During some of the hottest and muggiest days this summer, Michael Uhlenhake (architect), Christian Huelsman (Spring in Our Steps), and I (OTR Matters) teamed up to discover the forgotten Jackson Hill Park Steps. Our interest was originally piqued by photos from the Nelson Ronsheim collection. Nelson Ronsheim was a Cincinnati artist and photographer from the mid-20th century. Many of his photographs have been scanned and shared on flickr by his grandson Michael G. Smith. For example, a few from Jackson Hill Park:
A fantastic aerial map of Cincinnati in 1949 was especially intriguing (view full size here):
The connection between the steps and Mulberry Street has been removed so we had to climb this deceptively steep hillside:
At the end of the clearing, there appeared a stone passageway into a dense thicket of honeysuckle. These were the Jackson Hill Steps!
After our initial discovery, Christian Huelsman and I returned to the steps and cleared some brush. What follows is a series of before and after photos.
The Jackson Hill Steps are just one of dozens of long-forgotten and woebegone public spaces in and around Over-the-Rhine that used to brim with life.