Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Mansfield House, in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine (#1)

I moved to Cincinnati in late January of 1971. I had been on the phone with my Notre Dame/Innsbruck friend, Chris Cotter, when he said, "Why don't you come down to Cincinnati?" I said, OK, be there soon!"

I had been working for $2.50/hour at Terminal Parking, the parking garage run by Gene Killeeen and his family at West 6th and Superior in Cleveland. I loved the Killeen's, and believe it or not, enjoyed my job. I'm pretty sure we had the best-educated car parkers in the history of the world. At one time, besides Gene (Notre Dame, 1956), we had Earl Hurd (Notre Dame, 1970), me (Notre Dame, 1970), and several other well-educated members of the Killeen family, as well as my Euclid friend Bill Heiss( St. Joseph's, 1966) working there. But I knew that parking cars was not going to be my career. And it was a very tough job working outside that cold and snowy winter of 1970-71. So I decided just like that to make the move. Within days I was in my raggedy old Ford Econoline van, driving down to Chris Cotter's house in Cincinnati .

For a very short time I stayed with the Cotter family in the Western Hills area of
Cincinnati. Then one day Chris and I went down to the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and found out that we could sublet Anne Weinkam and Peggy Scherer's apartment on the third floor of 225 Orchard Street. The timing was just downright lucky because Anne and Peggy were ready to leave for a very long roadtrip and they needed subletters. And another astonishing piece of luck was that the Orchard Street house was about 150 feet from the Mansfield House, a raggedy old house at the end of Mansfield Street, just off Sycamore and near Liberty, a hundred yards from the old Cutter Junior High School (which later became the famous School for the Creative and Performing Arts). The Mansfield House was one of the most interesting community experiments in the history of Cincinnati--and Chris and I were nextdoor neighbors! [More on the Mansfield House coming in another blog entry.]

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