Over-the-Rhine Museum wants to see your old photos, receipts and more

Posted at 9:20 AM, Nov 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-26 12:24:52-05

CINCINNATI -- Few Cincinnati neighborhoods are as steeped in history as Over-the-Rhine.

A local organization wants more people to share their personal histories of a place that different cultures have called home.

Germans started congregating to Over-the-Rhine in the 1830s, and major waves of immigration continued into the 1840s and 50s. At its peak between 1860 and 1900, the neighborhood was populated by 75,000 people, densely packed into tall, narrow buildings.

During that period, a trip into Over-the-Rhine meant actually traveling over “The Rhine” – a nickname given to the Miami and Erie Canal that divided downtown Cincinnati and the German district.

INTERACTIVE: The rise, fall and rebirth of Over-the-Rhine

A mecca of German-American heritage, Over-the-Rhine became home to 18 breweries that employed about 5,000 people.

This was the district’s golden age.

In the years that followed, it lost countless residents to the suburbs. What was once an explosion of culture and energy became one of several declining neighborhoods in the city’s ring of slums. Then, within the past decade, the neighborhood has seen an influx of new people and life. And some longtime residents feel they're being pushed out.

"It's such a historic and old neighborhood," Felicia Hofner said. "Over the years, it has changed so much that a lot of the stories of the people who lived here has been lost."

Hofner organized Sunday's History Harvest to preserve those stories. The Over-the-Rhine Museum wants to hear from all people who've lived, worked and visited the neighborhood. It's invited anyone with family photos, store receipts, restaurant menus -- really anything that sheds light on what life was like in the Over-the-Rhine of the past -- to bring that memorabilia to the event.

Those items can be scanned into the museum's digital archive. There, they'll help experts continue to plan the museum.

On the museum's third floor, people who lived, worked, worshiped or played in Over-the-Rhine can share their stories for an oral history.

Local experts also will be on hand to talk about the neighborhood's history and answer questions.

Over-the-Rhine History Harvest
Sunday, Nov. 26
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
1802 Elm St.


This story contains prior reporting by WCPO Digital Manager Maxim Alter.