Avondale was originally developed as a rural suburb of the city, with large-lot estates and farms that consisted of white Protestants with German or English ancestry.(1) Stephen Burton, a wealthy resident and owner of an ironworks, referred to the area as Avondale in 1853 after noting a resemblance between the stream behind her house and the Avon River in England.
The latter half of the 19th century saw Avondale plagued with crime until the annexation into Cincinnati in 1896, when the city provided enhanced police presence that reduced the rate of incidents.(1) After the completion of the streetcar into the mostly rural neighborhood, Avondale began to become more dense with estates and large lots being divided up for subdivisions and developments. From the 1920s until the advent of World War II, 60% of the neighborhood was Jewish, and remained a mostly white neighborhood until mass relocations of mostly black residents from the West End neighborhood began.(2) At that time, realtors only permitted blacks to move into neighborhoods where black populations had already been established; Avondale had a small population of blacks and thus could allow them to settle in.(1)
Avondale post-war began to split into two separate neighborhoods. South Avondale began to see increasing rates of crime, vastly declining property values and neglected businesses and residences. North Avondale was, for the most part, maintained and retained its upper-class status. By 1956, Avondale was declared blighted and urban redevelopment – mostly targeted and benefiting the University Hospital and the University of Cincinnati, occurred that required demolition of large swaths of the neighborhood.
Two race riots, one in 1967 and another the year after, further dragged down Avondale. As a result, several were killed, scores injured and the city’s reputation was damaged. The Burnett Avenue business district was decimated, as was the corridor along Reading Road. The city began to bleed population to the suburbs after the riots, dropping 10% between 1960 and 1970, in comparison to just less than 0.3% the decade prior.
Today, over 90% of Avondale’s residents are of African-American descent, and more than 40% live below or at the poverty level. It has one of the lowest home ownership rates in the city at 23%.
The Cincinnati Children's Hospital medical office building is located at 3430 Burnet Avenue and was completed in 2008.
- “Community Development.” Avondale Community Council 2012: n. pag. Web. 24 Dec. 2012. Article.
- Hall, Sheri. “Area working to rise above crime, riots.” Cincinnati Enquirer 2 Mar. 1998: n. pag. Web. 24 Dec. 2012.