Hartwell is a quiet and the northernmost Cincinnati neighborhood. a mostly middle-class community, it started out as land named after a Vice President of a railroad company that had a station in the area. to entice people to move there, Mr. Hartwell promised to give anyone who bought a plot of land free railroad tickets. eventually Hartwell became a desirable suburb and annexed by Cincinnati in 1876.
with a lot of the neighborhoods i’ve visited so far, i’ve gotten to learn about their histories and how many of them were affected by interstate construction. being that Hartwell sits right at the I-75 and State Route 126 interchange, the neighborhood is no stranger to this.
I-75 is a very old highway, in fact one of the oldest american highways. the first portion of it was built during WW2 in 1941 in Lockland for an aircraft manufacturer to use. eventually, the state wanted to extend I-75 southward to Paddock Road and connect it north to Butler County. extending the highway southward required cutting through already existing suburbs and Cincinnati neighborhoods. without much delay, the expressway was extended to run directly along Hartwell’s eastern boundaries, effectively cutting the neighborhood off from other communities like Roselawn and Arlington Heights.
in the early 60’s when the Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway (State Route 126) was being planned, the connection with I-75 was originally designed to be a major cloverleaf interchange (typical midwestern interchange with four loops) and would have destroyed around 50 homes in Hartwell along with a community center. by working together and pressuring the county, the community was able to get the interchange design changed to one that would have less of a negative impact. State Route 126 even cuts around the southern portion of Hartwell a tiny bit to avoid the neighborhood.
one of my favorite things about Hartwell is its street grid. Hartwell wanted to copy the winding, arching streets featured in the village of Glendale (a nearby suburb), and ended up creating something that looks like a stick figure person. the “head” of the figure has two churches in it, a methodist church and a presbyterian church.