No. 448
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
November 18, 2019

Over-the-Rhine.

September 10, 2013
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Chapter 2
In 1761, a young Frenchman died violently. This tragedy would lead to what is still one of that country's most famous cases of judicial injustice. Assuming, of course, that it truly was an injustice at all. The grim chain of events began on October 13, when the body of 28-year-old Marc Antoine Calas was found dead in his family home in Toulouse. The Calas family initially stated that
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Strange Company - 11/18/2019


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Lizzie’s Old School Chum, Augusta Poole (Mrs. Cyrus Tripp) Shelley M. Dziedzic, October 2019 (all rights reserved) During the hot …

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Lizzie Borden : Warps & Wefts - 10/19/2019
Helen Farr Sloan was the former student—and then second wife—of Ashcan artist John Sloan. When her husband died in 1951, she remained devoted to promoting his art and achievements. But Farr Sloan was an exceptional artist in her own right. Born in New York, she became a printmaker and painter who had something to say […]
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Ephemeral New York - 11/18/2019

Jeff and Joe Soapy Smith buries Joe Simmons The Illustrated Police News April 9, 1892 (Click image to enlarge) oe Simmons was a tall, slender gambler known to many as “Gambler Joe” Simmons, a member of the Soap Gang who managed Soapy Smith's Tivoli Club in Denver, 1890, and Soapy's Orleans Club in Creede, 1892. According to William Devere’s poem "Two Little Busted Shoes," Simmons
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/25/2019
Scene of the Debbins murder Walter R. Debbins was shot twice in the back, in broad daylight, on Highland Street in Medford, Massachusetts, on the afternoon of Saturday, March 27, 1897. Though no one saw the murder or heard the gunshots, there was enough traffic on Highland Street that afternoon for the police to precisely pinpoint the time of the shooting to between 1:00 and 1:05. But
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Murder by Gaslight - 11/16/2019
German spree killer Fritz Angerstein was beheaded on this date in 1925. This tuberculotic managerial type (English Wikipedia entry | German) completes an infernal trinity of notorious mass murderers of Weimar Germany, along with Fritz Haarman and Peter Kürten. He lived a life of moderate domestic angst, with a sickly wife Käthe whom he loved […]
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ExecutedToday.com - 11/17/2019
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
The “Prisoners’ March.” | The Last Dip of the Season.

Over-the-Rhine.

Vine Street Looking South

Here's to Cincinnati, the Queen of the West
A dirty old city, but still nobly blest.
For it's here that fine arts, with the frivolous twine,
A veritable Deutschland just Over the Rhine…
The kindliest greeting from all whom we meet,
A good draught of beer every ten or twelve feet.

 

Atlantic Garden

Cincinnati, Ohio, in the nineteenth century, was a “wide-open city” regarding alcohol, gambling and prostitution. The section of Vine Street north of the Little Miami Canal--known as "Over-the-Rhine" -- had a reputation among sporting men equal to that of Broadway, Beale Street, and Bourbon Street. It was said that outlaw Frank James would walk into a Vine Street card room, his sidearm in public view, and be cheated at faro like any other Missouri farm boy.

Carrie NationCarrie Nation

When prohibitionist Carrie Nation went Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati saloon keepers girded for the worst, but rather than wielding her hatchet, the temperance leader just wished to talk. She stopped at the Atlantic Garden on Vine Street and offered comfort to a big blonde bar girl who cried on Mrs. Nation’s motherly shoulder. The girl straightened up and left, vowing to never touch another drop. Soon after, Mrs. Nation realized her earrings were missing.

When asked why she hadn’t followed her usual path of destruction, Carrie Nation responded, “I would have dropped from exhaustion before I went one block.” Vine Street, between 12th and 13th streets alone, hosted 23 saloons.


  • Cincinnati Illustrated Business Directory, 1894. Cincinnati: Spencer & Craig Printing Works, 1894.
  • Grace, Kevin. Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2003.
  • Grason, Frank Y. Pioneers of Night Life on Vine Street. Cincinnati: Cincinnati Times-Star, 1924.
  • Police and municipal guide: Cincinnati, 1901. Cincinnati: Ohio Book Store, 1995.
  • Wikimedia Commons: Carrie Nation, 1910