1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content

Price Hill :: History

Price Hill covers over 6 square miles and is commonly divided into East Price Hill, West Price Hill, and Lower Price Hill.

Price Hill, like most of Cincinnati, was part of John Cleves Symmes' Symmes Purchase in the 1780s. Price Hill was probably first called Bold Face Hill, named for Chief Bold Face, when William Terry arrived here in 1791 and built his log cabin amidst the forest that was home to local Indian tribes.

In 1807, Evan Price, a wealthy Welsh merchant, came to the area and began investing in land west of the Mill Creek. His son, General Rees E. Price, married in 1824 and began developing the Price Hill area. It soon became known as Price's Hill, and later shortened to Price Hill. He built a brickyard, a sawmill, and laid out a subdivision. As the bustling inner city had become noisy and polluted with commerce and industry, many wealthier residents were attracted to this early suburb. A little farther west, a neighborhood called Warsaw cropped up near where Seton High School is now.  Eventually Warsaw grew and merged with Price Hill.

It was difficult to access these western hilltop enclaves, however, as some of the hills climb as high as 860 feet above sea level, so in 1874, Price's sons, John and William, built a cable railway, known as the Incline Plane, with funds provided by their father.

Price Hill InclineThe Incline was a continuation of 8th Street and climbed 350 feet over the top of the hill. It brought thousands of new residents to Price Hill, many of them German or Irish, and Catholic. Unlike many of the other inclines in the city, no alcohol was served at the top because William Price feared that alcohol might cause accidents on the Incline. This earned it the nickname "Buttermilk Mountain." A freight line was built on the Incline in 1876, and was the only one in town. Price Hill had a reputation as an entertainment center, with its horse drawn cars at the top of the Incline. Many came to the famous Price Hill House for dining, to the Pavilion to enjoy its views of the city and to promenade in the latest fashions, and to its picnic grounds, all developed in 1876. The first steam engines continued to power the Incline until 1928 when they were replaced with electric engines. The Incline was the chief means of transportation for many of East Price Hill, and when it broke down in 1943, the East Price Hill Improvement Association (EPHIA) was formed and continues to operate actively in the community. The Incline tracks can still be seen from the scenic overlook next to the Primavista Restaurant.

By the end of the 1800s, the 8th Street Viaduct had been built, Glenway Avenue was the commercial center of Price Hill, and Price Hill had been annexed to the city of Cincinnati.

The Union Baptist Cemetery was founded in 1864 by members of the Union Baptist Church. It is the oldest Baptist African-American cemetery in Cincinnati, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mount St. Mary Seminary of the West was established on a 10-acre site at the northwest corner of Grand and Warsaw Avenues for the purpose of training priests. It was the first Roman Catholic congregation on the hill. The site was later converted to a Catholic school devoted to the care and training of orphaned, dependent, and underprivileged girls. The all-girls Seton High School was founded as Mount St. Vincent Academy in 1854 by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, changing to its current name of Seton in 1927. The all-boys Elder High School was built in 1922. The school was the city's fourth high school and its first Catholic Archdiocesan high school.

Cincinnati was plagued by tuberculosis in the early 20th century, and Price Hill housed the Cincinnati Tubercular Hospital at the Branch Hospital for Contagious Diseases, and was one of the nation's leading centers for disease treatment and research.

Mount Echo Park, the 73-acre hilltop park established in 1908, has astounding views of the Ohio River Valley. The Pavilion at Mount Echo, built in 1928, sits at 825 feet above sea level. Its high-style Italian Renaissance architecture reflects construction prior to the Great Depression.

The Covedale Theater was built in 1947 and featured first-run movies. It became the Center for the Performing Arts in 2001.

Throughout the 20th century, various social and economic factors caused changes in the make-up of residents in Price Hill. Workers from the South and from Appalachia came to Cincinnati looking for work. Highways were built and cut through inner city neighborhoods, causing lower-income residents to migrate to outlying suburbs such as Price Hill. Automobiles allowed wealthier residents to move farther still from the city. Some portions of the Price Hill community still remain economically stressed, but several community organizations such as Price Hill Will, Imago Earth Center, Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village, Bienestar, and the Price Hill Community Center are working toward creating a prosperous and just community for all.

More information:

Clark Street Blog _Price Hill

EPHIA History of Price Hill

Price Hill History

Price_Hill_Will History of Price Hill

Price Hill Historical Society

West, East and Lower Price Hill Map

More Price Hill Online

Official Home Page of Price Hill:

Situated atop one of the highest of Cincinnati's historic hills, Price Hill is a community of Old World charm. One finds breathtaking Victorian era homes and renaissance architecture in its churches and public buildings.

Read more @ Cincinnati.com »

But what is it that makes Price Hill the Emerald City of Cincinnati? The biggest factor could be Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village, a sustainable neighborhood in East Price Hill focused on preserving the planet through initiatives promoting healthy, social and economic lifestyles.

Read more @ SoapBoxMedia.com »