Sunrise 63: Lunken Airfield (Orange and Blue Skies)
This morning I made a quick trip down to Lunken Airfield via the Ohio River Trail through East End. I was running a bit late because I stopped at UDF on the way to get a coffee fillup. I ended up arriving at Lunken Airfield just in time to see the sun bursting over the ridge with a tight orange display. I think I missed a bright pink dawn by about 5 minutes unfortunately!
Last night I hung out with a friend of mine that I met through my fraternity as an undergraduate. Don will be turning 75 years old this year and is a Cincinnati native. Don is a lifelong bachelor and spent most of the last three decades as an advisor to the fraternity and in close association with UC. Don was telling me some fascinating stories and it kind of struck me as obvious that I really need to sit down with him and document some of the “first hand” accounts that he remembers from growing up and living in Cincinnati. Some things off the top of my head that Don, Rob (the other friend hanging out watching the all stars game) and I talked about:
- Don remembers when there were only 8 baseball teams. Eight! Including the Cincinnati Reds, of course!
- He remembers the last of the inclines.The Cincinnati Inclines. The things that have been gone for decades and now are “ancient history” to me. The last one closed over 60 years ago.
- When he was a small boy, the families around Clifton were still “new”, having only moved up from “downtown” about 50 years prior. The huge homes that now lie in disrepair were, at that time, fresh and well kept.
- The politics surrounding the development of the “parkways” and the destruction of the old rail systems as an agenda of the automobile industry
- The old neighborhoods in uptown (Looking at you Avondale) before they succumbed to urban decay and were abandoned
- He remembers vividly what factories, companies, and buildings were at the R.K. LeBlond factory site. Not just before they built the Rookwood Shopping Center, but even when the buildings were in use.
- He made a great point that Proctor & Gamble got their start in Cincinnati making soap because of the booming pork business. There was so much abundant local pig lard that P&G had a huge competitive advantage.
Sometime this fall I’d like to expand on some of these ideas and see what I can track down. Maybe I’ll track down what’s left of the old incline systems with Don’s help.