The history of Cheviot dates back to 1796 when one James Smith discovered a large spring. He cleared a couple of acres, built a cabin and lived there in solitude for a while. He then disappeared for a time but in 1812 came back with a family and bought a tract of land near the spring. This spring was the largest spring in this section, the largest west of the Mill Creek and was situated near what is now Kenker Place. It was known as the Beech Flat Spring. This spring is the reason that Harrison Avenue makes such an elbow at Kenker Place. This spring was the center of the activities for years. In 1800, Jacob Johnson built a two story log house about 250 feet west of the spring and in 1814 he sold it to John Craig, Sr. who built a two story frame house in front of the old Johnson house and named it the “Cheviot Tavern”. Later this tavern was sold to Wm. Woolley, then to Thomas Wardell, then to Isaac Bush, and finally to Edward Glashein who operated it for 27 years as Glashein’s Tavern until 1923 when the building was torn down. It is now the site of the present Kenker Place.
Late in 1814, travel had increased to such an extent that the Cheviot Inn was often overcrowded. Therefore, early in 1815, Roswell Fenton, Sr. built the first Seven Mile House at the “Old Forks”. He had bought 60 acres from a Robert Moore. Later it was operated by a young Marylander, Henry L. Wilmer, then Charles Thrasher, David J. Brown, Balser Mueller and Al Reusing. The building was torn down when it was acquired by the Cincinnati Board of Education, the site now being occupied by the Cheviot Public School, built in 1926.
In 1814, John Craig, Sr. bought 320 acres of land at Beech Flats Spring. This purchase included the old Johnson house at the spring and he at once built the “Cheviot Tavern”, a two story building with a balcony porch, which soon became the most important tavern west of the city. In the year 1818, he platted and laid out a town at the spring, four blocks in a square with an alley running east and west, the lots being 40 by 100 feet and sold for 18 dollars each. He named the town after the boundary hills between England and Scotland, the Cheviot Hills. The town was on the south side of Harrison Avenue — the road Jake Johnson had cut from Brighton to Harrison in 1805 for a section of land as his pay.
When Craig platted the town his own tavern, Roswell Fenton’s Seven Mile House, a gristmill, sawmill and carding mill, a little frame Methodist Church and a few cabins already were there. The first school was a log one built in 1823, later weatherboarded and rented out. It was the Methodist parsonage in 1885 and was still standing in the Gay 90s. Cheviot lots first sold at $18 apiece but Charles Karber, a German peddler, got his for $12 in 1819. He later opened a store, prospered and put up the biggest brick house in town — on a $12 lot.
On May 14, 1814, two of Craig’s sons (Archibald & Thomas) were killed by lightning when taking shelter under a tree. Their sister, Jane, 12, escaped like fate because she ran into the tavern at the first raindrop to keep her new sunbonnet from getting wet. Then, on June 28, 1836, he came in from the fields and couldn’t find his wife, Jannet. Finally he looked in the cistern. Jannet was a large, heavy woman and Craig was a very small, weak man with rheumatism — he couldn’t pull her out and before help arrived Jannet had drowned in the cistern into which she had tumbled. Craig grieved for 10 years and on September 10, 1846, he died at the age of 77 and was buried beside Jannet in the old Bethel graveyard in Cheviot.
First Homes Built
After the town was platted, the first house was of logs and was built near what is now Davis and Harrison Avenues by a man named Hill. An old two story brick residence, which was said to have been built about the year 1830, stood at the southeast corner of Harrison and Cheviot Avenues. The old Bruce residence was on Glenmore Avenue on the ground now occupied by the St. Martin’s Church. The old Robb residence was located at the southwest corner of Lora and Francis Avenues. It was over 100 years old when it was torn down and in its early days was considered one of the finest residences of this vicinity. It was torn down about 1935. An old log cabin now standing at the southwest corner of Gamble and Cross Streets is reputed to have been originally built by a John Powner in 1832. This building has since been remodeled and is still occupied.
The home that was located on Wardall Avenue facing Taft Avenue and built by William Woolley and his wife Jane, a year before John Craig, Sr. who platted the town of Cheviot, passed away. The house was torn down in December, 1939. It was 94 years old and was probably the oldest building standing in Cheviot when the wreckers began dismantling it shortly before Christmas. The builder of the old house died in 1855 and since that time the property had been owned by a number of individuals including the late Dr. Peter Williams, grandfather of the Dr. Foster M. Williams, John Hader and Ben Meyerfeld and the Westwood Homestead Savings and Loan Association.
Some of the early ministers, in a number of instances, served in the double capacity of doctor of medicine and preacher. The first physician was Richard Dardiner Kendall, in 1827. Prior to Dr. Kendall’s arrival, doctors were brought in from Cincinnati or Cleves. The Musekamp family is a pioneer one, as also the oldest family of physicians continuously in Green Township. Dr. George Henry Musekamp came from Germany to Cincinnati in 1837. In 1849, he located on School Section. Four generations of this family have uninterruptedly followed the medical profession during more than eighty years. These secceeding generations had lived in their location at Harrison and Carson Avenues about 85 years, the house being more than one hundred years old, before being torn down when purchased by the Pure Oil Company in 1965.
The Miller Bros. had a livery stable at what was Beech and Harrison Avenues (now Everett and Harrison Avenues). Later it was occupied by Fred Walber who used it as a livery stable and an undertaking establishment. At the present time it is occupied by the Vitt Stermer & Anderson Funeral Home. It is still the old building, but it was remodeled some years ago.
In 1809, “Deacon” Richard Gaines bought a tract of land just north of the spring James Smith discovered in 1796. A deer path was followed from his home to the spring, this deer path later becoming North Bend Road. He built Cheviot’s first Sunday School; people came from all directions on horseback to attend. Bethel Baptist Church was the result of this effort. It was constructed from logs and located at what is now Glenmore and Harrison Avenues. In 1824, at the same site, a brick meeting hall was built. It was at this building that President William Henry Harrison gave a 4th of July oration.
The Methodist built a church in Cheviot about 1842 on a lot and a half given by Dr. Kendall and valued by him at $75.00. It was located near what is now Gamble and Cheviot Avenues. The Presbyterian Church that existed in Cheviot some years ago, on what is now Harrison and Davis Avenues, was organized about 1832. In 1875, a German Brethren Church was organized. St. Martin’s Catholic Church was founded in 1911.
Cheviot had two cemeteries in the heart of the city on Harrison Avenue. The one on the south side was known as Township Cemetery. The earliest tombstone dated back to 1814 on through to the 1850s. It has been converted to a municipal parking lot and the bodies were re-buried at Bridgetown Cemetery. The other cemetery is known as the Baptist Cemetery. The earliest tombstone recorded there is from 1839. It is at these two cemeteries that John Craig and other Cheviot pioneers were buried.
A one-room log cabin served as the first school in Cheviot from 1818 to 1823. A lot was purchased for $12 and a one-room frame school was built, serving until 1840. This was succeeded by a two-room brick school, located at what is now Davis and Gamble Avenues. It was later torn down and replaced by a frame colony school, used only for a few years.
In 1926, a modern school was built with 12 classrooms (Cheviot Public School). St. Martin’s Catholic School was established in 1911, in a frame building with one room. A larger school was erected in 1912, and the buildings which are now standing were completed in 1961.
Cheviot was governed by the Trustees of Green Township until 1901. On July 19th of that year, a special meeting was held at the Cheviot Hotel to form the official governmental body of the newly incorporated Village of Cheviot. Click here to see the minutes of that first Council Meeting.
The first Marshal, J. Thane Weaver, was succeeded by George Klusman. Daniel Weirman, Davis Applegate, Joseph Doll and John Grinstead followed in succession. Grinstead served as Marshal until December 31, 1931. On January 1, 1932, he was appointed Chief of Police. He served until 1935 when he died. A plaque in memory of John is mounted on the base of the flagpole in front of the Cheviot Memorial Building. The next Chief of Police was Clifford C. Jacobs. He served until 1955 and was followed by Elmer Zoller who held the position until retirement March 15, 1969. He was succeeded by Donald Mackie, David W. Voss and then Joseph G. Lally. The current Chief of Police is Emmett Stone.
In 1901, the police department consisted of a Marshal. Later, a Night Marshal was added and when automobiles became numerous, a speed officer was added. When Cheviot became a city in 1932, the police department consisted of a Chief and three Patrol Men.
Prior to 1913, firefighting services were provided by Westwood, now a suburb of Cincinnati. Cheviot’s first fire department was organized around 1913. George A. Fischer was appointed first chief. George Hoffman, Robert B. Mills, William Hoffman, Clarence Borntrager, William Owens and Donald B. Clark followed in succession. The current fire chief is Robert Klein.
The first fire equipment consisted of a hose and reel connected to a rope and pulled by a number of men. This was replaced later by a horse-drawn vehicle. The first auto pumper was purchased in 1919.
A bank was established in 1907, the First National Bank, later taken over by the Brighton Bank and Trust Company. In 1932 it became a branch of the Central Trust Company of Cincinnati. The Cheviot Building and Loan Company was organized in 1911. A new modern building was erected in 1928 on Glenmore Avenue. The Harvest Home Building and Loan Company was established in 1916 and a branch of the Central Fairmount Building and Loan Company was established in 1919.
Telephone history in Cheviot dates from the early part of 1884 with the installation of one telephone — known as a Toll Station — at the corner of North Bend Road and Harrison Avenue. Residents of Cincinnati and other nearby communities wanting to talk to anyone in Cheviot and vicinity, called this toll station and gave the name of the party wanted. A messenger was sent — frequently by horse and buggy — to the party wanted, who came to the telephone and called the party who previously called him. Service from this toll station continued until March 1904, when the increased demand for telephone service required the opening of the “Cheviot” exchange in this area with 104 telephones connected. In March, 1913, Cheviot Exchange was abandoned and the 683 telephones connected with it were switched to the New Warsaw Central Office, opened in October 1912, now known as Wabash. The continued rapid growth of Cheviot and Westwood made it necessary to build an office to serve this area exclusively, and in January 1925 a new office, known as Harrison was placed in service. About this time consideration was being given to dial service in Cincinnati and engineering studies for this dial service were under way. In these studies, names of prefixes for central offices had to be considered, and in some cases changes had to be made in some of the names then in use. For this reason it was necessary to replace the name “Harrison” with that of “Montana” in December 1929, as Harrison, Ohio became a toll point in the Cincinnati toll area. The thousands of homes, with approximately 8000 telephones, that now occupy what were the great wide open spaces of the 1880’s with their lone telephone, tell the story of the substantial growth of the Western Hills, and accomplishment of people of foresight and energy.
In 1805 Enoch Carson bought 100 acres of land at $3.00 an acre ¾ of a mile west of the spring. On this property he built a two story house. This property became known as Carson’s Ranch. The Carson family would invite all the neighbors to come to the Carson Ranch after the gathering in of the harvest and held what was known in those days as open house. The present Harvest Home Park is part of that ranch and the only forest trees still surviving on the Carson Ranch. This open house resulted in the birth of the Green Township Harvest Home Festival which has been held every year on these grounds up to the present time. This Harvest Home Park is now a part of the City of Cheviot, having been purchased by the city for thirty odd thousand dollars. When Cheviot took over Harvest Home Park, they immediately established a children’s playground there. Most of the playground equipment was bought by the proceeds of a weekly dance given at the park. These dances were sponsored and conducted by the Western Hills Business Association. The city also constructed a swimming pool, which proved to be very popular with the children. During the summer months, a recreation director was employed by the city to supervise the recreation at the park.
About 1935 the city bought a plot of ground on the west side of Robb Avenue. Work was started on clearing this plot for a playground on Tuesday, October 29, 1935. The workmen engaged on grading the athletic field were transferred to the work of excavating for the fieldhouse in April, 1936. It was turned over for the use of the people of Cheviot at the dedication program Friday evening, December 11, 1936. It was named the Cheviot Recreation Center. The fieldhouse has a clear floor space of 96 by 66 feet with a large stage in the offset to the rear of the building. The floor was marked for volleyball, basketball, center ball and indoor baseball. Temporary seats are provided for athletic contests and stage presentations. The fieldhouse is also used for dances, parties, wedding receptions and meetings of various organizations. When it was dedicated, the 14 acre recreation field consisted of three tennis courts, softball and hardball diamonds, a quarter mile running track, a football field and a children’s playground. The fieldhouse is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
Carson’s Grove and Harvest Home
Leaving their home in Monmouth County at Hightstown near Trenton, New Jersey in the fall of 1804, Enoch Carson, his wife Achsah, and their seven children crossed the Alleghenies by wagon on their way to Pittsburgh. Arranging to send his family by flatboat on to Cincinnati, Carson journeyed overland, reaching the city in early December of1804. As Achsah and the children arrived on Cincinnati’s riverfront on December 24, 1804, the Carson’s reunited. A trained blacksmith, Enoch Carson found employment in the city, while his young sons took work in hauling, mainly firewood.
In 1805, Enoch Carson accompanied hunters on pioneer trails to Muddy Creek, five miles northwest of Cincinnati in John Cleves Symmes’ Miami Purchase. Impressed with the highlands of the western hills, Carson agreed to purchase for $560 the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 15 and the northeast quarter of Section 14, 240 acres in total. Within that same month, the Carson family moved to their new homestead. On June 29, 1805 Achsah bore Enoch W. Carson, the first pioneer male born in what would become Green Township in 1809 and Cheviot in 1818.
By 1806, Carson cleared, fenced, and cultivated nearly twenty acres. He found game plentiful, and the area’s fertile soil yielded abundant crops. That fall, Enoch Carson began a tradition that continues today. Carson brought together a small pioneer community struggling to survive, the Evans, Goudy, and Johnson families along with other settlers, to give thanks for its good fortune and appreciate its abundant harvests. His celebration echoed Irish and Scottish customs of antiquity, the tradition of the harvest-home, commemorating the last handful of grain cut down in the fall. With each passing year, Carson and his neighboring pioneers celebrated the traditions of harvest-home.
Scottish immigrant John Craig Sr. (1767-1846) purchased the west half of Section 9 of Green Township, 324.41 acres in all, from speculators Burnet, Findlay, and Harrison for $2,095.66 also on July 27, 1812. Several years later on March 21, 1818 John Craig Sr. platted a four-block town, fronting on the State road and bounded by Beech, South, and Spring Streets. The town consisted of 64 lots. That same day, Craig advertised his new town in the frontier newspaper The Western Spy. He called his new town “Cheviot,” the area bearing a striking resemblance to his native Scotland’s Cheviot Hills. Tradition in this way recognizes Enoch Carson as the first settler in the area of Cheviot.
John Craig Sr. on May 13, 1818 conveyed 80 acres in the northwest portion of Section 9 in Green Townshipto Isaac D. Carson, Enoch Carson’s son, for $800.That same year marked the death of the elder Carson. Two decades later on November 5, 1838, Isaac took title to his father’s land of 9-3/4 acres in Section 9, to combine with his own. The present Harvest Home Park (3961 North Bend Road in Cheviot, Ohio) resides on remnants of land Isaac received from his father.
Green Township’s citizens sustained the traditions and heritage first displayed at Carson’s grove. Asmall group of farmers in 1851 first organized the “Green Township Agricultural Society.” By 1853, the Society’s 125 members staged an exhibit of locally grown produce and flowers, domestic handiwork, and crafts amidst a show of cattle, swine, horses, rabbits, and poultry, filling a cruciform-shaped tent 100 feet long. Organizers promoted civic engagement, personal ambition, home study, and cultivation of area youth. The successful show prompted the Society on October 6, 1854 to institute an annual event in the vicinity of Cheviot. The Society’s first fair was held at Carson’s Grove on September 20 and 21, 1855. Displays of equestrian feats appeared there as early as 1856.
While at a community event on July 4, 1860, Roswell H. Fenton, William L. Carson, and Nehemiah Gregory talked of instituting a regular Harvest Home. Interested citizens met on July 19, 1860 to establish the “Green Township Harvest Home Association.” With adoption of its constitution on July 25, 1860,locals organized themselves to carry on the area’s agricultural legacy. The first “Green Township Harvest Home Festival” was held Thursday, August 16, 1860 in Carson’s Grove. Vocal and instrumental music filled the grounds. Prominent local speakers addressed the crowds. Five to six thousand attended the inaugural event.
Early festivals furthered the legacy of a communal gathering. A recorder of the Harvest Home Festivalin 1868 recounted, “But it must be remembered that this Harvest Home is not a fair. The exhibition is an incident of it, that is all. It is a simple day of reunion and rejoicing – when the residents of the Township get together to brighten up the and extend acquaintances, the old to talk of agricultural and political prospects, and have a little music and speaking, and the young to enjoy themselves in pleasant ways after their own hearts…”
With the death of Isaac D. Carson in 1876, heirs Samuel W. Carson, Oliver H. P. Carson, Eliza A, Jeffers and Isaac J. Carson amicably leased Carson’s grove to the Green Township Harvest HomeAssociation to continue Harvest Home. In March 1893, the Association purchased the grove for $5,075 from Adaline F. Carson, widow of Samuel W. Carson, O. H. P. Carson and Eliza A. Jeffers.
Another facet of preserving the celebration of Harvest Home came with Cheviot’s acquisition of Carson’s grove. Refusing other offers for purchase of the historic grove, the Green Township Harvest Home Association offered the parcel to the Village of Cheviot in June of 1925. Cheviot Mayor Clifford Hay organized support for the $35,000 tax levy to acquire the property for the village as a municipal park. Residents rallied to the cause, approving the tax levy 964 for to 322 against.
No longer able in 1939 to host the event it had run for 78 years, the Green Township Harvest Home Association voted to end the fair. Organized less than two years earlier, the Kiwanis Club of Cheviot-Westwood took over the event and for the first time hosted Harvest Home Fair in 1939. Held for decades annually on the last Thursday of August, Kiwanis expanded the event to two days in 1940, to reinvigorate the festivity. With the 92nd annual fair in 1951, the event again expanded to encompass three days over a weekend. Funds raised benefitted youth and community programs in Cheviot and Westwood.
The contribution of Carson’s gathering to the Cheviot community is a significant one. Popular annual exhibits venerated fall harvests and agricultural and horticultural skill, elevating everyday humble work into entertaining and artistic endeavors. While men jostled for the prize for largest pumpkin or the fattest calf, women vied for the blue ribbon on their jams, baked goods, embroidery, or striking floral arrangements. The Harvest Home Fair both echoes and renews the community celebration of harvest-home begun by Enoch Carson in 1806. Dubbed the “Biggest Little Fair in Ohio,” Harvest Home is among one of America’s longest running fairs, remaining an enduring community tradition.
Important Dates in Cheviot History
|1796||First cabin was built in the area|
|1805||Harrison Road was built by Jacob Cornelius Johnson|
|1806||First public religious service held by the Rev. Samuel McMillan|
|1806||First Harvest Home Picnic was held by Enoch and Achsah Carson|
|1809||Calculated by early historians as the year that Green Township was formed|
|1809||The Green Township Pioneer burying ground opened on Harrison Road between the present Glenmore and Lovell Avenues|
|1818||Cheviot named and platted by John Craig|
|1837||First prize fight in Ohio held in Cheviot|
|1860||August 17, 1860, the first Green Township Harvest Home Festival Association fete held at Carson’s Grove. This has now become a fixed institution in Cheviot.|
|1901||Westwood-Cheviot Street Car line opened up. The last trip and the end of the Street Car was in 1951.|
|1901||July 19, 1901 — Cheviot became a Village|
|1932||January 1, 1932 — Cheviot became a City|
|1936||Cheviot Memorial Building was built|
|1968||Cheviot Flag was adopted|
|1969||Harvest Home Lodge was built|
|1969||Cheviot city emblem was adopted|
|1987||New City Hall was dedicated|
|1997||Cheviot.org is launched on the world wide web|
|1999||Cheviot city motto/slogan was adopted|
|2009||Cheviot Fieldhouse is placed on the National Register of Historic Places|
|1902-1905||Fred E. Wesselmann|
|1905-1911||Ferd C. Baechle|
|1912-1917||Fred H. Altemeier|
|1918-1941||Clifford H. Hay|
|1942-1967||Edward C. Gingerich|
|1967||Albert W. Schottelkotte|
|1968-1971||Donald P. Bennett|
|1972-1983||Louis E. Von Holle|
|1983-2003||J. Michael Laumann|
|2004-present||Samuel D. Keller|
- Elevation is 906 feet above sea level.
- Susan Hoffman was the first Cheviot merchant.
- Dr. Cagy was the first physician and surgeon in Cheviot. He preceded Dr. Richard Kendall (1827-1849), who was the first resident physician and surgeon.
- Rev. John Clark was the first resident minister.
- George Hildreth had the first drug store.
- David Stathem had the first grocery store.
- Isaac Bush had the first butcher shop.
- Timothy Tomlinson was the first tailor.
- Charles Short was the first shoemaker.
- Cheviot had its own Postmaster from 1832-1896.
- Cheviot had a race track until 1922.
- The first Marshal was J. Thane Weaver.
- The first Police Chief was John Grinstead.
- The first Volunteer Fire Chief was George Fischer.
- The first Fire Chief was Bert Mills.
- Frank Volz developed several species of Snap Dragons including the “Cheviot Maid”, “Cheviot Maid Supreme” and “Suntan”.