Jim Tarbell

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James (Jim) Tarbell
Mister Tarbell Tips His Hat, Cincinnati ArtWorks mural, Jul 2016.jpg
A mural of Jim Tarbell in downtown Cincinnati.

James Tarbell is an American politician of the Charter Party, who served as a member of the city council and Vice-Mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio. By mayoral proclamation, Jim Tarbell holds the title "Mr. Cincinnati" for life.

Early life and education[edit]

Tarbell's family moved from a small Ohio town to the Hyde Park neighborhood of Cincinnati in 1946.[1] He attended St. Xavier High School[2][3][4] and graduated from Withrow High School in 1960 before attending the Lowell Technological Institute in Lowell, Massachusetts.[5] He returned to Cincinnati in 1967.[1]

Business career[edit]

Tarbell opened the Ludlow Garage, a local concert venue, in September, 1969 and operated it until its closing in 1971, featuring artists such as Grand Funk Railroad, Spirit, Santana, Elvin Bishop, The Kinks, Humble Pie, Sons of Champlin, Cold Blood, Boz Scaggs, James Gang, Bo Didley, Iggy and the Stooges, MC5, Fairport Convention, Taj Mahal, NRBQ, Commander Cody, Herbie Mann, the Staple Singers, Alice Cooper, The Lemon Pipers and the Allman Brothers, who recorded a live album there.[6] From 1976 to 1998 he owned Arnold's Bar and Grill, the oldest continuously-operated bar in Cincinnati.

Political career[edit]

In 1997 the restaurateur began his political career by campaigning in his now well known top hat and tails. He was first appointed to Cincinnati City Council in 1998 to replace the retiring Bobbie L. Sterne, was elected in 1999, and re-elected in 2001, 2003, and 2005. Until 2003, when Christopher Smitherman won a seat on the council, Tarbell was the sole Charterite on the council. In 2005, Tarbell was appointed Vice Mayor by Mark Mallory, the newly elected Mayor of Cincinnati. Because of term limits, Tarbell could not run for reelection in the November 2007 election.

In March 2010, Tarbell ran for Hamilton County Commissioner for the first time.[7] In September 2014, Jim Tarbell announced he was running for Hamilton County Commissioner again, this time as a write-in candidate.[8]


  1. ^ a b Miller, Zane L.; Tucker, Bruce (1998). "Separatists Victorious, 1983–1985" (PDF). Changing Plans for America's Inner Cities (PDF). Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press. p. 139. ISBN 0-8142-0762-6. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
  2. ^ "1957 The X-RAY St. XAVIER Jim Tarbell Cincinnati OH HIGH School ANNUAL Yearbook". eBay. June 1, 2013. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  3. ^ Michaud, Anne (July 2, 1998). "Tarbell to carry Charterite torch". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett Company. Retrieved September 29, 2013. Vine Street and other major city thoroughfares have deteriorated to a state he never would have imagined, [Tarbell] said, when he attended St. Xavier High School downtown.
  4. ^ "Graduation 2010" (Press release). St. Xavier High School. June 4, 2010. Retrieved September 29, 2013. The June 3 ceremonies at Xavier University’s Cintas Center featured the class of 1960 leading the procession into the arena. ... (It was also a special walk for Jim Tarbell, who famously didn’t quite graduate with his class and have the opportunity to walk 50 years ago.)
  5. ^ Tarbell, Jim (October 28, 2010). "Full Biography for Jim Tarbell". Smart Voter. League of Women Voters. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  6. ^ "Rock History at Ludlow Garage". Cincinnati Citybeat. August 5, 2009. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  7. ^ Brown, Jessica, "Dems in County Primary Differ on Taxes", Cincinnati Enquirer, April 12, 2010 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-03-10. Retrieved 2010-04-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Jim Tarbell on his Write-in Campaign: I have nothing to lose" by Lisa Bernard-Kuhn "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-07. Retrieved 2014-10-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]