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Cincinnati's "Hidden" Streets

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I've always thought the combination of topography and architecture made Cincinnati a unique urban landscape to explore. The small streets and lot sizes coupled with the hills provide for hidden pockets of the city to exist just steps from highly-trafficked areas (e.g. Little Bethlehem). Numerous times walking or biking around I've come across streets that I didn't know existed even though I've gone by them countless times.

 

Here are a few of my favorite hidden streets. Google Maps didn't bother to drive down any of them so I linked as closely as I could.

 

Foxhall Ct (CUF)

https://tinyurl.com/y9cvjflw

There are two houses with sweeping views of the Mill Creek valley down this street that can be mistaken for a driveway.

 

Old McMillan St (CUF)

https://tinyurl.com/yc6bndaw

Again, thought this was a driveway for a while. There are four houses tucked down there. I'm assuming this is where McMillan terminated before they removed the Fairview Incline and extended McMillan down to McMicken as a replacement route.

 

Sohn St (CUF)

https://tinyurl.com/yafyflpk

Down the steps here are four houses, accessible only from the staircase.

 

Van Lear/Ohio St Steps (OTR)

https://tinyurl.com/yceov48e

Van Lear is hidden enough, but again, there is a house that as far as I can tell is only accessible from the stairs leading up to Bellevue Park.

 

East Pueblo St (Mt. Auburn)

https://tinyurl.com/y9btydtf

Down at the end of Walker is another street that looks like a driveway with two houses. It's totally disconnected from the rest of Pueblo St.

 

I'm sure there are other good candidates out there. I'm especially fascinated by the stair-streets. Any other instances of those in the city?

 

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Not sure if this counts, but I often run these steps/route in my neighborhood. An almost hidden set of stairs/sidewalk connects Oakley and Hyde Park via Celeron Ave., Oak Park Pl., and Ferdinand Place.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Oakley,+Cincinnati,+OH+45209/@39.1486398,-84.4299649,193m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x8841ad71a25b4a85:0x91d58858848f1e56!8m2!3d39.1511025!4d-84.4225186

 

Doesn't seem to have a name.

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Was always a fan of this tiny sidewalk between properties that leads between Observatory and Erie in Hyde Park. I'd occasionally use it when walking from work to KeyStone or just going for a walk at lunch. It's barely visible in Street View on either end, but it's a nice cut through.

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1381495,-84.4290084,3a,48.9y,186.96h,74.74t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sfMCl9ID_u2Ah8I-ZzumGLQ!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo2.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DfMCl9ID_u2Ah8I-ZzumGLQ%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D149.77022%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656

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I've been obsessed with the house on lower Ohio at the base of the Bellevue steps ever since I discovered it. I've posted about it a few times on here but I don't think we've ever conclusively figured out why it's so mysterious. State Avenue gives off kind of the same vibe, although it's not really all that "hidden" like the others on this list.


“To an Ohio resident - wherever he lives - some other part of his state seems unreal.”

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Cliff St. is a "hidden" street, accessible like a private drive off of Ohio across from Bellevue Park.  There are two houses back there and one of them is owned by Justin Jeffre from 98 Degrees. 

https://www.google.com/maps/search/Cliff+St,+Cincinnati,+OH/@39.1214254,-84.5170575,101m/data=!3m1!1e3

 

 

Cliff St. used to have another section that was actually a street right off of McMillan behind the Friar's Club.  There was one or maybe two houses there before it was all torn down for the 65 West Apartments. 

 

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Cliff St. is a "hidden" street, accessible like a private drive off of Ohio across from Bellevue Park.  There are two houses back there and one of them is owned by Justin Jeffre from 98 Degrees. 

https://www.google.com/maps/search/Cliff+St,+Cincinnati,+OH/@39.1214254,-84.5170575,101m/data=!3m1!1e3

 

 

Cliff St. used to have another section that was actually a street right off of McMillan behind the Friar's Club.  There was one or maybe two houses there before it was all torn down for the 65 West Apartments. 

 

 

I remember back in college days-ish going to a party on Hollister St. and at some point during it hiking directly up the hill through woods for the fun of it and ending up on what i thought was a pretty fancy street. Was that something that was replaced by the apartments, did I end up somewhere else altogether or am I making it up?


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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Well if you were on E. Hollister then you might have walked up to Wellington.  If you were on W. Hollister then you might have walked up onto Cliff/Van Lear. 

 

Looking at Google Earth, I forgot that there was also a Van Lear St. which branched off of Cliff behind the Friar's Club.  My memory is vague but I think one of the houses was for the Friar's Club and the other was just a regular house.  All of that was bulldozed for 65 West. 

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^ I remember those houses. I vaguely remember someone, probably on this website, talking about the guy who lived in the house farthest back - he didn't take kindly to strangers. Here's a picture of that spot before 65 West was built - the Auditor website has older aerial photos back to 2008 or so:

 

MdUv1JK.jpg

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Don't forget about the whole Excelsior St/Auburn Terrace area. An odd maze of steps, some of which are overgrown but still around:

 


“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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^ I remember those houses. I vaguely remember someone, probably on this website, talking about the guy who lived in the house farthest back - he didn't take kindly to strangers. Here's a picture of that spot before 65 West was built - the Auditor website has older aerial photos back to 2008 or so:

 

MdUv1JK.jpg

 

That was taken right around the time I moved into the red house at the top of Hollister in that pic (35 W Hollister). I remember walking back there once (and only once) and getting a very distinct feeling that I was being watched and was not welcome. Never went back then it was all torn down anyway like a year later. The construction of 65W caused our retaining wall to collapse and they didn't fix it and my landlord (the one and only Al Tepperberg (SP?)) didn't seem to give a crap.

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There are a couple of streets that have been brought to my attention in the past that are really strange.

 

The first is Miami Ave off of Wooster Road around Lunken Airport. About 5 homes are completely surrounded by some nasty industrial uses. It's amazing they haven't all moved out.

 

The other is Old Red Bank Road just around the corner. A single home (maybe two homes) sits on a spur street called "Tingefollia Road" after Old Red Bank winds along the Duck Creek and goes under railroad tracks.

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^an aside- given Northside house prices right now there’s probably a serious opportunity for someone with the capital to buy up that seemingly underused light industrial stuff on the eastern edge of the neighborhood and replace it with houses and apartments.


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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^an aside- given Northside house prices right now theres probably a serious opportunity for someone with the capital to buy up that seemingly underused light industrial stuff on the eastern edge of the neighborhood and replace it with houses and apartments.

 

Yeah we're seeing the periphery of Northside marketed as "Northside".  But a jump to South Cumminsville or Spring Grove Village hasn't happened yet.  I'm also optimistic that the Northside momentum will be continued up the hill to College Hill, which has a similar business strip and in places Hyde Park-quality housing. 

 

 

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I'm still stunned at how quickly home values appreciated in Northside. The average selling price seemed to double or even triple between 2016 and 2017.


“To an Ohio resident - wherever he lives - some other part of his state seems unreal.”

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I'm still stunned at how quickly home values appreciated in Northside. The average selling price seemed to double or even triple between 2016 and 2017.

 

Me too! As someone that hung out in the neighborhood a lot over the past decade plus, I’m utterly shocked that it’s fetching these East Side type of prices.

 

I think Crawford Avenue has a lot of potential. If you connect Dane and Chase to Crawford, then maybe add another cross street or two (New section of Pullan or Apjones?), you’d have a great walkable/bikeable link to the business district. You could redevelop those lots and warehouses with a mix of different housing types. And it would be a peaceful street having the cemetery on the eastern side with that side of the street already being lined with mature trees.


www.cincinnatiideas.com

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(the one and only Al Tepperberg (SP?)) didn't seem to give a crap.

 

I rented a house on Whitfield from Al for about a year. The house originally had a porch that he ripped off after a previous tenant drunkenly fell off of it, and it was causing all sorts of issues with the front facade of the house as a result. He ultimately ended up selling it to Gaslight without telling us, who then tore it down to build that apartment complex behind Good Sam. So we just got a knock on our door one day being told our house was about to come down without even so much as a peep from our landlord.


“To an Ohio resident - wherever he lives - some other part of his state seems unreal.”

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Some "hidden" streets that have intrigued me (although I have never driven on the first two listed):

 

Reemelin Avenue (Northside) - it appears only a single house remains on this street at the far end of this street

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1742753,-84.5506447,3a,75y,117.9h,90t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sHkYzvcGkCPJ7jn6xstW2DQ!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo2.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DHkYzvcGkCPJ7jn6xstW2DQ%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D124.32705%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100

 

Vinecrest Place (Avondale) - a small dead-end street hidden behind the homes along Vine Street

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1469058,-84.5136024,3a,75y,232.06h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sk1HPv-NH2MyMybIU8_WqjQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

Lafayette Lane (Clifton) - this apparently is a private drive that snakes downhill through the woods to a handful of homes

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1558769,-84.5144311,3a,75y,105.3h,70.54t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sW7J3D0_fB73QyvAjgWIKBA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

 

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About 5 homes are completely surrounded by some nasty industrial uses. It's amazing they haven't all moved out.

 

Not a hidden street, but I always felt the same about this lonely house in Camp Washington surrounded by the Crosley factory: https://tinyurl.com/ya6zqwsj

 

It reminds me of the house from Eraserhead in which the family dinner scene takes place, next to that factory belching out steam.

 

Marys-House-2.jpg

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About 5 homes are completely surrounded by some nasty industrial uses. It's amazing they haven't all moved out.

 

Not a hidden street, but I always felt the same about this lonely house in Camp Washington surrounded by the Crosley factory: https://tinyurl.com/ya6zqwsj

 

It reminds me of the house from Eraserhead in which the family dinner scene takes place, next to that factory belching out steam.

 

 

Fun fact: I used to live just south of the actual Eraserhood in Philly. When I first moved to Philly it was a dangerous place you didn't go. A few years ago I was in a rec volleyball league that played in a church gym just north of there. I would walk through in the early evening to get to games and, even though redevelopment has already started to take place, it was pretty eerie. On the way home I would run as fast as I could haha. Now, redevelopment has really taken hold and it's not a scary place to be at all. Maybe the same fate is coming for Camp Washington some day?

 

https://billypenn.com/2015/08/04/eraserhood-callowhill-how-the-neighborhood-david-lynch-made-famous-is-changing-and-showing-its-roots/

 

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Lafayette Lane (Clifton) - this apparently is a private drive that snakes downhill through the woods to a handful of homes

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1558769,-84.5144311,3a,75y,105.3h,70.54t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sW7J3D0_fB73QyvAjgWIKBA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

 

 

 

Ah yes, Lafayette Lane...I got thoroughly confused when I first delivered a pizza here.  I was like how have I never heard of this street when I've been on Lafayette Circle hundreds of times?

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Avery Lane in Hyde Park next to the Cincinnati Observatory Center is an interesting beast.  At the Observatory Place and St. Johns Place ends it's basically a driveway (including some step sidewalks), but in the middle it's just a sidewalk.  I think one house has no driveway, while some others have access from Wellston.  https://goo.gl/maps/FK3KVfcfcoy 

 

Closson Court in Ludlow is similar in that the street ends two houses from the next intersection, so two houses face a sidewalk only.  https://goo.gl/maps/jmAYrBv88w72

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^You were at RWA when Andy was there, right? I remember he was telling me about his house on Closson Court and how he had no driveway because it inexplicably didn't continue through. Wonder what the story behind the reason is.

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Before moving to NYC I briefly toyed with the idea of buying an investment property in Ludlow (which Andy was fully on board with and wanted me to be a part of their community) and he gave me a bunch of backstory to the area, the old home across from his, the old plantation home around the corner owned by a UC professor (who I'm completely drawing a blank on namewise) but it didn't seem like he knew why it was the way it was. And if anyone would know it would be him. I helped create a bunch of 3D models of rides and buildings for his presentations on Ludlow Lagoon. But that's a bit off topic.

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Here's another example of a hillside house that isn't on a street:

https://www.sibcycline.com/Listing/CIN/1614157/1540-Vinton-St-Fairmount-OH-45205

 

So similar to the houses in the woods below Klotter that are technically Sohn St. addresses but are only accessible by staircase.  Also, the nearby houses-in-woods along the staircase between Emming and City View. 

 

 

vinton1.jpg

 

vinton2.jpg

Edited by jmecklenborg
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I went biking around Walnut Hills yesterday and came across this bizarre street that rises off of Florence Ave squished next to I-71. 

 

It starts as Boone St, and the sidewalk is more like a staircase: https://www.google.com/maps/@39.120108,-84.4967279,3a,75y,3.17h,93.39t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sNV1fFytqJsUnCSOa7icZBw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

At the top of the hill it turns sharply to the left and becomes, for a couple dozen feet, Manitou St. There is a single house tucked away on Manitou St: https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1210314,-84.4967308,3a,75y,184.22h,80.26t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sCpCMr5zj-5o2CWjvQhoHxA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

Then it continues around a baseball field as Terhune Alley until joining up with the Walnut Hills grid as Monroe St: https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1216447,-84.497053,3a,75y,52.48h,94.35t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sCnOyWeB28kdv9SCnbFXJGg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

 

Then Boone St continues to the left off of Monroe all the way to McMillan. Seems like at some point they chopped the street apart to create the baseball field.

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