The Beginnings of Our Distinctive Suburb

The area known as Price Hill was occupied by Native American tribes long before the European settlers came in the late 18th century.

There once stood an Indian mound at the corner of Rapid Run Road and Overlook Avenue, one of several in Western Cincinnati and later the site of the Elberon Country Club.  The mound , most likely built by a Woodland tribe, would have dated back to the Woodland Period, 500 BC-1000AD. When those European settlers arrived both Shawnee and Miami Indians were living in the vicinity. The area was a wilderness of forest and streams, hills and bluffs, wild and beautiful. Although both tribes farmed and hunted, the area was basically untamed by those who lived there.

Shawnee Lookout Park in North Bend offers a look back to what our area was like during the time of the Native Americans. The park offers spectacular views of the Ohio River and Great Miami River valleys. Recent archaeological discoveries indicate that this site could be the largest continuously occupied hilltop Native American site in the United States, going back 14,000 years.

Boldface Park , in Sedamsville, was named after Chief Boldface, a Miami chief. Little seems to be known about him. Even his demise is in dispute. One story states that in 1790 Jacob Wetzel was hunting in the area when he came upon Chief Boldface. A fierce fight ensued and at the end of it the Chief lay dead. Another version states that Chief Boldface was killed in 1790 in a massacre. Whatever version is correct, it is a testament to the importance of the Native Americans that Price Hill was originally named Boldface Hill.

William Terry and his family are thought to be the first white settlers in the area. In 1791 Terry bought 200 acres from John Symmes for around $2 an acre. This land was a part of The Symmes Purchase, 330,000 acres of land in Hamilton, Butler and Warren counties that Symmes, a congressman and judge from New Jersey, bought from the Continental Congress  for 69 cents an acre.

William built a log cabin in the virgin forest, planted an orchard and established his farm in an area still occupied by Indians. Soon after, other settlers followed, including his brother and sister in law. Although William escaped from harm, his brother-in-law was killed and scalped and his wife was captured and held prisoner for seven years before she was released.

Many early prominent citizens followed, settling on the hill and carving out huge estates from the surrounding wilderness. You may wonder why the name changed to Price's Hill as the area was populated.
These were hard times for both settlers and Native Americans on Boldface Hill as well as across much of the land. The Indians fought valiantly to maintain their way of life but, as we know, the European settlers prevailed in the struggle. The future was forever changed with frontiersmen and settlers building a new life for themselves and a new country in the process.
Cincinnati became heavily populated in the 19th century, due to steamboat traffic and hog packing, and some of the city's wealthier residents settled in the nearly inaccessible hill country to the west. This region was high enough and far enough away to escape the pollution and crowdedness of the inner city. One such resident was General Rees E. Price, who purchased and developed large parts of the hill. The area was then called "Price's Hill", later shortened to "Price Hill".