane Mill of Cincinnati Ohio
This early maps from 1869 indicates two houses on this tract. Based on doing a modern overlay it may be the large house at 1902 Fairmount which appears to be the location of one of those homes but since those maps are not drawn to scale that is impossible to verify however we are extending our scrutiny to this area to see of we can ascertain the exact location of the Clark farmstead.


Clarks land in Knox Hill along with Tracts owned by D Kinsey and G Luckey were eventually subdivided off for weekend cottages and country homes that today make up the western end of Knox Hill.
We will continue to post historical data on Knox Hill To further illustrate the historical significance of the neighborhood.

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