Hyde Park: Cincinnati, Ohio
Known for its handsome 19th- and 20th-century homes located in park-like settings and for top-notch schools, the approximately three-square-mile Hyde Park is a compact neighborhood where going to work, doing errands, and pursuing leisure activities can be accomplished within 20 minutes of home and without a car.
Bordered by Wasson Road to the north; Columbia Parkway and portions of Observatory and Parkline Avenues to the south; Delta Avenue to the east; and Torrence Parkway, Madison Road and I-71 to the west.
Known for its handsome 19th- and 20th-century homes located in park-like settings and for top-notch schools, the approximately three-square-mile Hyde Park is a compact neighborhood where going to work, doing errands and pursuing leisure activities can be accomplished within 20 minutes of home and without a car.
Making this possible is a harmonious balance between Hyde Park's residential areas and its vibrant business district with 175 shops, salons, boutiques, restaurants, dry cleaners, tailors, bankers, architects, and other businesses. On Sundays, between May and October, there is a farmers market just a half block south of the business area's public space, Hyde Park Square.
Established in 1896 as Mornington Village for the area's most affluent citizens, the community soon changed its name and was annexed by the City of Cincinnati in 1903. The focal point of the neighborhood's national historic district is the Georgian Revival-designed Cincinnati Observatory. Surrounding the facility are a variety of Victorian, French Second Empire, and Classical homes built during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Elsewhere, Hyde Park has more affordable housing, including condominiums and multi-family apartments.
After developing organically, Hyde Park became more planning-focused during the 1970s when the neighborhood became the first community in Cincinnati to develop an urban design plan. Working closely with city planners is Hyde Park's neighborhood council, which takes an active role in reviewing requests for zoning changes in order to protect the community's character.
Defining Characteristics, Features
- Surrounded by low-rise buildings — many historic and most brick — Hyde Park Square has ground floor retail with residences and offices above; wide sidewalks easily accommodate shoppers and outside diners
- Square's centerpiece is the bronze Kilgour fountain, donated in 1900 by businessman Charles Kilgour; refurbished 1976, restored 2003
- Oldest continually used telescope in the world and national landmark (1980) is here; Greek Revival Cincinnati Observatory (1873) designed by noted architect Samuel Hannaford
- Eclectic mix of homes, some using elements from several architectural styles, surround observatory and form the Observatory Historic District (1874-1916); added to the National Register (1978) and named local historic district (1993); styles influencing design are Italianate, Queen Anne, Eastlake, Shingle, and Colonial Revival
Importance of planning, engaged citizens
- Hyde Park's first plan (1983) resulted from 70 citizen task force meetings during four years. Plan seeks to maintain balance between commercial and residential areas, and to use present business properties to address parking, future commercial growth
- Cincinnati's first urban design plan (1984) prepared for Hyde Park business district; focuses on economy, parking, traffic, pedestrian needs, housing, and streetscape
- New construction and closing of the Hyde Park Theater (1983) led residents and business owners to propose creation of Interim Development Control District. When the interim district expired in 1984, a permanent Environmental Quality District was created to help preserve neighborhood character near Hyde Park Square
- Conservation guidelines in place for the Observatory Historic District (1978); requires certificate of appropriateness from Historic Conservation Board for demolition or construction in district
- Recent zone change study proposes modifications, adopted by city council in 2010, to protect residential character by reducing subdivision of large single-family lots. Changes ensure consistency of new home setbacks with character of each block
- Hyde Park Neighborhood Council (established 1992) represents local interests before city government, monitors zoning change requests, keeps neighbors informed of relevant city programs, such as recent tree giveaway (re-leaf program)
- Hyde Park places a premium on education; 95 percent of residents age 25 and older graduated high school, and nearly 70 percent possess a bachelor's degree
- Neighborhood schools include a national Blue Ribbon award winner, the only Cincinnati public school to receive the "Excellent with Distinction" rating from the state's Department of Education; also finalist in the national "Race to the Top" initiative
- Home to several small parks, Hyde Park sits adjacent to Ault Park, one of Southwest Ohio's premier parks; 224 acres of picnic facilities, nature trails, play areas, gardens
- Neighborhood novelties include Graeter's Ice Cream, which uses French Pot process