I found more than lizards in Sedamsville.
My husband and I woke early on a sunny Sunday morning. “Can we do one of my neighborhood walks today? I’m kind of behind,” I asked.
“Sure. Where we going?”
“Umm…” I stuttered while I checked out a map. “How about…Sedamsville.”
It’s pronounced Suh-DAMS-ville,” said the Cincinnatian who often can’t find his car in a parking garage.
“Oh, I didn’t know that.”
“Do you know where that’s at?” He quizzed me.
We drove about seven minutes – though I’m sure I could have walked – straight out Eighth Street, just past State Street, and arrived in Sedamsville in minutes.
I parked the car near the historic center, along Steiner Ave, and we proceeded to walk back towards the city, on the northern sidewalk which skirts the river. The river view was heart-soaring that morning. Most of our walk to the end of the neighborhood centered around The View.
Why was it, a place like Sedamsville, separated from the city center by mere miles, and possibly linked by bike and walking paths, had suffered in the morning shadow of the city? How did we allow, in the 1940’s for a widening of a road and razing of 91 homes?
Although Sedamsville might seem isolated and remote, residents 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. – Sedamsville Rectory website.
We traversed up and down hills, taking in a few of the historic homes until we encountered Brent, a resident walking his two dogs. Brent had lived there since 2008, purchasing some property, inheriting one other. He and his wife had made this their home, with partial views of the river.
Brent informed us Ray Brown Properties had purchased plenty of the vacant land and homes (ten acres) along the stretch below us, to develop into a Towne Properties type of East End Adam’s Landing stretch of homes. Of course, the view would be perfect at just the right bend in the road.
However, according to some, Ray Brown has not been kind to the neighborhood. (Read the backstory here). His track record, as of 2010 and 2012, including a restaurant that did materialize, does not bode well. Now that our city is in preservation mode AND understands the value of our city’s history, our preservation codes need to be looked at and upheld at EVERY juncture. Otherwise, we have valuable vacant land, with no historic homes, sitting blank. The city looks foolish in allowing this to sit for so long.
Brent also pointed us towards the community gardens where a run of chickens were kept on a hillside, reminding me of ancient European towns.
There was little commerce to speak of in the neighborhood, but we kept on trekking down to the Boldface Park, which resembled many of Cincinnati’s other more grand parks built about the same time.
It was at this time, my walking partner became distracted by the lizards, basking in the warming sun. Unfocused as he was, we circled back through the center of the neighborhood, now anchored by Santa Maria services, and a few old schools and churches that had since closed.
The Santa Maria Center (which I will write more about in a later post about Lower Price Hill and because the center has its origins in Italians) expanded to a location here to serve families, residents and revitalization efforts. Their work is worth the look.
The famed Haunted Rectory was featured on a Ghost Hunters episode and is currently being restored through the Midwest Preservation Association, according to its website. There is a former church and also two other properties which you can read more about.
In 2003, an urban revitalization plan was prepared by UC. Here was a snapshot of the neigbhorhood’s historical significance. “Sedamsville also encompasses a cohesive array of mid-19th and early 20th century residential and institutional buildings, including many fine examples of building types and styles common in the city’s oldest neighborhoods. The neighborhood’s remarkable collection of institutional buildings includes an excellent Gothic Revival parish church, one of Cincinnati’s few surviving Romanesque Revival public schools, and Fire Company No. 26, one of the city’s oldest firehouses.” We have this amazing resource for Urban Planning at UC’s DAAP, yet continued to ignore any of its proposals. It’s not always money that is lacking, its political will.
The community sits just below two major greenspaces, Mt. Echo Park, which is accessed from Elberon, and Embshoff Nature Preserve which is part of the Riverside neighborhood. Sedamsville could benefit from access to and from these areas, as only a few ancient steps and odd pathways lead near to those locations.
While compact, Sedamsville (.346 square miles) was once mighty, boasting of the birthplace of Pete Rose, and will return again someday, when city leadership realizes the importance of connecting our communities.
What I loved most about this community was its accessibility to everything the city has to offer. View. River. Access. One really could get one’s fill of amenities considered most important to a successful, thriving neighborhood.
I found Sedamsville to be one small dot that shouldn’t be taking this long to connect back into the center.
This is the eighth in a series of #GettinMy52on. I plan to walk Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods during the year leading up to the city’s 2017 election, in search of what has made Cincinnati relevant to me.