You are here

Mount Adams History

Mt. Adams' original name was Mt. Ida. Ida Martin was a washerwoman from Ft. Washington who lived in an old hollow Sycamore tree on the hill. However, no one would pay $1 million for house in a place named after a washerwoman living in a tree so it was quickly changed to honor John Quincy Adams! Just Joking! However, what if it hadn't been changed? Would it have mattered?  I think I like Mt. Ida better!

Originally the area was owned by Nicholas Longworth who was growing vines on those South and West facing hills until 1843 when he donated the land to build an Observatory which was later moved to Mt. Lookout. An iron foundary, wooden shoe factory, and a fireworks factory followed and Irish and German imigrants built modest frame houses beginning in the 1850's to be near the factories at the base of the hill.  Most of those workers were catholic and worshipped in the churches on the hill, and developed religious traditions on the steps to those churches that are practiced today.

Cincinnati Rookwood Pottery was started by Maria Longworth Nichols in 1880 near the Mt. Adams incline. It is hard to say whether Mt. Adams would have even been home to even Ida if the incline had not existed. The Mt. Adams incline is an amazing part of the history of Cincinnati in general, but particularly Mt. Adams.  Although it was closed in 1943, there is still the migration of wealthy business people to the Delta area everyday via the viaduct sidewalk to Proctor and Gamble and other businesses in the Delta.  Then they come trudging home to their $1 million homes in the evening, probably wishing that Ida would do their laundry after a hard day in the trenches!

The Rookwood Pottery has survived also. Not only are all those pieces of pottery still admired and prized in the fireplaces around the city, but the art pieces are regularly sold at auctions in the city and hauled off far and wide around the world.  Rookwood Pottery is still being produced in Cincinnati under the same logo and name and is still prized and collected often with newer uses such as barbecue pits and other 21st Century needs.

Nicholas Longworth's land that surrounds Mt. Adams is home to the Cincinnati Conservatory which houses many exotic plants and insects and is a place that all Cincinnati City dwellers are familiar with. You will find people walking, jogging, enjoying weekend picnics. Eden Park is one of the most loved parks in the city!