Cincinnati in Hamilton County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
A Neighborhood That No Longer Exists
Cincinnati is a city of neighborhoods. One of them is very, very special—because it is no longer there. The Bottoms: a dense urban neighborhood full of churches, full of people. It ran from the River to Sixth Street, from Walnut Street east to the foot of Mt. Adams.
It included many wonderful historic buildings, like the Pennsylvania Railroad Station, the Spencer House Hotel, and the Pearl Street Market, all of which no longer exist.
In Its Heyday
The Bottoms was in its heyday from the turn of the century until the mid-30's.
The neighborhood was full of families raising their children: Lebanese families, Irish families, Jewish, Chinese, Japanese, German and Italian families. Cincinnati's version of the United Nations. Children who didn't have grass, who didn't have trees, but who had the ever-present Ohio River, who had Putman's Ice Cream Store, and all the delights and curiosities of crowded urban streets.
Parishes Vanished into History
There were churches everywhere in The Bottoms, most of them Catholic. Only one Catholic church is still there: St. Xavier, on Sycamore between Sixth and Seventh. St. X included a grade school,
Sacred Heart, the Italian church, was located at Sixth and Broadway. You can see a picture of it as it stands today on the Camp Washington panel, because that's where it is now. St. Anthony of Padua, the Lebanese church, stood on Third Street, between Lawrence and Broadway. Today, it's on Victory Parkway between Taft and McMillan, in Walnut Hills.
Four other Catholic churches don't exist at all. St. Philomena, a German church, which was first located on Pearl between Pike and Butler, and then moved a block north to Third Street, is now gone—though there are still memories of the time its steeple fell over on the candy store. The Church of the Atonement and St. Ann's, both Irish churches, stood on Third and Fourth Streets, respectively, between Main and Walnut. St. Thomas, yet another Irish church, stood on the north side of Sycamore at Cuts Alley, between Fifth and Sixth Streets. No traces remain.
Other churches have also disappeared: the Pentacostal church on Third between Sixth and Broadway; the Methodist church on Pearl between Pike and Lawrence; the A.M.E. Allen Temple, now in Roselawn, then at Sycamore and Broadway; and perhaps best loved, Wesley Chapel between
A Legacy that Continues
More than simply buildings made The Bottoms what it was, and much of good from that life has come down to us. The expectation that children could be sent from there to the Emery Theater at Central Parkway and Walnut to rehearse and act in operettas, and be sent safely, continues today in our life as a safe city, particularly downtown.
The way the gatekeeper at the Taft's house watched out for kids in the neighborhood continues here, where we have never ceased to be our brother's and sister's keeper. And the tradition of private caring, as evidenced by the generous work of Cincinnati Union Bethel with the poorest children of The Bottoms, continues all over Greater Cincinnati, wherever need exists.
Did You Know...
People in The Bottoms knew who had won an election, because lights on top of the Carew Tower would flash green for a Democrat, and red for a Republican. There were always bid bonfires on election day.
The Pearl Street Market Bank was
What is now the Academy of Medicine on Broadway had been through several incarnations. Built by the parents of Federal Court Judge Druffel, it became an American Legion Hall where wedding receptions were often held.
The north side of Pearl Street, around the Market, was often closed after 6 p.m., so the neighborhood kids would have a clear space to play.
A roast beef on rye was 15 cents at Naglan's Family Saloon.
Mike Mullen, Irish ward boss of The Bottoms, took the whole ward from Democrat to Republican when he switched parties in 1897. He was known as Boss Cox's personal representative on City Council, and lived on Pike Street, where all the famous people lived.
Putman's Ice Cream Store has become the well-known Lykins Candies.
What was known as the Screw and Tap Company at Second and Main became Cincinnati Milling Machine, then Cincinnati Milacron.
Each railroad had its own station until the
All but the Irish were buried from Fuldner's Funeral Home. They were to Gilligan's, on Broadway between Fifth and Sixth.
Pearl Street, around the Market, included a lot of famous Cincinnati names. The Lindner brothers had an ice cream store at Pearl and Broadway. Buddy LaRosa had a produce store at Pearl and Sycamore. And the first Kroger store was on Pearl between the two.
Roy Rogers, born and raised in The Bottoms, once played his guitar on the public landing when the Island Queen and the Island Maid, which went back and forth to Coney Island, were loading and unloading, as a way to earn money.
A life sized statue of Christopher Columbus once stood at Sixth and Broadway.
Erected by the Greater Cincinnati Bicentennial Commission.
Location. 39° 6.046′ N, 84° 30.238′ W. Marker is in Cincinnati, Ohio, in Hamilton County. Touch for map. Marker is on the plaza near the SSW corner of Lytle Park, about 225 feet ESE of the intersection
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lytle Park (a few steps from this marker); Famous Lytle Neighbors (a few steps from this marker); A Beginning . . . (a few steps from this marker); Fort Washington (within shouting distance of this marker); The Taft Museum (within shouting distance of this marker); Cincinnati's First Playground (within shouting distance of this marker); President William Howard Taft (within shouting distance of this marker); "Lincoln - The Man" (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cincinnati.
Also see . . . 2008 Cincinnati Enquirer Article. by Howard Wilkinson. Excerpt: “Over the next decade or so, the Banks project is expected to transform the barren patches between the Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium into a vibrant neighborhood where people live, work and play. It was that once before, long before the land was leveled for parking lots and the old Riverfront Stadium, long before the original Fort Washington Way sliced the old neighborhood known as ‘The Bottoms’ away from the rest of downtown.” (Submitted on February 11, 2012.)
1. St. Anthony of Padua
St. Anthony's church was between Ludlow and Broadway on Third, not between Lawrence and Broadway, as it says on the marker. I lived on Ludlow ’til they tore all the buildings down. I was born on Pike Street.
— Submitted November 20, 2011, by Winifred Rothwell Jensen of Lamesa, Capigsey.
Categories. • 20th Century • Charity & Public Work • Churches & Religion • Education • Landmarks • Man-Made Features • Notable Buildings • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 29, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 2,367 times since then and 3 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week February 12, 2012. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 2, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 3. submitted on November 27, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. submitted on December 2, 2009, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.