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Up the Incline: 1905

Up the Incline: 1905

Cincinnati, Ohio, circa 1905. "Up the hill by trolley." On one of the city's famous incline railways. Detroit Publishing Company glass negative. View full size.


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Kids being kids

I think the kids at the lower left are playing hide & seek, or something similar. Just being kids.

Just bought a great postcard

postmarked 1906 showing this incline. Never heard of this unique form of transportation. Am familiar with Mt. Washington incline in Pittsburgh, but the Cincinnati incline was truly bizarre but wonderful to see~~fascinating!
I enjoyed all the comments.

To Ohio

The incline went only as far as Ohio Avenue. It did not cross Clifton.

Bellevue Incline History 1876-1926

From Cincinnati History of the Inclines, compiled by Bob O'Brien.

Officially, the Bellevue Incline was the Cincinnati & Clifton Inclined Plane Railroad, which was built at the head of Elm Street at McMicken Avenue in 1876 and went to Ohio Avenue. The ornate Bellevue House beckoned the city dwellers and visitors to ascend the incline and see the view from the vantage of the veranda. It lasted until 1926.

Cincinnati & Clifton Inclined Plane Railroad

Here you can see where was the "Cincinnati & Clifton Inclined Plane Railroad" also called "Bellevue Incline"... I draw it in red, you can see it was passing over the actual W Clifton Avenue. I don't know the old name of this way.

Bellevue Incline

This is indeed the Bellevue Incline, but it doesn't pass over Clifton Avenue -- you might be confusing Clifton with Ravine. It began at the end of Elm Street on McMicken. The brewery district was right under the incline. Tunnels were dug into the hillside to keep the lager cool. This was part of a tour that I used to give for Architreks.

UC Medical College

Yes, the UC Medical college was located in the building next to the incline. This is right up from McMicken in what used to be referred to as the Mohawk area. Supposedly, medical students liked to frighten passengers on the incline by waving body parts in the windows as they the incline escalated past. Keep in mind that at this time the City of Cincinnati was blanketed in black coal smoke (you can even see the haze in some of these old photos) and the inclines provided a nice respite from the grimy and smoggy conditions of the city. At the top of each incline was a tavern (in this case it was the Highland House) and they all served alcohol. Except for Price Hill's hilltop tavern. Alcohol-free, it was referred to as "Buttermilk Hill."

Cinci Rider

Spot the freeloader riding on the wheelset below the horse's head.

Packed ~N~ Stacked

This is one cool contraption, but for some reason it makes me laugh, He He! I guess it reminds me of some sort of Dr. Seuss thing on stilts! But that old building on the right has to be one of the creepiest I have ever seen.

Price Hill Incline

At first I had a bit of trouble determining which of Cincinnati's inclines I was looking at. The hill in the background was the confusing part. When I realized that the view is looking north at the Price Hill incline it all became clear.

The background hill has not resembled that hill since before I was born in 1944. Back in the 1930's when they built Union Terminal, the large train terminal they needed a lot of flat ground to accommodate the multitude of tracks for the station and fright trains. To get the fill material to level this large area they stole the top of the hill visible in the background of this picture and transported it to the area where the track system was laid.

This "thievery" resulted in the hill being stripped of foliage as well as the fill material and it just had a bare knob of rock and thus became known as bald knob. Back in the 50s the name was quite appropriate.

The top of the knob is now occupied by WXIX-TV's transmitter and TV tower and also a Time-Warner cable head end as well as some industrial park buildings. The knob characteristic is somewhat diminished now.

Bellevue Incline

This is the Bellevue incline, which passes over the Clifton Avenue

Re: Whoa Bessie

It would not be cool to have a horse freak out on that thing.

That was my first thought too.

My wife had a horse who would get onto the trolley even if it was on fire - if it had already done the hill the old fashioned way.

I don't know

if I like the center of gravity on that sucker.

What do you think

these kids are doing?

Bessie Should be Fine

Fortunately the inclines were very quiet, with a steam engine at the top to drive it. Since the weight of the descending platform counterbalanced the ascending one, it didn't even have to be particularly powerful.

That's an old McMicken Hall on the right, one of the University of Cincinnati's first buildings. While this is about a mile from campus, and that building is gone, I believe UC still owns that property. Clifton Avenue is on the left, and the pier in the hillside remains. It even still has one of those steel straps. The iron trolley pole to the right of the pier remains today too.


That building beyond the incline has to be the Edward Gorey Home for Wayward Girls.

Great Photo!

Really shows just how clever this incline railway was. I wonder what it added to the cost of a trolley ride?

Great backlighting

I love the silhouettes of the people. looks like a lot of women about and about with their "going out" hats on.

Whoa Bessie

It would not be cool to have a horse freak out on that thing.

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