Monday, January 20, 2003

You Asked For It

Mohawk absorbed into other areas

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

QUESTION: In the 1930s, my grandparents owned and operated the Aladdin Beauty & Barber Shop in the Mohawk area of Cincinnati. From their stories, it was a very colorful part of town, but I am uncertain of its specific location. There was a burlesque theater in the area. What are the boundaries of Mohawk? And where should I go to get historical photographs and documents from the neighborhood during that era?

- Gary Floyd, Tampa, Fla.

ANSWER: According to the Cincinnati Historical Society, the original neighborhood of Mohawk developed in the 1840s north of Over-the-Rhine and the West End and on the north side of the canal that existed where Central Parkway is today.

The neighborhood began at the base of the hillside opposite Brighton, the community on the other side of the canal. The heart of Mohawk was generally the area around Ravine Street and McMicken Avenue just above the present-day parkway. The community never had distinct boundaries and was never incorporated. Mohawk and Brighton were annexed by the City of Cincinnati in 1849 By the 1980s, both communities had largely lost their identities and the area became increasingly poorer. Many residents identified the neighborhood with Over-the-Rhine and Brighton as part of the West End.

The Imperial Theater on McMicken Avenue began as a neighborhood motion picture theater , but by the late 1960s, the theater had been converted to offer burlesque performances. Its name became Imperial Follies.

Photographs and documents concerning Mohawk can be found in the historical society's collection.

Q: There is a small, narrow, four-lane, curvy section of River Road near Delhi Pike that has been a bottleneck on an otherwise much improved road. Will it ever be straightened and widened?

- Mark Joseph, Westwood

A: Joe Vogel, of the city's Department of Transportation and Engineering, said the section of River Road between McConnell Street and Southside Drive is scheduled for widening and straightening in 2005.

You Asked For It, answers questions about regional history, government, schools and roads. Call 381-2800 and enter 2002. Fax 755-4150. E-mail Mail The Cincinnati Enquirer, 7700 Service Center Drive, West Chester, Ohio 45069.

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