Walnut Hills is an area in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s a sizable, culturally varied neighborhood in the east central Cincinnati area, and it’s one of the city’s oldest hilltop communities. It takes less than ten minutes to get to the University of Cincinnati from Eden Park, which serves as a gateway to Walnut Hills on the northern side of Cincinnati. Many of the neighborhood’s buildings are being renovated, and new businesses are moving in. According to the Census of 2020, the population was 6,344.
The land that early settler Reverend James Kemper farmed was known as Walnut Hill, hence the name of the area. The Kemper Log House was the longtime home of the Kemper family. In September 1869, the neighborhood of Walnut Hills was annexed by Cincinnati.
A large influx of people from downtown Cincinnati settled here after the turn of the century. Many Jewish and Italian families settled in Walnut Hills, making it similar to South Avondale. Little Italy was a neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, located on the western side of McMillan St. Many African Americans migrated to the West End in the 1930s when the development of the Union Terminal and other public housing projects devastated houses in the neighborhood. Many white middle-class families left Walnut Hills after World War II, as contemporary suburbs began to spring up in the area. Similarly, as fewer well-off people moved in, middle-class African Americans left the neighborhood. By 1970, African Americans made up over 80% of Walnut Hills’ population.
Not only is Walnut Hill filled with beautiful Victorian homes, but it also features numerous historical and architectural landmarks. Harriet Beecher Stowe and her family lived in what is now an Ohio State Historical site dedicated to the abolitionist movement and the African American struggle for justice. It was here that she conducted research for Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Cincinnati’s first Carnegie Library was built by famed architect Samuel Hannaford, who also designed the tower of the Walnut Hills United Presbyterian Church at Taft and Gilbert. By the end of the 19th century, six street car lines converged at McMillan and Gilbert in the commercial district now known as Peebles’ Corner (formerly Kemper’s Corner). At its original location on Ashland Avenue, 2700, Walnut Hills High School (now known as Schoolhouse Loft LP) opened its doors to its students. The historic architecture of many different types can be found in Walnut Hills’ various structures. The city of Walnut Hills is home to several National Register Historic Districts.