A short drive from downtown up Sycamore Street, leads you to one of Cincinnati's most storied neighborhoods, Mt. Auburn. While not known for its shopping or dining, Mt. Auburn offers a distinct glimpse into the history of the Queen City.
By the mid-19th century, the basin area of Cincinnati, including downtown and the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, was beset with over-crowding and disease. Waves of immigrants traveling along the river came to the burgeoning trade center and brought cholera along with them. The surge in population and unsanitary conditions prompted many of Cincinnati's prominent citizens to leave the basin in search of healthier accommodations. This exodus resulted in the building of Cincinnati's hilltop neighborhoods including Mt. Healthy, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Auburn.
Today, the neighborhood still showcases the stunning architecture that made it one of Cincinnati's premier places to live. Auburn and Dorchester Streets are lined with homes built in some of the most popular styles of the 19th century, including Italian Villa, Federal, Georgian Revival, Greek Revival, and Romanesque Revival. The most notable of these is the former home of 27th President William Howard Taft. The Federal-style mansion is the only National Park site in Cincinnati and is a staple destination for school field trips and tourists.
As one of Cincinnati's oldest suburbs, Mt. Auburn has suffered from deterioration over the years. Lacking the polish of neighborhoods like Hyde Park and Mt. Adams, the area has seemingly lost its appeal to many Cincinnatians. However, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in the area. Similar to the adjoining Over-The-Rhine neighborhood, Mt. Auburn is experiencing a slow but thoughtful evolution in an attempt to recapture the nostalgia and charm that once characterized it. A series of neighborhood parks have recently been renovated, including Hopkins Park on Dorchester Avenue, Milton Street Park in Prospect Hill, and Losantiville Triangle on the corner of Reading Road and Burnet Avenue. The largest of these is Inwood Park at nearly 20 acres in size. Wedged between Vine Street and Auburn Avenue, the plot was purchased by the City of Cincinnati in 1904 after the stone quarry that originally inhabited the space was shut down. The park features a lake on its northwest corner, as well as a swimming pool and a large pavilion.
Other notable recreation areas in Mt. Auburn include Jackson Hill Park, which offers an incredible bird's eye view of the city, and Filson Overlook on the corner of Young and Ringold Streets.
- • Mount Auburn Historic District on Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Auburn_Historic_District
- • Historic Mt. Auburn Chamber of Commerce: www.historicmtauburn.org