Price Hill Historical Museam: An overlooked gem

Have you ever been walking around your house looking for something, and you discover an old toy? When you find that toy, a waterfall of emotions comes over you as you reminisce on all the memories or experiences that toy brings back. Price Hill has one of these “toys”. The Price Hill Historical Society Museum is located on Warsaw Avenue and is just a three minute drive from Elder. Wedged in between Happy Days Café and the Urban Appalachian Council, it is often overlooked. The Price Hill Historical Museum was purchased its current location on Warsaw in 2000, but has been operating since 1992 when the Society rented the building. General Rees E. Price, who Price Hill was named after, was born August 12, 1795, the eldest son of Evan Price. Rees Price is remembered in history as a thoughtful, and hard-working man who possessed great strength. On December 9, 1824, he married Sarah Matson, daughter of Judge Matson, and together they raised eight children. Rees invested in land west of the Mill Creek, as his father had done. He built a brickyard and a sawmill and laid out a subdivision. His sons, John and William Price, continued to develop the Mill Creek valley and built the Incline Plane in 1874 with funds provided by their father.By the time Rees died on June 20, 1877, Price Hill was becoming a prosperous community. The new mode of transportation known as the Incline climbed 350 feet over the top of the hill and brought thousands of newcomers to the area. The altitude of these western hills reach as high as 860 feet above sea level. When the Eighth Street Viaduct was completed in 1893, the city’s rapid transit system was extended into Price Hill in 1894 and the neighborhood was thriving. Four steel water tanks on a tower 120 feet high were erected on a block of beautiful elevated ground surrounded by Considine, Purcell, Glenway, and Brevier Avenues. Many houses went up in subdivisions named for their developers, and streets bore the names of many early settlers. An incredible array of suburban home designs was offered to the discriminating buyer. The architecture of this period, from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, is still here to this day. Many of the local architects borrowed design characteristics from the Greek Revival Period, Italianate and Second Empire buildings. Taking a walk through the Price Hill Historical Museum is like taking a walk back in time to a much different neighborhood than what Price Hill is today. In its hey-day, Price Hill was one of the most coveted neighborhoods in the city of Cincinnati. Times were simpler back then, people enjoyed the small things in life. Back in the Roaring 20’s, baseball was America’s favorite pastime. Friends and family alike gathered around their radios or televisions every night to follow their favorite team. Things were no different for the Price Hill boys who spent much of their time talking about or watching the Cincinnati Reds. Come springtime, almost every aspect of Price Hill life was centered around baseball. Local businesses sponsored youth teams, which were named not for their Parish, but for the dairies or banks that bought their uniforms. After work and on Sunday mornings, men would meet up at Price Hill parks for league baseball games. Nine innings later, the men would make their way to the neighborhood bars for a couple of cold drinks. “What I am trying to do is help people to remember how everything used to be,” said our tour guide, Richard Jones, the curator of the baseball museum. “We have pictures and uniforms that go all the way back to 1906.” One example of this bar/park combination was the Crow’s Nest/Park, of which the park no longer exists. Richard Jones, from the Price Hill Historical Museum, explained that the owner of the Crow’s Nest bought a parcel of land at the intersection of Overlook and West Eighth and turned it into a ballpark. Pub owners at this time would often do this with the hopes that ball players would come support their business post-game.