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Garfield Place

August 19, 2011

For more than 130 years Cincinnati cyclists have been meeting at the statue of president Garfield downtown prior to beginning their group rides. The June 30, 1895 edition of the Cincinnati Enquirer included a special insert with cycling routes around the Queen City with the mileage markers originating from the statue. This starting point “by common consent” was a convenient meeting place, located only a block from the Cincinnati Bicycle Club’s clubhouse at 20 West 9th Street (shared by the Porkopolis and Athletic Club wheelmen), a straight shot South from the Brighton clubhouse on 14th near Music Hall and Washington Park, and near the Crescent, Queen City, and Y.M.C.A clubs. A number of the routes these early wheelers took from downtown are still favorites today, although development through the years has urbanized some of the routes that originally were rural excursions from the moment they wheelmen crossed over the Miami-Erie canal.

Sketch from the Cincinnati Enquirer showing the Sunday crowds at Garfield Place

One route that has remained fairly intact is the route from Garfield Place to Miamitown.  This “route to Miamitown is the favorite one and next is by Spring Grove avenue to Carthage, a beautiful run…the road is literally lined with bicycles on Sundays and in the evenings.” In 1895 the route to Miamitown began with “asphalt paving to Ninth Street and Freeman Avenue. Thence the cyclers go the Sixth Street on granite, which paving continues to Sedamsville, where gravel road commences, running through Riverside, Anderson’s Ferry, Trautman, Delhi, and North Bend.”  This route today is identical to the one our predecessors took with the exception that it is paved from start to finish.  In fact, one can follow almost all of the original routes from the 1890’s. In future posts I plan to retrace some of these routes.

Here is the route as described:

.9 Ninth and Freeman; turn to left, end of asphalt.

1.2 Sixth and Freeman, turn to right, granite.

1.6 Sixth and Cincinnati Southern Railroad Bridge

1.8 Millcreek Bridge

2.4 State Avenue and Lower River Road

3.6 Sedamsville, post office, gravel

Sedamsville - view courtesy of "Cincinnati Views"

5.4 Tollgate

6.8 Anderson’s Ferry [note; still in operation!]

8.6 Trautman, railroad Station

9.9 Tollgate

Tollgate near Delhi. Image courtesy of "Cincinnati Views"

11.1 Delhi post office

13.2 Muddy Creek

15.4 Coke Ovens

15.9 North Bend, foot of short , steep grade, gravel and macadam.

16.4 Cleves, cross road; loose gravel.

Cleves - from "Cincinnati Views"

17.5 Rapids in Big Miami; ruts and loose gravel

19.1 Lost Bridge, Big Miami River; ruts and loose gravel.

19.8 Elizabethtown. forks, turn to left. Turn right to go to:

23.2 Miami (commonly called Miamitown). Fair.

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