Hamilton is a city in and the county seat of Butler County, Ohio, United States, in the state's southwestern corner. The population was 62,447 at the 2010 census. The city is part of the Cincinnati metropolitan area. Its neighborhood of Lindenwald, settled by German immigrants in the mid-19th century and later, is one of three designated National Historic Districts.
The city has a council-manager form of government. Its mayor is Patrick Moeller and the City Manager is Joshua Smith. Most of the city is in the Hamilton City School District.
The industrial city is seeking to revitalize through the arts; it was officially declared the "City of Sculpture" in 2000. Its initiative has attracted many sculpture installations to the city, which founded the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 3.1 2010 census
- 3.2 2000 census
- 4 Hamilton Hydraulic
- 5 Miami Conservancy District
- 6 Education
- 7 Government
- 8 Notable people
- 9 See also
- 10 Little League World Series
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Hamilton, Ohio, was founded by European Americans in 1791 as Fort Hamilton (named to honor Alexander Hamilton). The northwest frontier military fort was built to serve as a supply station for the troops of generals Arthur St. Clair and later Anthony Wayne. Their armies entered the Miami Valley to drive out the Shawnee and Miami during the Northwest Indian War of the 1790s. The Indians hoped to maintain their territory here, but, following the American Revolutionary War, the United States wanted to open it for European-American settlement and succeeded in pushing out the indigenous peoples.
The fort was located on the Great Miami River, where the east and west banks rose gradually. The river is shallow during normal flow and easily forded by men, animals and wagons on its gravelly bottom. By 1800, the fort had been abandoned, and Hamilton was becoming an agricultural and regional trading town. The town was platted, government was seated, and the town named by 1803.
Hamilton was first incorporated by act of the Ohio General Assembly in 1810, but lost its status in 1815 for failure to hold elections. It was reincorporated in 1827 with Rossville, the community across the Great Miami River in St. Clair Township. The two places severed their connection in 1831 only to be rejoined in 1854. Designated the county seat, this became a city in 1857. On 14 March 1867, Hamilton withdrew from the townships of Fairfield and St. Clair to form a "paper township", but the city government is dominant.
On the afternoon of 17 September 1859, Abraham Lincoln arrived at the Hamilton Station (the station is on the city's Historic Preservation list). He gave a campaign speech in support of his fellow Republican, William Dennison, who was running for Ohio governor. Lincoln's speech concentrated on popular sovereignty. He began: "This beautiful and far-famed Miami Valley is the garden spot of the world." It was during this campaign that the relatively unknown Lincoln was first mentioned as a possible presidential contender.
Niles Tool Works, Hamilton, Ohio, 1896.
By the mid-19th century, Hamilton had developed as a significant manufacturing city. Its early products were often machines and equipment used to process the region’s farm produce, such as steam engines, hay cutters, reapers and threshers. Other production included machine tools, house hardware, saws for mills, paper, paper making machinery, carriages, guns, whiskey, beer, woolen goods, and myriad and diverse output made from metal, grain, and cloth.
By the early 20th century, the town was a heavy-manufacturing center for vaults and safes, machine tools, cans for vegetables, paper, paper making machinery, locomotives, frogs and switches for railroads, steam engines, diesel engines, foundry products, printing presses, and automobile parts. During the two world wars, its factories manufactured war materiel, Liberty ship engines, and gun lathes. Manufacturers used coke to feed furnaces. Its by-product, gas, fueled street lights. The Great Miami River valley, in which Hamilton was located, had become an industrial giant.
The county courthouse, constructed between 1885 and 1889, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its monumental architecture. The city has three historic districts, including Lindenwald and others that feature turn-of-the-century homes. Like Cincinnati, Hamilton attracted many German and Italian immigrants from the mid-19th century on, whose influence was expressed in culture, food and architecture. Hamilton also had a Jewish community; with increased immigration by Eastern European Jews, they founded Beth Israel Synagogue in 1901 as an Orthodox alternative to Hamilton's Reform synagogue. It had been founded by German Jews in the 1880s, when nearby Cincinnati was a center of Reform Judaism in the United States. At the time around 250 Jewish families lived in Hamilton.
In the 1920s, many Chicago gangsters established second homes in Hamilton. This gave Hamilton the nickname "Little Chicago". Some of these men appeared to have invested in what became an active district of gambling and prostitution. During World War II, the military declared the entire city off-limits to its enlisted personnel because of its numerous gambling and prostitution establishments. Madame Freeze's and the long row of prostitution houses along Wood Street (now called Pershing Ave) were notorious among soldiers. Factories in Hamilton converted their operations to support the war effort, manufacturing military supplies, such as tank turrets, Liberty ship and submarine engines, and machined and stamped metal parts.
With the 1950s came the construction of the new interstate highway I-75, part of a nationwide system and one which bypassed the city. A decision made to reduce traffic through the city resulted in cutting it off from the newest transportation network, and businesses were drawn to areas outside with access to the highway. Until 1999, when the Butler County Veterans Highway was built, Hamilton was the second-largest city in the United States without direct interstate access.
On 30 March 1975, Easter Sunday, James Ruppert murdered 11 family members in his mother's house at 635 Minor Avenue in Hamilton, in what is referred to as the "Easter Sunday Massacre". The murders shocked the town of Hamilton and the entire country. This was the deadliest shooting inside a private residence in American history.
In the late 20th century, industrial restructuring in heavy manufacturing resulted in widespread loss of jobs in older industrial cities, as operations were merged, relocated, and finally moved offshore. Like other Rust Belt cities in the northern tier, Hamilton has struggled to develop a new economy after such wide-scale changes but it has retained more of its population than many such cities. In addition, since the late 20th century it has attracted new immigrants, primarily Hispanics from Mexico and Latin America.
On 28 May 1986, as part of a plan to increase publicity about Hamilton, the city council voted 5-1 in favor of adding an exclamation point to the city's name. Thus, Hamilton officially became Hamilton! While used extensively in the city's documents, letterheads, business cards and on local signage, "Hamilton!" was not successful in getting Rand McNally to use the new moniker on state maps and the change was not recognized by the Federal Board on Geographical Names. The city's website does not use the exclamation point.
In 2009, the city won the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Awards for best-tasting municipal water for the United States; and in 2010, a Gold Medal for the best in the world.
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