Friday, October 28, 2011

Sepia Saturday 98: Transportation in Cincinnati

A friend over at Attics and Old Lace has tried to convince me to take part in Sepia Saturday.  Sepia Saturday is a weekly meme which encourages bloggers to publish and share old images and photographs.  When I found out that this weeks topic was related to transportation, I was immediately "in." 

My grandfather, Charles "Fred" Jones, worked his entire life with the Cincinnati Street Railway (aka Cincinnati Transit and Cincinnati Metro).  He was the foreman of a "car barn" and loved streetcars.  He was not very happy when they were replaced with buses. I wrote about his impressive record with the "bus company" both here and here.

Photo Credit:  Rombach and Groene
Availabe for download from Cincinnati Metro site
I love this particular picture because it shows multiple modes of transportation in a time of transition in Cincinnati.  Not only is there a horse-drawn carriage and streetcar, but a bus is pictured in the background as well as the Price Hill incline.  At one time, Cincinnati had five different inclines enabling the growing city population to locate outside of the city basin and move to communities that lined Cincinnati's hilltops.

The same Cincinnati Metro site had a picture of an incline that was known as the Bellevue or Elm Street incline.

Bellevue Incline
Recently my blogger friend from Attics and Old Lace found a beautiful picture postcard that pictures the incline that connected downtown Cincinnati with Mt. Adams.  It has become the background for the Hamilton County (Ohio) Genealogical Society blog.

Mt. Adams Incline

All of these forms of transportation were no longer available at the time of my birth, with the exception of the buses.  The last incline stopped operating in 1948, one year before my birth.  I know my grandfather hated the demise of the streetcar.  I'm told that streetcar maintenance was much easier than the buses with their combustion engines.  I find it interesting that Cincinnatians are once again voting to decide whether or not streetcars should be a part of the Cincinnati landscape.  My grandfather would have loved it.


  1. Fascinating wonderful post. Great graphics to illustrate your story.

  2. I love inclines and the idea of inclines. My only experience with one was several rides on one of the Pittsburgh Inclines.

    I especially like the last images, Mt. Adams Incline because of the perspective and because it shows several stops on the way up/down the hill. I always assumed they went top to bottom without stops in between.

    Your link to Attics and Old Lace took me to (just in case you really want it to link to the blog).

    So glad you're participating in Sepia Saturday. I love it but it does take time to visit all the other contributors and leave comments. Hope you enjoy it, too.

  3. Nancy,
    Thanks for commenting and letting me know the blog link didn't work. I fixed it.

  4. Kathy, welcome to Sepia Saturday! I loved reading about all the different modes of transportation. I must admit I was surprised to see the horse-and-buggy in that photo! Can you imagine!

    Not only do I hope they bring back the streetcar but wouldn't the incline be great! Perhaps that is all that would be need to rejuvenate some of the ailing hillside neighborhoods.

    I just think of Sepia Saturday as a Sunday newspaper insert - always many interesting things to read for Sunday morning.

  5. Just so all the postcard collectors on Sepia know, you were my inspiration for looking for a postcard as a background for the Hamilton County (Ohio) Genealogical Society blog. I'm now continually browsing ebay for good finds. Thanks!

  6. Welcome to Sepia Saturday and thanks for the wonderful post. I'm glad to hear that Cincinnatians are considering re-introducing streetcars.

  7. I think that makes me glad I live where the ground is pretty flat! LOL

  8. Welcome to Sepia Saturday, and I look forward to seeing more of your images. The photo and postcard of the incline are particularly interesting. I've been on a tram that runs up the incline at an angle, but not one that travels up and down like on an escalator.

  9. I hate to say it but, OMG! What a wonderful post that gave me goosebumps! My great-grandfather, Henry Wersel, worked at the Cincinnati Enquirer for 54 years (until 1936); he took the street car every day. In his obit, which was on the front page of the paper, they describe how he collapsed on the streetcar (he had a heart attack). Being unfamiliar with Cincinnati, I had no idea that it was such a huge system!

    Thank you for the picture and description; it's wonderful.

  10. We still have what you call an incline working to get people up and down the cliffs at a town called Saltburn-by-the-Sea in Yorkshire. There's a picture of it in operation on wikipedia. Shame the one in Cincinnati no longer runs it looks very colourful.

  11. Thanks for all of the great comments. Laura, I'm glad I could give you a little bit of a better picture re: your grandfather. Bob, it is a shame we lost all of our inclines. The one pictured that took people to Mt. Adams is truly missed. Most of the area where it was located is now expressway. The neighborhood, however, has been totally revitalized.

  12. I love the first photo with the multiple modes of transportation. I also was surprised that there were intermediate stops on the incline.

  13. Lovely post, and fantastic images. Well done! I had no idea that streetcars might make a return. I say bring them back!

  14. I love that first photo with the different types of travel all in one. I am learning so much on this SS go-round. Thanks for sharing.

  15. I love the images of the inclines. Reminds me of the much beloved angel's flight in Los Angeles which no longer runs. But it's been featured in lots of films so thst keeps the memory alive. Lovely post. Welcome to sepia Saturday.
    Nancy Javier
    Ladies of the grove

  16. Welcome aboard Sepia Saturdy. That’s a great start! A very interesting post, and the colour postcard is wonderful.

  17. My favorite is the Mt Adams Incline postcard. What a classic of color and style. All the photos are wonderful, as are your historical explanation. thanks for dropping by my blog. I so look forward to your comments and knowing I have such a faithful reader!

  18. when you mentioned on my blog that your post would have to do with inclines, you weren't kidding!!

    having vertigo, I would call this "nightmare on Elm street"!!

    but a lovely post nonetheless.
    streetcars seem to be doing a comeback all around, possibly even here in Montreal. It is currently being discussed at City Hall.

  19. I love seeing the old photos of Cincinnati! My husband's family lived there for many years and it is nice to see a bit of what must have been their view. Thanks!


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