Written by Keloni Parks, Branch Manager, West End Branch Library
For this episode of the West End Stories Project, we spoke to retired secretary, Margaret Haley. In the fifties and early sixties, she lived with her mother and father at 1805 Freeman Ave across from Findlay Street and attended Heberle Elementary School.
When Haley lived on Freeman Avenue, the western side of Findlay Street disconnected at Freeman Avenue. Findlay Street stopped across the street from Haley’s home, then continued westward two houses down from hers. One block in back of hers sat Crosley Field at 1200 Findlay Street, and when Haley was young, her father would park cars for the people visiting the stadium. She said “we would be sitting on the porch listening - to the game and he would say, you need your car parked? And they would say, yeah.”
The building Haley lived in no longer exists and was transferred to the city of Cincinnati in 1961. The same thing happened to the buildings alongside hers, 1803 and 1807 Freeman Avenue, the same year. According to a 1998 article in the Cincinnati Post, during the 1960s, the Cincinnati Reds wanted more parking, so to provide more parking spaces, the city replaced residential units in need of repair with small parking lots throughout the area. “I don’t know where he parked the cars at because we didn’t have a yard.” When that didn’t provide enough parking, the city used eminent domain to purchase four blocks of housing to create more parking spaces, displacing 500 West End families. In the end, these efforts still weren’t enough, and the Reds relocated to Riverfront Stadium in 1970. Crosley Field was demolished two years later, in 1972.
If you or someone you know lived or spent a significant amount of time in the West End, consider sharing your story. Call 513-369-6900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.