: Reverse says: "Central Parkway now and how it looked in Canal days."
Steeped in history, this parkway of 23.8 acres extends for 4.5 miles from downtown to the edge of Cumminsville - from Broadway and Reading Road, turning right at Plum, to Liberty, to Harrison and the Western Hills Viaduct, to its terminal at Ludlow, below Mt. Storm Park. It was acquired in 1931 by the Park Board from the Board of Rapid Transit Commissions.
Trees and shrubs were planted - those of a variety to endure the atmospheric and soil conditions of the downtown section, particularly the English maple, the Oriental plane tree, and the elm - three types found to be best fitted for growth in metropolitan confines. The English maples were moved to Ault Park and replaced by crabapples when the parkway islands were narrowed. London plane tree replaced most of the oriental plane trees and red oak, the elms. During the construction of Central Parkway, many gifts of trees were made. These are a part of landscape now so familiar to Parkway travelers.
The Daughters of the American Revolution placed at the Central Parkway and Ludlow Avenue intersection a bronze tablet in memory of Major General Arthur St. Clair, who was an officer in the Revolutionary War, first governor of the Northwest Territory, and the man who gave Cincinnati its name. A historical marker, erected under the Ohio Revolutionary Memorial Commission's plan, stands at Central Parkway and Sycamore where the two Ohio trails branched. Reading Road following the marches of Bowman, Clark, Harmar, Harrison, Clay and Shelby; and Central Parkway folloing the route of St. Clair and Mad Anthony Wayne - brave names in those days of pioneer drumbeat and marching soldiers and frontiersmen in buckskin.
The old Miami and Erie Canal which came later on the Central Parkway site did not erase those indelible footsteps from history. The canal itself is gone, a small remnant left of the $6,000,000 project started in 1825 to provide a 244-mile waterway between Cincinnati and Toledo. Yet the old canal, too, is remembered by a marker commemorating it at Central Parkway and Ezzard Charles Drive. Here was the site of a major medium of commerce. Here was the "Rhine," the boundary of the Over-the-Rhine section where Cincinnatians, in a wide-open city, crossed the Vine Street Bridge to the other side of the canal, listened to the little German bands and drank beer in their favorite saloons of the carved-mahogany-bar variety. There was the oom-pah-pah of the music and the clack of man-sized mugs, as the citizens fondled handle-bar moustaches and discussed the canal traffic. In the old canal, many of the notables of Cincinnati went for a swim in their boyhood days, and they loved every single minute of it.
Central Parkway is one of the major parkways in a citywide network envisioned in the 1907 park plan by George Kessler. Extending along the former route of the old Miami & Erie Canal, central Parkway was developed in conjunction with a rapid transit railway, which was to run in a tunnel created in the old canal bed. Construction of the railway began in 1920, but ceased in 1927 when funds ran out. The system was never completed because the growing popularity of the automobile greatly diminished the need or desire for mass rail transit.
When it was dedicated in 1928, Central Parkway featured broad central islands with concrete walks, trees, benches, ornamental street lamps and circular ventilators for the subway below. This scheme was mush simpler than that proposed by Kessler. In the 1950s, increasing auto traffic led to widening the roadways at the expense of the medians and fixtures, with the exception of the streetlights. In 1990, the remaining medians were replanted. Between main and Sycamore Streets, an historic marker capped with a silhouette of a Conestoga Wagon party marks the confluence of two 18th-century military trails. View on Ohio Memory.
: SA1039AV_B04F02_01_01 Subjects
: Historical markers--Ohio--Cincinnati; Parks--Ohio--Cincinnati; Canals--Ohio--History; Miami and Erie Canal (Ohio); Waterways--Canals--Miami & Erie Canal; Central Parkway Area (Cincinnati, Ohio) Places
: Cincinnati (Ohio); Hamilton County (Ohio)