The building that Cincy Shirts’ Hyde Park store partially occupies was built in 1925. For a long time, we’ve wondered what businesses previously operated in our space. Oakley Cycle, of course, had the spot before us. They’re now out on Wooster Pike near the corner of Newtown Rd. Before becoming Oakley Cycle, the shop was an art gallery and before that, an interior design firm.
However, we had no idea who did business there previous to those establishments. The Facebook group Old Photos of Cincinnati shed some light on the matter. From around 1940, until the mid-’70s, at least part of our shop was occupied by Joseph Camele’s tailor shop as seen in the above image (circa 1960). In the photo, posted in the Facebook group Old Photos of Cincinnati by Mr. Camele’s granddaughter Kate Arnold, the shop owner, and master tailor, is standing in front of what is now our FC Cincinnati room. Behind that is the backroom where we record The Cincy Shirts Podcast.
Joseph Camele in front of his tailor shop, circa 1960.
Kate stopped by our store to give us more details about the old shop. She hadn’t been in the space since the early ‘70s around the time Joseph passed away. “There was no reason to, really,” she said, adding she would have occasion to drive by the old shop when she lived in the area. She now lives in Loveland, just up the hill from our newest location.
Kate Arnold, recreates the photo of her grandfather.
Joseph’s tailoring business had been there since the early 1940s. Before that, he was two doors up in the same building. That space is now Hanover Hanover House Interior Design but was a dress shop back then.
Cincy Shirts Hype Park then and now. On the left, Joseph Camele stands in front of what is now the FC room at Cincy Shirts. To the right, our main showroom.
Mr. Camele had the space next door (which is now Hanover’s side entrance), where he had been since the mid-‘30s. However, the woman who owned the dress shop wanted to expand into the Mr. Camele’s space. Luckily, the market at the end of the building was heading out, so Joseph didn’t have to move his shop far. He was in business in that spot for more than 30 years after that, serving a loyal customer base that included local celebrities, athletes, and other famous folks.
An ad for Joseph Camele's tailor shop.
Before Joseph took that spot, Kate’s father, David, and his brother Andy used to go downstairs into the market’s basement and watch the owner slaughter chickens. “He would stand there in a wife beater shirt, smoking a cigar,” Kate told us, relating what her father had told her. “He would kill the chickens, throw them in boiling water, then pull them out and strip off the feathers.” When Joseph moved his business into the shop, the basement walls had to be whitewashed using paint mixed with lime in order to get rid of the odor.
We were able to get a hold of another of Mr. Camele’s grandkids via email. Mike Camele, Andy’s son, told us, “I can only remember a couple of details. I remember my mom taking me to Grandpa's shop and his wife Millie (Grandma died before I was born) would make me peanut butter crackers.” He added, “as I look back now, it must have been a steady snack for Grandpa.”
What the shop became after Joseph passed away isn’t known. From at least the early ‘80s into the early 2000s, it was occupied by various art gallery’s before Oakley Cycle moved in, followed by Cincy Shirts of course, which brings us back to present day. We’re proud to continue the apparel business tradition in that space.