In 1803, a year after Cincinnati was incorporated
into a village, a night watch of volunteers was established. In 1834 police were
paid, and in 1842 two men began working in the daytime. Up until 1886 policemen
were chosen, and were members of, the party in power and had some impact on the
way votes were cast. In 1886 a non-partisan police department was established.
After that reorganization, only 12 members of the original force remained, and a
whole new Police Division came into operation.
The cards in the next two row shows the Police during various inspections, training maneuvers, and ceremonies. The annual parade, inspection, and review day, was commonly refered to as Inspection Day. This was considered a very important event by both the city and its police department. All policemen were required to buy their own dress uniforms that were only worn on this one day. All men, except those needed on the job, were required to attend. The parades and inspections were held in front of City Hall, inside the baseball park, near Eden Park, and in Government Square. In 1918 the police went on strike protesting low pay and the requirement they purchase the dress uniform they only wore one day each year. Inspection day was ended after that.
Police Inspections Mounted Police on maneuvers
Police Inspection at Redland Field Not a postcard 1903 Inspection
Awarding Medals Interior Police Gymnasium
The last card above show police officers inside the police gymnasium that was located on the 3rd floor of City Hall. The gym moved to City Hall in 1900 from the Hammond Street station where the first gym opened in 1886. Police now work out where old Spinney Field used to be (Bengals training field.) This is where the police academy is located (Gest and Evans Streets).
Sixth District Police Station Hamilton County Jail
Built in 1899 at 3855 Eastern Avenue District 6 was here until 1948 and was then moved to the old Patrol 6 house at Columbia & Delta Aves. In late 1950 District 6 opened and Patrol 6 was closed at 3295 Erie Avenue. In 1975 District 6 was renamed District 2. In 1975 a new district numbering system went into effect. Because of consolidations, there are only 5 districts. District's 6 and 7 no longer exist by their old designations.
Cincinnati Mounted Officer Donald Creek
The last two postcards above were sent to me by Ron Grothaus. Donald Creek was both a Cincinnati Private Policeman (1st card) and a deputy sheriff (location unknown). What is known is that officer Creek's life ended very tragically. He and his wife lived at 549 Armory Ave. On Oct. 29, 1942 he shot and killed his wife at her parents home in Sayler Park, he then shot and killed himself.
These are not postcards
View of Cells
Cincinnati Workhouse located at 3208 Colerain Ave. Erected in 1867-69 on 6 acres.
Located in camp Washington, on Colerain Ave., this jail was called the Cincinnati Workhouse because in the 1860s hard labor was considered as both a cure and a punishment for criminals. Its life span was from 1867 until 1988, and was demolished in 1990. Nicknamed the "Cincinnati Castle" because of its white Romanesque Gothic castle look, it sat on 26 acres of land that would later lay next to the I-75 Expressway. It was built to be seen and admired by the citizens of Cincinnati. It was surrounded by a landscaped park that also contained a lake. Up until around 1900 it was touted in all the guidebooks as one of the "must see" places to visit. Next door to the Workhouse was the children's House of Refuge which also resembled a castle fortress (see the Charities/Welfare section on the Religious page.)
The 3 floors of 606 4x8 ft. cells were ill-lit and had no plumbing.
The prisoners used slop buckets that were emptied daily into the sewer trough
located in the towers at the corners of the building. The windows were located
on the other side of the corridor connecting the cells. There was no way to cool
the cells and the heating was very poor. The men were held in the south wing and
the women were held in the north wing.
By the turn-of-the-century the Workhouse held an average 2,500 to 3,000 prisoners. Most were short term, 3 months or less, for drunk and disorderly, vagrancy, prostitution. The violent criminals were held elsewhere. As the name implies the emphasis was on work/training so that the prisoners could find employment once they were released back into society and not return. Some of the contractors that used prison labor were: J. D. Hearne & Co., a shoemaker, Speckerman & Co. who ran the Cincinnati Family Laundry from the prison laundry facilities, Bromwell Brush & Wire Co. used prisoners to make brushes and Miles Greenwood & Co. hired prisoners for casting iron. Women prisoners made clothing, for prisoners and for contractors, they also did the cooking, there was a laundry, bakery.
In separate buildings were workrooms, bath houses and a hospital. Products made at the Workhouse carried the label "Made by Convict Labor" (see below.) The Workhouse became unprofitable for the city and it closed in 1920, after the Hamilton County Court House jail opened. This new facility soon became overcrowded and, in 1927, the Workhouse was reopened as the Community Correctional Institution. Between 1927 and 1988 renovations were made wherever possible.
Thanks to James Houchin, who is now working on a US Naval Base in Djibouti, Africa, I now know the story of the above card. An artist, Fred Burkhart, (burkhartstudios.com) who was living in Clifton at that time (1979) was sent to the workhouse for 30 days. While there he made a pen drawing of the building which he later made into a postcard. The "made by convict labor" was added as a joke. Apparently the Judge liked it so much he reduced his sentence to 17 days. You can actually see this drawing on his web site. I understand Fred has terminal cancer and is now (2013) having his last exhibit in Chicago. James Houchin, by the way, was employed by the city of Cincinnati from 1979-1981 as a Cincinnati Correctional Officer.
American ingenuity at work
Norwood Police Dept. Norwood Police in a parade Norwood Police & Fire Dept.
front of the Norwood Bank
Price Hill District 9 St. Bernard Police Dept.
The Price Hill District 9 police station shown in the 1st card was built it 1907 at 3201 Warsaw Avenue. In 1927 when stations were being consolidated District 3, that was at 73 East McMicken Avenue, was moved to District 9 and District 9 was renamed District 3 which is its present designation. This building when built was designed to match the architecture of the library that can be seen to the right of the station in the 2nd, present day image.
Delta Ave. Patrol Station East End
The Delta Avenue Patrol Station seen in the 1st postcard image is now known as the famous restaurant "The Precinct" as seen in the 2nd present day photograph.