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Hartwell Community Begins in 1869

Updated: Nov 14, 2019

a map of early historical hartwell, ohio
Hartwell historical map dated 1869


You can view many of these historical sites and houses with our live Hartwell History Google Map. Click here to access it on your desk top computer or to load it to Google on your smart phone. Once you've opened it in Google Maps, find it again by clicking the 3 lines in the upper left corner near the search bar, then select "Your Places" and click to "Maps".


The Hartwell "Circle" is developed for the growing community

John W. Hartwell and Daniel DeCamp, the president of the Hamilton County House Building Association, enthusiastically promoted living in this area. The original Greenham farm was now known as "Hartwell," and it was platted in 1869. Named after John Wesley Hartwell, the popular vice president of the CH&D Railroad, Mr. Hartwell liked DeCamp's enterprise so well that he offered a year's free commuter ticket to anyone who bought land and built their home in the village that bore his name.

Daniel DeCamp himself built his own dwelling in 1877 on a piece of pie-shaped property between what are now Woodbine and Avalon, where it still proudly stands today. Mr. DeCamp's wife Joanna, suggested that a circular section of Hartwell, affectionately called "the bowl," be set aside for at least 2 places of worship. It was decided that this circle would be a center-point, with streets that would arc from it, styling it much like the village of Glendale to the north.

Charles M. Steele was the first mayor. The house he lived in is still there at the southwest corner of present-day Hillsdale and Burns. The large farms to the north of Hartwell were divided into subdivisions.

Hartwell Subdivisions

"Maplewood," once the Sturgis farm, was platted in 1871. When Colonel T. E. McNamara built the first home in this new subdivision at the southwest corner of Wiswell and Sheehan, he found remnants of a wigwam and other Indian artifacts. In Maplewood, there was an Opera House on what we know today as Wiswell Ave., and a jail on Burns, where "Halls of Montezuma" is today. The Town Hall was a one-room wooden structure on present day Ferndale and Burns. This structure was later turned into a community meeting place for teens in the 1960s, and then torn down in the 1970s. There is a "tot lot" there today. The "Bell and Steele" subdivision was located just west of Maplewood, and the "Oxley" lay to the east.

When Hartwell was annexed into the city of Cincinnati in the year 1912, the boundaries of Springfield Township were changed. Since Hartwell was originally part of the township, and after 1912 was not, that meant that Edgemont Terrace, which is located on the other side of the expressway and still part of the township, was cut off from the larger portion of Springfield Township, which is west of Vine.

1 Comment

Sandy Barry
Sandy Barry
Jul 23, 2022

My great grandfather was Charles M. Steele. I am glad to learn his house is still standing and hope to see it one day. He was my father’s grandfather.

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