Area’s roots date back 100 years

By Regina Villiers.  Originally Published in October 1998 in the Madeira-Mariemont-Terrace Park Guide, added October 14, 2015.

Almost a century

after its beginnings by

Hosbrook and Jones,

Madeira received its name

in 1866, from a man who

never lived here.

Although the towns of Madeira and Mariemont seem to be much alike today, a look back at their histories shows them to be quite dissimilar.

Madeira’s roots date back to the 18th century.  The community had existed for almost 100 years before it had a name.  Its first two settlers were Revolutionary War veterans.  John Hosbrook, the first settler, arrived and settled in Madeira in 1794.  He carved out a spot in the wilderness where he built a cabin for his family.  The cabin was near a large spring and was located on the slope up from the present-day fire station, near Euclid and Hosbrook roads.

John Jones arrived next and settled with his family in 1795, in the area near the Kenwood Country Club today.

When the Hosbrook and Jones families first arrived, the forest was still primeval and had not felt the ax.  Indians lived in the area and the Hosbrook and Jones children could not play outside alone.

Eventually, both families cleared and farmed the land around them.  The Hosbrook descendants spread out and owned much of the land on the north side of Madeira.  The area north of Euclid Avenue all the way up to the high school was once part of the Hosbrook farms.

Four houses built and owned by Hosbrook family descendants exist today and are preserved by Madeira.

One, built and lived in by John L.Hosbrook, houses the fire department.  He was the grandfather of Nelle Hosbrook.

“Miss Nelle’s” house sits next door to the fire department.  At her death, she left her land around it to Madeira to be used for a bird sanctuary.

The Jones family, which became interlaced with the DeMar family, owned much of the land in the Kenwood Country Club area.

The original John Hosbrook was buried in an unmarked grave on the Hosbrook farm.  John Jones’ grave can be found in a family cemetery off Rollymeade.

In the beginning, Madeira was known for its fruit farms, mostly pears and grapes.

Then the Madeira and Cincinnati Railroad (later the Baltimore and Ohio) built a station here.  Almost a century after its beginnings by Hosbrook and Jones, Madeira received its name in 1866, from a man who never lived here.

John Madeira was a treasurer for the railroad.  The train station, built in 1872, is Madeira’s signature building.  The station is now a restaurant.

Madeira prizes its history.  Many of its streets are named for its early residents.

Madeira was incorporated in 1910 and its first mayor was Samuel Kitchell Druce.

While Madeira just grew and formed itself around its first settlers, Mariemont was built as a planned community.  Its history is recent.

The town was first envisioned by Mary Muhlenberg Emery.

Mrs. Emery was convinced that congestion and poor housing were the results of bad city planning.  She felt these problems could be corrected by constructing communities and housing according to the principles of town planning.

She planned Mariemont to illustrate the best architectural, engineering and environmental concerns possible for this type of development.

Mariemont was named for Mrs. Emery’s summer home in Rhode Island.

Preliminary planning for Mariemont was done by Charles J. Livingood, Mrs. Emery’s right-hand man who managed both her business and civic affairs.

In 1913, he began to discreetly buy parcels of land, using many subterfuges, including a Chicago-based real estate firm.  There was great secrecy about the project so as not to drive up prices of land.  In all, he purchased 423 acres of farmland.

John Nolen, an eminent town planner, was retained to work with 25 of the country’s leading architects to design the community.

The first spadesful of earth was turned by Mrs. Emery on April 23, 1923.  The first buildings were completed in 1924-1925.

Management of the village, until 1931, was conducted by the Mariemont Company, which was completely owned by Mrs. Emery.  The company was then dissolved and control passed to the Thomas J. Emery Memorial, a foundation formed by Mrs. Emery.

In the beginning, a company brochure stated that Mariemont was “not designed for any special class of workers.”  But as early as 1923 construction costs drove prices upward.  From the beginning, Mariemont developed as a middle to upper class enclave.

By 1940 its population stood at 2760.  The next year, to avoid being annexed by Cincinnati, it was incorporated as a village.

The area now referred to as Terrace Park was settled by Abraham Covalt, a Revolutionary War captain, who led 45 white settlers by flat boats in January 1789.

The settlement was then referred to as Covalt Station and a fort was established where the St. Thomas Episcopal Church is today.

One of the village’s most prominent residents was the Rev. John Smith.

Smith was a Baptist minister who got involved in politics and business and was one of the key players in Ohio achieving its statehood in 1803.  He later became one of the first two U.S. senators from Ohio.

Terrace Park apparently go its name when a downtown merchant, Jacob Traber, offered a sewing machine to the person who came up with the most suitable name for the village.

Terrace Park was incorporated in 1893 and had a population of 208 people.  The first village council was established that year.

The present-day Village Community Building was built in 1892 as a Baptist church.  After the congregation dwindled, the village bought the building in 1922 for $2,000.  It cost an additional $2,000 to refurbish the structure.