Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The East End - Setting the Scene

From the Collection of the Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

It's hard to imagine what Eastern Ave. looked like when Charles Henry Jones walked it.  After all, the East End was not annexed into the City of Cinncinnati until 1855.  Up until then, this area was known as "Fulton,"  named after Robert Fulton "who is widely credited with developing the first commercially successful steamboat." Wikipedia 

The life-blood of the community of Fulton was the boatbuilding industry.  The community had an unusual geographical shape.  It largely consisted of a one-mile strip of land bounded on one side by the Ohio River and the other by the formidable hillsides that now line Columbia Parkway.  At the time of its annexation to the city, it became known politically as Ward 17.

The view in the picture above is probably early 20th Century. Eastern Avenue has cobblestones. Telephone and electrical lines are strung along poles. There is a set of rails for some kind of street railway, possibly horse-drawn. The narrow street pulling off to the left was Torrence Rd., the site of the rail station that was part of the Little Miami Railroad. Across from the train station is St. Rose Church. As Charles and his family lived on the riverbank behind the Church, he must have traveled these roads frequently.

From the Collection of the Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County about 1910.

I was told by an East End local, now a retired doctor, that in its time, this station was quite elegant.  One wall was covered with Rookwood tiles, now removed.  Parts of a mural still remain.  The station was closed after the opening of Union Terminal in 1933.

It is also hard to imagine what it looked like from behind St. Rose Church on the river bank.  We know from Lillian's letter (granddaughter) the house was flooded every spring.  When the family would try to convince Elizabeth Kinley Jones to leave the house on the river bank she said, "Pap put me here, and I'm going to stay."  She finally had to move in with her daughter Elizabeth's family when she became unable to keep house. 

From the Collection of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

Photo Credit
So these are the views that must have been part of Charles' world, at least in his older years. The next posts will discuss Charles as a young married man and the home where he eventually raised his family in the East End.


  1. Hi Kathy, welcome to blogging! What a beautiful blog you have, the photos are spectacular! I know I will enjoy reading along!

  2. I love what you have captured with your blog so far. Looking forward to what's to come.

  3. Old train stations and their history are so fascinating to me. I think we lost a lot by not growing our rail infrastructure more and fully utilizing the small stations.

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  5. History becomes personal when you know the history of your family. Looks like you are doing a good job! Nancy