Pedestrian Archeology


Fair warning: I’m about to use a short phrase, consisting of two words, each of which are so excruciatingly dull that reading either one could very well cause you fall into an extended slumber, like Dorothy approaching Oz. Combined, they may induce a coma. Proceed at your own risk. To wit: Pedestrian infrastructure. Also, I will be writing about Cincinnati. Still with me? Good, because Cincinnati is a pretty fascinating place if your interests run to the history of walking in America in general, or, say, pedestrian infrastructure in particular. It’s home to a couple of groupings of artifacts that bookend the highs and lows of American walking culture over the past century and a half. Let’s start the tour at City View Place, at the edge of the Clifton Heights neighborhood, which I visited a couple of weeks ago. The most interesting thing about this short block is that it wholly lacks a city view. It’s actually at the bottom of a hill. But it ends at a long set of concrete steps that ascend a steep hill. These steps rise through a dense wood — I didn’t realize how shady and dark it was until a cardinal flew past, startling me with its sudden brightness. A few steps later — presto! — I was in another old neighborhood atop a hill filled with elaborately mansarded houses.

more from Wayne Curtis at The Smart Set here.