Getting to Know Norwood: 7 Fun Facts

February 14, 2019 7 Comments

Norwood, Ohio clock

It’s survived economic upheaval and repeated attempts by Cincinnati to gobble it up. Today, the city of Norwood is home to state-of-the-art office complexes, modern shopping centers, and revitalized neighborhoods. Here are 7 fun facts about the city, and don't forget to check out our entire Norwood Collection.

1. It has a Native American mound

Earthen mounds created by Native Americans are fairly common in the Tristate, with the most recognized being the ones at Ft. Ancient in Warren County and Serpent Mound in Adams County. Newtown also has a few well-known earthworks.

However, Norwood also has a Pre-Columbian mound. Located near the water tower, it’s just off Montgomery Road on, appropriately, Indian Mound Avenue. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has never officially been excavated, but it is believed that the Cincinnati Art Museum has some artifacts from the mound in its collection from an unofficial dig in the 1800s.

2. It’s completely surrounded by Cincinnati

Norwood is an enclave, in other words, bordered on all sides by another city, in this case, Cincinnati. Starting in 1902, Cincinnati made several attempts to annex Norwood. Shortly after the first attempt failed, the village of Norwood incorporated as a city.

The last annexation attempt by Cincinnati was in 1987, just after the Norwood General Motors assembly plant closed. This time around, though, Norwood considered the idea. However, Cincinnati mayor Charlie Luken scuttled the plan  feeling his community would simply be taking on someone else’s problems. New economic growth has come to Norwood since then in the form of several new office parks and shopping centers.

3. It has a university

Well, at least part of one. Most of Xavier University is in Cincinnati, but part of the campus, the eastern end, is in Norwood. That’s also where most of the university’s growth has been in the past few years and will be moving forward it would appear.

4. Norwood was the garden spot of Hamilton County in the late 1800s

Norwood is still known as the Gem of the Highlands, a distinction that goes way back. From the book Cincinnati & Vicinity, published in 1898:

“It is one of the beautiful and thriving residence places in the vicinity of the city. Floral Avenue, its prettiest thoroughfare, is one mile long, 120 feet wide, and is paved with asphalt.” And:

“It is a beautiful residence suburb, with many handsome homes, good streets, numerous churches and splendid schools. It has a town hall, electric light plant, and waterworks.”

5. The ill-fated Cincinnati Subway was going to run through Norwood

One of Norwood’s most famous features, of course, is the Lateral, the section of highway that runs through the city and connects I-71 with I-75 in Bond Hill. Originally, though, the right-of-way that now contains the Lateral and I-75 south into Cincinnati was to be used by the since-abandoned subway system. It was to enter Norwood north of Dana and follow what is now I-71 for about a mile before heading north under Beech Street before turning west and eventually following what is now the Lateral's path. Two stops were planned for Norwood: Forest near Harris and one on Montgomery Road. In the 1960s, of course, the freeways took the land set aside for the subway.

6.  It’s the second largest city in Hamilton County

Though it’s surrounded by Cincinnati, Norwood has a population of over 19,000 making it the second largest city in Hamilton County. Forest Park is right behind Norwood with just over 18,000 residents.

7. For its first 61 years, it had a different name

The area now known as Norwood was first settled by non-natives in 1794. By 1809, more settlers had arrived. Soon, a tavern called Mother Goose’s, a general store, and about a dozen houses occupied the settlement, which became known as Sharpsburg. It was named after the owner of the general store.

In 1869, the town was renamed. A large farm north of town had been acquired by three men, S. H. Parvin, Col. P. P. Lane, and L. Bolles who planned to develop the site as an extension of Sharpsburg. However, Mrs. Bolles felt the name Sharpsburg wasn’t pretty enough for the growing community and suggested Norwood, a truncation of Northern Woods, reflecting the surrounding area.

Early in 1870, it became official as the Post Office and railroad station took the name of Norwood. In 1888, the village was incorporated.

Just think, we all almost drove on the Sharpsburg Lateral.

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