Pleasant Ridge, Cincinnati
|— Neighborhood of Cincinnati —|
Pleasant Ridge is a mostly gaslight residential neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio with a small business district occupied largely by long-standing, independent businesses. It is one of the most diverse, dispersed and durable communities in the entire region according to a 2008 study of 122 communities conducted by the Cincinnatus Association.
In recent years Pleasant Ridge has been abutted by development in the unzoned Columbia Township that has seen the addition of several retailers. In 2005 plans were put in place by Hamilton County to improve the flow and the appearance of this area.
Pleasant Ridge has a library, a new elementary school (Pleasant Ridge Montessori), and a community center whose municipal swim team has won multiple Cincinnati City Championship meets throughout the years.
In 2010, as part of a larger economic revitalization movement, Pleasant Ridge's Business District was the first in the region to be granted the designation of Community Entertainment District (CED). This was the result of a grassroots campaign, spearheaded by the Pleasant Ridge Development Corporation. The CED enables businesses within the specified area to be eligible for up to 5 service or retail licenses for beer, wine & liquor through the State of Ohio's Division of Liquor Control (see types of permits here: http://www.com.ohio.gov/liqr/permitclasses.aspx).
The neighborhood is bordered by the cities of Norwood and Golf Manor, OH, the Village of Amberley, the neighborhoods of Kennedy Heights and Oakley, and unincorporated Columbia Township. Pleasant Ridge is also home to Nativity School, a Catholic K-8 grade school (a National Blue Ribbon School winner).
John Cleves Symmes, congressman from New Jersey, purchased a vast tract of land between the two Miami rivers for less than a $1.00 an acre. Pleasant Ridge marks its beginning as a community in 1795, when land agent Colonel John McFarland bought nearly 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) from Symmes and built a small fort to protect early settlers from Indian attacks. This was one of a series of forts built in the Symmes purchase, ironically, McFarland's Station was actually located in Kennedy Heights rather than Pleasant Ridge. Its name, original legend has it came when a man named John Brewster had lost his wife and baby in childbirth and sought a spot for burial. Upon reaching "a grassy spot...on the brow of a hill overlooking the Mill Creek Valley" Samuel Pierson, a member of the party with him, said "Here is a pleasant ridge"...
There were few settlers in those early years. Pleasant Ridge was developed at the site of an early crossroads. One road, an old Indian trail, wound between the mouth of the Little Miami River and what is now Reading. Originally called Columbia Road this trail became Ridge Road. The other road, a turnpike, was built by early settlers to connect Cincinnati to Zanesville and points east. In 1803, when the road was extended from Sharpsburg (Norwood) to Montgomery, it became known as the Montgomery Turnpike. With the arrival of the turnpike, Pleasant Ridge developed some stopping places for travelers, such as Sudler's Tavern and Auten's Tavern. The area was originally known as Cross Roads, because of the intersection of the Montgomery Pike and Columbia Road (Ridge). Ridge Road connected McFarland's Station with other stations in Carthage and Lockland.
Pleasant Ridge is approximately 9 miles from the center of downtown Cincinnati on the turnpike. The tavern at the corner of what is now Ridge and Montgomery Roads in the center of the neighborhood was called the Nine-Mile House. This building is still standing (2009) at the Northwest corner of the intersection. It's obscured by a 1920s storefront. Cross the street and you can clearly see the original tin roof that's nearly 160-years old and perfectly visible is the side of The Old Tavern/ Nine Mile House, now a cream-colored stucco (over the original brick) that runs along Ridge Road...(with fire escape)
The Presbyterian Church moved from Duck Creek to its present site in 1800 with a school built nearby around 1819. The Church took the name Pleasant Ridge around 1818, and the community is said to have changed from Cross Roads to Pleasant Ridge in 1850.
The first permanent settlers were the Wood family of Chatham, New Jersey. James and Charity Chandler Wood bought 660 acres (2.7 km2) from Colonel McFarland in 1809 for $4.00 per acre. The family, including 10 children, lived in "the fort" until they built a house off Montgomery Pike, with brick burned on site. When James died in 1824, the land was divided among his heirs, and Pleasant Ridge was first platted.
The community of Pleasant Ridge grew slowly. In 1832, the year the post office opened, population was only 100. This was basically a farming community with a few businesses to serve farmers or travelers passing through the turnpike.
Pleasant Ridge was incorporated as a village in 1891 when its population exceeded 1,000. John H. Durrell, businessman and descendant of the original Wood family, became the first mayor. The village enacted certain improvements, such as board sidewalks and oil street lamps. The village had a council, policeman, lamplighter, and fireman.
The petition to be annexed by Cincinnati just 20 years later had a lot of opponents, but the proponents believed the added services would outweigh other disadvantages. Pleasant Ridge became part of Cincinnati on a vote of 260-174.
In 1904 the village made national news when the floor of the school's outhouse collapsed, and nine young girls drowned in the waste of the vault beneath.
 Arts and entertainment
Pleasant Ridge is home to many artists and musicians. On October 11, 2008 Pleasant Ridge and neighboring community Kennedy Heights formed an Alliance called District A, a grassroots effort to build community partnerships and fuel economic development through the arts along the Montgomery Road corridor that is the main thoroughfare for both communities. Maria Kreppel, chairwoman of the Montgomery Corridor Arts Collaborative noted that Pleasant Ridge is an artistic community different from most in that "this is where artists choose to raise their families. We're not about building new art venues. Our ultimate goal is community development through the arts". The alliance was kicked off with a two mile street festival featuring over 50 artists, musicians and businesses.
 Notable residents
- Pleasant Ridge Chili Parlor
- The Pleasant Perk
- Everybody's Records
- The Loving Cafe
- The Gaslight Cafe
- Emanu East African Restaurant
- Molly Malone's Irish Pub
- Pleasant Hour Cafe
- The Ridge Club
- A Salon Named Desire
- Elliot Jordan Studio Gallery
- Kennedy Heights Art Center
- District A, where arts + community meet
- Green Corner Studios & Marketplace
- Queen City Comic & Card Company
- Hidden Treasures, Hamilton County's Stable Integrated Communities, Cincinnatus Association
- Bernard-Kuhn, Lisa, Neighborhoods team for the arts, Cincinnati Enquirer, October 12, 2008
- Community website
- Pleasant Ridge Library
- Pleasant Ridge Recreation Center
- Pleasant Ridge Montessori School (Grades PK-8 Public Montessori)
- Nativity Parish & School (Grades K-8 Private, Roman Catholic)
- Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church
- Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church
- Saint Peter's United Church of Christ
- All Saints Episcopal Church
- Donovan's Auto & Tire Company
- Mullaney's Pharmacy & Home Health Care
- Pleasant Ridge Auto Sales
- Pleasant Ridge Pet Hospital
- Columbia Township 2006 Ridge & Highland Shopping District Public Interest Strategies Plan
- Columbia Township 2004 Ridge & Highland Shopping District Business Corridor Study