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Northside :: History

Northside, originally known as Cumminsville, is centered around the intersection of Hamilton Avenue and Spring Grove Avenue, then known as Knowlton's Corner. These were Indian trails back then, and Cumminsville was a small settlement in Indian territory from around 1805. The Miami-Erie Canal brought workmen and their families to the region in the 1820s. Ephraim Knowlton, who supervised the building of the Miami Canal, founded the town and gave it the official name of Cumminsville in 1838, naming it after one of the community's earliest residents, David Cummins. The Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad (CH&D) attracted more residents when it came through in 1851.

Sarah Fossett is a famous African-American rights advocate who married a former slave of Thomas Jefferson, Peter Fossett. In 1860 she sued a Cincinnati streetcar company whose conductor refused to let her board. The case resulted in the desegregation of Cincinnati's streetcars, if only for African-American women. In 1870, she and her husband founded the First Baptist Church of Cumminsville.

Many immigrants were leaving Europe during that time, and by 1870, 48% of the residents of Cumminsville listed their nationality as German.  In 1873, the town was annexed by the city of Cincinnati.  Prior to annexation, Cumminsville was dubbed Helltown because of its reputation for rowdy taverns.

The town prospered through the 1920s, and it wasn't until after World War II, when paved roads and automobiles lured residents to more rural neighborhoods and villages, that the neighborhood began to decline. That decline continued through the 1960s, and much of the industry in the area was lost. Around 1974, the construction of Interstate 74 divided Cumminsville into North and South Cumminsville, and in the 1980s, North Cumminsville became known as Northside.

The 1980s saw a resurgence of popularity for Northside. Its proximity to Clifton's universities, Mount Airy Forest, Cincinnati's highway systems, and downtown, attracted young and first-time home buyers to the area, where undervalued home prices abounded. It has become known for its bohemian and diverse population of students, artists, the GLBT community, and young professionals.

More Information:

Northside Community History

Northside History

Ephraim Knowlton

Sarah M. Fossett

Cincinnati: a guide to the queen city and its neighbors

Historic Northside Images

More Northside Online

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Official Home Page of Northside:

Northside gets shout-outs from the New York Times: "The Northside district has recently blossomed into a casually hip destination for shopping and night life, particularly along Hamilton Avenue."

Read more @ NYTimes.com »

Northside, five minutes from downtown Cincinnati, brings a small-town look and mentality into the city, with its old-fashioned houses, farmers markets, independent shops, and strong community activism. It further sets itself apart with two hilltop nature preserves.

Read more @ MensJournal.com »