Stepping Past Our Own Boundaries – Gettin’ My 52 On in West Price Hill

This is my thirty-ninth in a series of walking Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods to find what makes each relevant to me. Follow me on Instagram for a hint of where I’ll venture next.

I began my walk at the furthest point west where I had walked previously in East Price Hill, near Seton Avenue, and walked along W. Eighth Street. Mentally, I planned to turn on Trenton, but missed my turn and would up on a side street known as Clanora and then onto Delridge.

There, as a moseyed through the streets, I theorized how many neighborhoods were beginning to resemble one another. Not just East and West Price Hill. Some homes along West Price Hill resembled a stretch where I had walked in Oakley. Some of those in an upcoming walk would later remind me of places in the California neighborhood.

I was also coming to grips that West Price Hill was more than just one hill!

On Pedretti, I came across New St. Joseph Cemetery. There were really two St. Joseph Cemetery’s. One old and one new. One section that had been for the Irish Catholics, and one portion for the German Catholics.

As I made my way towards Rapid Run Road, I found this pub with a clever saying and had to go back and snap a photo.

I continued down Rapid Run to Covedale, and in and out of streets I thought I had already traversed. I would eventually cross Overlook three times.

As I turned up Willnet, I found the “Corporation” line that signified the west side of the west side.

I no sooner crossed Rapid Run and circled around Covedale to find myself on Glenway Avenue. One of my first co-workers in Cincinnati talked about Glenway like it was Hollywood Boulevard, that’s how revered it was to him. As Western Hills High School stretched to my left, the Covedale Theatre beckoned from the right.

The theatre offered a myriad of upcoming shows, and quickly I saw flash, “West Price Hill – The sub URBAN experience”. I reflected on the current political state of the nation and city, and thought one didn’t need to travel far to see how two sides could not be further apart in understanding each other. It was not a knock on either, just that they lived very different lives, in very different surroundings.

Of course, I also past the venerable Price Hill Chili, and wondered if I had been misguided and should have attempted 52 chili parlors and not 52 communities.

I trailed behind school buses down Rapid Run Road, toward Rapid Run park (originally called “Lick Run”) with a rolling hills, and then had to make a call. Continue out until Sunset met Queen City Avenue or circle up through what looked to be more residential housing.

Before choosing the latter, I discovered another cemetery, this one a part of the Jewish Cemeteries of Cincinnati. You can read more here about the rich history of Jewish cemeteries in our region.

I’m telling you, the underlying theme of these walks had truly been cemeteries. If I were a comedian, and if I were from Price Hill, and if I thought I wouldn’t offend anyone, surely I would crack a joke about the connection between citizens of West Price Hill and the number of cemeteries the communities boast. But those are all fairly large ifs.

As I rose up Sunset Avenue, I discovered another section of road where the sidewalk had run out. There was another major disconnect from our park system. There should be a requirement that within a radius of one mile of a parks, a sidewalk must be created and maintained. How we can support/advocate for healthy citizens when we don’t even provide the basics for them to walk safely in an area leading to a park?

Somewhat lost at this point, I just kept pushing uphill, knowing I had just descended one. Sure enough, I came upon Seton High School, having overshot the boundaries of West Price Hill.

My final leg back to the car I was met with danger.

As I strolled down the street, confident of having completed another walk, a German Shepherd bounded out in front of me. I halted in my tracks. He raced towards a nearby front porch and barked at the door. He knew where he was, but I didn’t know exactly where I was. I turned in circles, nearly paralyzed. Was I fearful of dogs? Big ones, yes. I imagined having to leap up into a nearby truck bed to save myself from the mauling. I imagining flagging down the next car, hopping into it with a stranger to avoid the other danger.

While my imagination ran wild, my feet walked me backwards slowly, towards the previous intersection. The dog stayed put as I veered down a parallel side street.

My heart still beating, I located my car, parked along W. Eighth Street and hopped inside. It was the first time I had felt scared on these walks. How funny. There had been no danger at all.

The history of West Price Hill is tied up in that of Lower and East Price Hill. Their economic development engine, Price Hill Will, also covers Price Hill at large.

West Price Hill community council is known for putting on the annual Price Hill Thanksgiving Day parade (together with EPH), of which someday, I’ll attend, though I won’t expect balloons.

As a transplant, which helped inspire this project of walking all 52 neighborhoods, I had heard about the eastside – westside debates at my first job in the city. Ironically, I had a job that took me all over the city, so I hadn’t a clue what the debate was actually about. My sister and I were known to drive my parents crazy, by driving them all over the city to new functions or restaurants. My mother would joke, “Isn’t there somewhere nearby?” Laura and I would just laugh, and keep driving.

We make up our own boundaries sometimes, including naming a church St. Teresa of Avila (my mother’s favorite), while only adding male saints in bas relief.

West Price Hill had, for those us who were newer to the city and came to live on the east side, represented those boundaries we made up in our minds.

I have “crossed the borders” many times since my first drive up Elberon into Price Hill area a few years back. Each time, I loved more what the community held on to, family, home, a way of life, not really different from what we all want, but like the incident with the dog, maybe fearful of what could be taken away at a moment’s notice.

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