"If only these sidewalks could talk."
As early as 1860, the area of East Walnut Hills was distinguished by its large and beautiful semi-rural estates. It was never intended to become a populous settlement, but an exclusive district where “country living” could be enjoyed.
Yet ironically, it was an Irish farming family, the O’Bryons, whose purchase of 72 acres north of the Madisonville Pike in 1830’s, – one of the few families actually dependent on the production of the soil – their settlement attracted other families from Ireland who named their community O’Bryonville.
A turning point in the history of the region occurred as a result of a court judgment 1865. This judgment forced land on the southern side of the Madisonville Pike to be subdivided into smaller city plots. This breakup of land allowed for tradesmen and people of more modest means to enter the area. O’Bryonville rapidly grew to become a well-balanced business and residential community in the late nineteenth century.
By 1925 there existed forty-five commercial establishments along the several blocks of Madison Road. Grocery stores like, the B.H. Kroger Grocery Company, shops that offered furnishings for the home, barber shops, automobile services, banks and the John Widmer Company; all serves the needs of the surrounding community.
The trio of the three streets – Madison Road, Grandin Road and Torrence Parkway is well documented in the history of the community. The intersection of these three avenues has seen Holy Angels Church, the charming Hines flat-iron building, the Toddle House, the Teichman lunchroom and the Hively car dealership come and go.
O’Bryonville has seen growth and change as the needs and tastes of the surrounding community have fluctuated. But the “old” remains in what is still seen and enjoyed – even the original O’Bryon homestead is alive and well today as the restaurant Eighth & English. O’Bryonville continues to be a changing community while still maintaining the air of uniqueness that it has always enjoyed.
Most days of the week, the galleries and shops in historic O’Bryonville shopping district close by 6 p.m., but each third Thursday of the month more than 20 O’Bryonville businesses offer extended hours to attract prospective buyers with unique antique furniture, collectibles, furnishings, gifts, clothing, stationery, artwork and fine jewelry. The evening is relaxed and uncomplicated; patrons stroll along the newly renovated tree-lined sidewalks, stopping at shops and galleries to sample complimentary wines and refreshments, while browsing the district’s eclectic offerings.