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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Chester Park: 1906

Chester Park: 1906

Cincinnati, Ohio, circa 1906. "Lake and clubhouse, Chester Park." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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Chester Park Velodrome

In my research on the early history of bicycling in Cincinnati I've come across a number of references to Chester Park. To the outside of the rail track was a quarter-mile cinder sprinting track and outside of that was a third-mile cement bicycle track. Races were held here throughout the summer months and even at night. A famous contest in the 1890s called the Poorman Road Race began in Hamilton Ohio and finished at the track. The clubhouse you see housed bicycle rooms, shower facilities, and athlete changing rooms.


Beautiful, thank you. I live in this Cincinnati neighborhood -- now called Spring Grove Village -- and there is no trace left of Chester Park.

Artistic license

I wonder they somebody (photographer) drew over that one cable that crosses the frame. If he was trying to hide it, well, the pure black shows up more than if it were left alone. Or was that a physical crack in the plate?

[The negative is broken in two. Which is why the ropes don't quite line up. - Dave]

Lots o'Lights

There is a spotlight on the upper balcony. Probably to shine on the evening performance of the high wire act?

And most of the telephone poles have globe lights that can be raised and lowered via pulleys. Maybe they were lowered at dusk to be lighted (gas lamps, you know) and then raised above the heads of the spectators to help light their way along the boardwalk after dark.

[Those globes hanging from the poles are carbon-arc (electric) lamps. - Dave]

Twirling sparklers

Could the "wagon wheel" have been a fireworks set-piece? Clearly, it can be lowered to the water level, and raised to just below the wire. If lances were installed on the angled sticks, it would probably rotate slowly, shooting fountains of sparks up and over the highwire artist.

High wire act

I wonder how the wagon-wheel looking thing figured in all this.

No longer there

Some interesting details about the park and its history:

"The park was in Winton Place on the north side of Spring Grove Avenue near Mitchell Avenue, opposite the Winton Place railroad station."

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What a great day for walk!

Life is being on the wire; everything else is just waiting

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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