Hartwell, Ohio History: The Canal, Farms and Railroads
The Miami Canal
As the population grew, so did the need for a safe and speedy way to deliver goods from Cincinnati to outlying areas. Here in what was once known as Section One of Springfield Township, where Captain Jacob White had purchased land and settled, the canal ran up through the middle of the township, sandwiched between Wayne's Road and the Mill Creek. The Miami Canal in the Mill Creek Valley was excavated and opened in 1827. The Miami Canal was linked to the Erie Canal in 1849.
See many of the historical sites, buildings and homes with our Hartwell History Google Map! You can download the Hartwell History Google Map to your computer or smart phone with this link. Once you've opened it in Google Maps, you can 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".
Large farms and fruit orchards were maintained in this area during that time. The Greenham family owned about 200 acres in the center of Section One. Built around 1828, their original brick home (with additions), still stands today on Parkway Avenue. Judge Jonathan Cilley owned quite a bit of land next to the Greenhams; his land extended to include the land that Drake Center now sits upon. We got the name "Cilley Creek" for the stream that runs by the ball fields below Drake from Judge Cilley. The 100-acre Sturgis farm was located in the northern part of Section One of the township.
The James Zerbe family built their house on the old Sturgis farm in the 1840s. No longer standing, it was located on what we know today to be the southwest corner of Anthony Wayne and Sheehan. It was a 33-room red brick structure "...with gabled roofs and numerous balconies and verandas. The wooden carriage porch served many years as a protection for celebrated guests in gala attire. The house was famed for its hospitality...", says The WPA Guide To Cincinnati (1943).
The CH&D Railroad
The Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton (CH&D) Railroad lay down its tracks through here in 1851. By the year 1888, sixty passenger and freight trains ran daily over these tracks. The area was further opened up for businessmen who wanted to commute to Cincinnati, yet live in a country-like atmosphere. The CCC and St. L Railroad was squeezed between the canal and Anthony Wayne Ave. (then called Eastern Ave.) in 1872. Sixteen passenger trains ran daily on these tracks in 1888. There were depots at either end of what is Parkway Avenue today.