Wendell P. Dabney      

Guide to African American Resources
at the Cincinnati History Library and Archives

   

 

Introduction

Subject Categories

Index

  

Cincinnati History
Library and Archives

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority
 
  In the early 1930s there was a strong interest around the country in slum clearance as a means to providing better housing for low-income families. The National Recovery Act of 1933 provided federal funds for the creation of low-rent housing complexes. The Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) was created shortly thereafter to take advantage of these funds.  
 
The first meeting of the CMHA was on December 9, 1933. Within a week, the CMHA submitted a proposal to the Public Works Administration for a slum clearance project in Cincinnati's West End. This quick action was made possible by the work of Cincinnati's housing reformers. Two groups, the Cincinnati Better Housing League and the City Planning Commission, were very instrumental in creating the proposal. Bleecker Marquette, the executive director of the Cincinnati Better Housing League, and Alfred Bettman, the chair of the City Planning Commission, were nationally known in the fields of housing and city planning. They put together a comprehensive plan for the redevelopment of the West End.
 
 
The initial plan was to build three separate communities in the West End: two for Caucasians and one for African Americans. Due to limited funds, the project was scaled back to just one development, known as Laurel Homes. In August 1938 Laurel Homes opened with 1,039 units with approximately 30% of the apartments available to African Americans. Thus, Laurel Homes became one of the first racially integrated public housing communities in the United States.
 
 
After the opening of Laurel Homes, the CMHA quickly moved ahead with other housing projects. A development, called Winton Terrace, was built in the northern part of Cincinnati on 240 areas of undeveloped property, and the community of English Woods was built west of the Mill Creek valley. The first residents moved into Winton Terrace in 1941 and into English Woods in 1942.
 
 
Another project of the CMHA was the Lincoln Court development. Lincoln Court was located in the West End, just south of Laurel Homes, and was completed in 1942. Lincoln Court had 1,015 units made up of two and three room apartments and four and five room row houses.
 
 
In the late 1990s, the CMHA received grants to redevelop the outdated Laurel Homes and Lincoln Court communities. The old buildings were torn down and were replaced with a new development, known as City West. This community is a mixed-income neighborhood with both rental units and privately owned condos.
 
 


 
To learn more about the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority and the housing projects, consult the following resources:

Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority website
https://www.cintimha.com/

 

Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority Annual Report
General f352.75 C574a
The Library has CMHA annual reports for 1936-1943 and 1946-1949.   View catalog record   Request slip
 
 
 
Better Homes for Cincinnati's Children
By the Citizens Committee on Slum Clearance and Low Rent Housing
Pamphlets 352.75 C581
This pamphlet describes how Laurel Homes is a vast improvement over the slum tenements which it replaced.    View catalog record   Request slip
 
 
 
Laurel Homes: Then and Now, Buildings A-D
Pamphlets 352.75 L378
Floor plans for typical units in Laurel Homes are included here as well as a history of the CMHA and the building of Laurel Homes.   View catalog record   Request slip
 
 
 
Renewing Neighborhoods, the Renaissance of Communities in Greater Cincinnati: 2002 report to the Community
Pamphlets f363.58 C574r
Information about the City West community and other current CMHA programs are provided in this 2002 report.   View catalog record   Request slip
 
 
 
Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority
By Thomas A. Kessinger
Mss VF 2484
This essay by Thomas Kessinger covers the construction and management of the Laurel Homes, Winton Terrace, Lincoln Court and English Woods public housing projects in Cincinnati from 1933 to 1943.   Request slip
 
 


Sources Used for Historical Sketch:
  • Laurel Homes: Then and Now, Buildings A-D, , Pamphlets 352.75 L378, Cincinnati History Library and Archives. Cincinnati Museum Center.
  • Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority Annual Reports, General f352.75 C574a, Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum Center.
  • Renewing Neighborhoods, the Renaissance of Communities in Greater Cincinnati: 2002 report to the Community, Pamphlets f363.58 C574r, Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum Center.
  • Kessinger, Thomas A., Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority,
    Mss VF 2484, Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum Center.
 
 

 


Cincinnati History Library and Archives
Mailing address: 250 W. Court Street, Suite 300 East, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Email: library@cincymuseum.org
Copyright © 2004-2017 Cincinnati Museum Center.
All Rights Reserved.
Images not to be reproduced without written authorization.
This online guide opened on February 10, 2004.