|City of Hamilton|
High Street, looking east, c. 1911
|Motto: "An Award Winning Community"|
Location of Hamilton, Ohio
|• Total||22.08 sq mi (57.19 km2)|
|• Land||21.60 sq mi (55.94 km2)|
|• Water||0.48 sq mi (1.24 km2)|
|Elevation||594 ft (181 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||62,295|
|• Density||2,892.5/sq mi (1,116.8/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1064784|
Hamilton is a city in Butler County, southwestern Ohio, United States. The population was 62,447 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Butler County. The city is part of the Cincinnati metropolitan area, and includes the historic neighborhood of Lindenwald. The city's mayor is Patrick Moeller and the City Manager is Joshua Smith. Most of the city is in the Hamilton City School District.
The industrial city is seeking to revitalize itself through the arts and was officially declared the "City of Sculpture" in 2000. It has brought many sculpture installations to the city and founded the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park.
Hamilton, Ohio, was founded by European Americans in 1791 as Fort Hamilton (named to honor Alexander Hamilton). It was a frontier military fort intended primarily as a supply station for the troops of generals Arthur St. Clair and later Anthony Wayne. Their armies entered the Miami Valley to drive out the Shawnee and Miami during the Northwest Indian War. The Indians hoped to maintain their territory here, but, following the American Revolutionary War, the United States wanted to open it for American settlement.
The fort was located on the Great Miami River, where the east and west banks rose gradually. The river is shallow during normal flow and easily forded by men, animals and wagons on its gravelly bottom. By 1800, the fort had been abandoned, and Hamilton was becoming an agricultural and regional trading town. The town was platted, government was seated, and the town named by 1803.
Hamilton was first incorporated by act of the Ohio General Assembly in 1810, but lost its status in 1815 for failure to hold elections. It was reincorporated in 1827 with Rossville, the community across the Great Miami River in St. Clair Township. The two places severed their connection in 1831 only to be rejoined in 1854. It became a city in 1857. On March 14, 1867, Hamilton withdrew from the townships of Fairfield and St. Clair to form a "paper township", but the city government is dominant.
On the afternoon of September 17, 1859, Abraham Lincoln arrived at the Hamilton Station (the station is on the city's Historic Preservation list). He gave a campaign speech in support of his fellow Republican, William Dennison, who was running for Ohio governor. Lincoln's speech concentrated on popular sovereignty. He began: "This beautiful and far-famed Miami Valley is the garden spot of the world." It was during this campaign that the relatively unknown Lincoln was first mentioned as a possible presidential contender.
By mid-19th century, Hamilton had become a significant manufacturing city. Its early products were often machines and equipment used to process the region’s farm produce, such as steam engines, hay cutters, reapers and threshers. Other production included machine tools, house hardware, saws for mills, paper, paper making machinery, carriages, guns, whiskey, beer, woolen goods, and myriad and diverse output made from metal, grain, and cloth.
By the 20th century, the town was a manufacturing center for vaults and safes, machine tools, cans for vegetables, paper, paper making machinery, locomotives, frogs and switches for railroads, steam engines, diesel engines, foundry products, printing presses, automobile parts, war materiel, Liberty ship engines, gun lathes. Manufacturers used coke to feed furnaces. Its by-product, gas, fueled street lights. The Great Miami River valley, in which Hamilton was located, was an industrial giant.
The county courthouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its monumental architecture, was constructed between 1885 and 1889. The city has three historic districts, including areas of turn-of-the-century homes. Like Cincinnati, Hamilton had many German and Italian immigrants, whose influence showed in culture, architecture and food. Hamilton also had a Jewish community; Beth Israel Synagogue was founded in 1901 as an Orthodox alternative to Hamilton's Reform synagogue, which had been founded in the 1880s as Cincinnati was a center of Reform Judaism. At the time there were around 250 Jewish families in Hamilton.
In the 1920s, many Chicago gangsters had second homes in Hamilton. This gave Hamilton the nickname "Little Chicago". Some appeared to have invested in what became an active district of gambling and prostitution.
During World War II, the entire city was declared off-limits to military personnel because of its numerous gambling and prostitution establishments. Madame Freeze's and the long row of prostitution houses along Wood Street (now called Pershing Ave) were notorious among soldiers. Factories in Hamilton manufactured military supplies, such as tank turrets, Liberty ship and submarine engines, and machined and stamped metal parts.
The 1950s brought the construction of the new interstate highway I-75, which bypassed the city. A decision made to reduce traffic through the city resulted in cutting it off from the newest transportation network. Until 1999, when the Butler County Veterans Highway was built, Hamilton was the second-largest city in the United States without direct interstate access.
On March 30, 1975, Easter Sunday, James Ruppert murdered 11 family members in his mother's house at 635 Minor Avenue in Hamilton, in what is referred to as the "Easter Sunday Massacre". The murders shocked the town of Hamilton and the entire country. This was the deadliest shooting inside a private residence in American history.
On May 28, 1986, as part of a plan to increase publicity about Hamilton, the city council voted 5-1 in favor of adding an exclamation point to the city's name. Thus, Hamilton officially became Hamilton! While used extensively in the city's documents, letterheads, business cards and on local signage, "Hamilton!" was not successful in getting Rand McNally to use the new moniker on state maps and failed to be recognized by the Federal Board on Geographical Names. The city's website does not use the exclamation point.
In 2009, the city won the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Awards for best-tasting municipal water for the United States; and in 2010, the best in the World, Gold Medal.
||This section's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. (August 2011)|
There is ample geographic and geological evidence that floods have occurred throughout the valley since prehistoric times, and there is historic evidence in diaries, anecdotes, folk tales, letters, official records, post cards, and the like that major flooding occurred with some regularity [1814, 1828, 1832, 1847, 1866, 1883, 1897, 1898, 1907]. Sometimes enough to fill some of Hamilton’s streets. That is, until March 1913 when the flood of floods occurred. Not only did heavy rain fall over the entire watershed, but it fell on frozen ground that was already saturated from previous lighter rains, assuring the worst scenario - high run-off. At least 90% of the rain went directly into the streams, creeks, and rivers. Between 9 to 11 inches of rain fell over five days, March 25 to March 29, 1913. An amount equivalent to about 30 days’ discharge of water over Niagara Falls, flowed through the Miami Valley during the ensuing flood. In the Great Miami River Valley, 360 lost their lives, about 200 of those in Hamilton, some drowned, some were washed away and never found, others perished from various diseases, suicide, and complications. Damage in the Valley was calculated at $100,000,000, the equivalent of $2,000,000,000 in today’s value. The strength of the waters brought down all four of Hamilton's bridges within two hours, Black Street bridge, High Street-Main Street bridge, railroad bridge, and the Columbia bridge. In Hamilton the flood waters rose with unexpected and frightening suddenness, reaching over three to eight feet in depth in downtown, and up to eighteen in the North End, along Fifth Street and through South Hamilton Crossing. The waters spread from D Street on the west to what is now Erie Highway on the east. The waters' rise was so swift that many were trapped in the upper floors of businesses and houses. In some cases, people had to escape to their attics, and then break through the roof as the waters rose even more. Temperatures hovered near freezing. The water current varied, but in constricted locations raced at more than twenty miles per hour. The dead, more than 1,000 drowned horses, livestock, pets, & Sewage tainted the water. 10,000 people were made homeless in Hamilton, Ohio, a town with 35,000 residents. Thousands of houses were destroyed, and more too damaged to repair had to be demolished. One out of every three residents was displaced.
Hamilton is located at (39.395806, -84.564920).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.08 square miles (57.19 km2), of which, 21.60 square miles (55.94 km2) is land and 0.48 square miles (1.24 km2) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 62,477 people, 24,658 households, and 15,489 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,892.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,116.8 /km2). There were 27,878 housing units at an average density of 1,290.6 per square mile (498.3 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.0% White, 8.5% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.6% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.4% of the population.
There were 24,658 households of which 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.3% were married couples living together, 17.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.2% were non-families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.06.
The median age in the city was 35.3 years. 24.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.6% were from 25 to 44; 24.9% were from 45 to 64; and 13.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.8% male and 51.2% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 60,690 people, 24,188 households, and 15,867 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,808.2 people per square mile (1,084.3/km²). There were 25,913 housing units at an average density of 1,199.0/sq mi (463.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.94% White, 7.55% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.45% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.46% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.58% of the population.
There were 24,188 households out of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.5% were married couples living together, 15.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 92.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,365, and the median income for a family was $41,936. Males had a median income of $32,646 versus $23,850 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,493. About 10.6% of families and 13.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.1% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.
The Hamilton Hydraulic, also called the Hamilton & Rossville Hydraulic, was a system devised to supply water power to shops and mills; it spurred one of Hamilton's greatest periods of industrial and population growth (1840-1860). Specially built canals and natural reservoirs brought water from the Great Miami River north of Hamilton into the town as a source of power for future industries.
The hydraulic began about four miles north of Hamilton on the river, where a dam was built to divert water into the system. Nearby, two reservoirs stored water for the hydraulic, whose main canal continued south along North Fifth Street to present Market Street. There it took a sharp west turn to the river at the present intersection of Market Street and North Monument Avenue, between the former Hamilton Municipal Building and the present Courtyard by Marriott. The first water passed through the system in January 1845. As the water flowed through the canal, it turned millstones in the hydraulic. The project had been a risky one because there were no shops along its course to use the power when the company was organized in 1842. The gamble paid off. Several small industries were built on the hydraulic in the 1840s. One was the Beckett Paper Co.
The hydraulic remained a principal source of power for Hamilton industries through the 1870s when stationary steam engines became practical and affordable. Later, most of the hydraulic canal was covered and/or filled. The hydraulic attracted Henry Ford to Hamilton after World War I when he sought a site for a tractor factory. Ford built a plant — which soon converted to producing auto parts — at the north end of North Fifth Street so it could take advantage of power provided by a branch of the hydraulic.
A Rossville hydraulic also was built, but never achieved the success of the Hamilton system.
Miami Conservancy District
Following the disastrous 1913 flood in the Great Miami River Valley, citizens realized that the only way to prevent future flooding was to deal with protection on a watershed basis. So, citizens from all the major cities in the valley, Piqua, Troy, Dayton, Carlisle, Franklin, Miamisburg, Middletown, and Hamilton, as examples, gathered together to find a solution. There were no enabling laws in Ohio at that time, so legislation was drafted and subsequently passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor James Cox. Although challenged several times in the courts, the laws creating the Miami Conservancy District withstood those attacks, and since have withstood the tests of time. By 1915, an engineering staff was employed, and plans made for valley-long channel improvements, levees, and basins to temporarily retain excessive rains. The system was designed to withstand rains and flows that would be up to 40% greater than those of 1913. Up to the present time, waters have been retained more than 1,000 times, thereby preventing flooding. Construction began in 1915 and was completed in 1923. The Miami Conservancy District was the first of its kind in the nation, and continues to set leading examples of sound engineering and flood control protection; this flood protection system was unique, being created, built, and supported just by those who benefit. The Miami Conservancy District is financially supported by an assessment on each property that was affected by the 1913 waters, and the present benefit that this property has since it is not in danger of flooding. Likewise all the other areas also have an assessment because they benefit by reducing or eliminating danger to infrastructure, commerce, and transportation.
Hamilton is served by the Hamilton City School district. The district has underway a major $200 million capital program including construction of eight elementary schools, a freshman school, two completely renovated middle schools, and an upgraded high school with two new gyms, a new media center, six new classrooms and a new cafeteria. In 2002, President George W. Bush visited Hamilton and signed The No Child Left Behind Act into law at Hamilton High School. Talawanda, Ross, and New Miami School Districts also serve corners of the city.
Miami University has a regional campus in the city. Miami University Hamilton opened in 1968 and now has more than  5,000 students. Another campus is found in nearby Middletown and has about 2,700 students.
Stephen T. Badin High School, a private Catholic high school of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and several Catholic elementary schools (St. Ann, St. Peter in Chains, St. Joseph Consolidated School, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Queen of Peace, and Mother Teresa), serve the city and surrounding area.
Lane Library System
The Lane Public Library is located in an architecturally significant building in the heart of Hamilton’s Historic German Village. Built in 1866 by local philanthropist, Clark Lane, Lane Library has the distinction of being the oldest public library west of the Alleghenies. Now in its 135th year, the library building has experienced floods, fires and at least six separate renovations or expansion projects but continues to endure today as a focal point of the Hamilton community.
A significant building renovation in 1995-1996 permitted the blending of Victorian architectural character with the technology needed to support the community's library needs into the first quarter of the 21st century. The 25,000 square foot building currently houses several library administration Departments as well as the Circulation, Information, Teen, and Children's Departments and a large Local History Room, all which provide direct service to the community.
Clark donated the first collection of materials to the library, approximately 3,000 books. Today, the collection is over 123,000 in number. In addition to the bestseller books and the research volumes, the library currently offers the community access to videos, DVDs, CDs, CD ROMS, puppets, audio books and eBooks. In the year 2000 over 435,000 items were checked out of Clark Lane's library and staff members answered over 48,500 reference questions.
- William Allen, born near Hamilton, later United States Congressman
- Frank Clair, former Canadian Football League coach
- Ray Combs, comedian and second host of Family Feud
- Aaron Cook, professional baseball player
- Greg Dulli, musician
- Kevin Grevey, professional basketball player
- William Dean Howells, author
- Fannie Hurst, author
- Eric Lange actor (LOST, Victorious)
- Mark Lewis, professional baseball player
- Joshua L. Liebman, rabbi
- John Martinkovic, NFL player for the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants
- Patrick McCollum, nationally recognized naturalist, conservationist
- Robert McCloskey, author
- Dean Miller, actor and businessman, born in Hamilton
- Jane Gray Nelson, Texas state senator
- Joe Nuxhall, professional baseball player
- Mark Peck, New Zealand member of Parliament
- Nan Phelps, artist
- Charles Richter, seismologist and creator of the Richter scale
- Floyd "Breezy" Reid, running back for the University of Georgia and the Green Bay Packers from 1950-56
- Brady Seals, former pianist and song writer for Little Texas
- Van Stephenson, musician
- John Cleves Symmes, Jr., soldier, philosopher
- Jim Tracy, professional baseball player and manager
- Roger Troutman, singer, songwriter
- Scott Walker, musician, singer, member of the Walker Brothers
- Jimmy Wynn, MLB player for the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, and the Milwaukee Brewers
- Steve Morse, Guitarist, Dixie Dregs Kansas Deep Purple
- James Ruppert, mass murderer who committed the "Easter Sunday Massacre" in 1975
- Brad Warner, American soto zen priest and author
- Sheehan Donoghue, Wisconsin state assemblyman
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
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- "American FactFinder2". Retrieved 2010-03-20.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Abraham Lincoln Visits Southwestern Ohio", www.rootsweb.ancestry.com
- Jones, Richard O. "Beth Israel celebrates 100 years", JournalNews, October 24, 2011.
- Beth Israel History, Synagogue website, retrieved November 4, 2008.
- "City's Gimmick", The Cincinnati Enquirer, 21 September 2001
- "Water Awards", Berkeley Springs, West Virginia website
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Population: Ohio". 1910 U.S. Census. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
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- Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Marquis Who's Who. 1967.
- Jim Blount. The 1900s: 100 Years In the History of Butler County, Ohio. Hamilton, Ohio: Past Present Press, 2000.
- Butler County Engineer's Office. Butler County Official Transportation Map, 2003. Fairfield Township, Butler County, Ohio: The Office, 2003.
- City of Hamilton official site
- Hamilton city schools official site
- Butler County Visitors Bureau
- City of Sculpture - Hamilton, Ohio
- Railroads of Cincinnati, include rail information and history of Hamilton
- Lane Public Library
- WMOH radio website