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07/06/19 10:13 AM #4154    


Paul Simons

Again thanks Phil for your exhaustive research. You can find almost anything on Youtube, so here's one fellow, using a piece of cardboard to reduce friction. When I ws there, a similar item was on the wall next to the slide, an indication of the generosity of Cincinnatians. Whoever left it had no idea who the next user might be - even a socialist or, even worse, an immigrant - but he or she left the cardboard anyway.

FYI - the road after the slide and nature museum, past the lake that once featured rowboats, ducks and a refreshment stand offering sno-cones for people and popcorn for humans and ducks alike, was closed, perhaps by executive decree. Maybe an athlete who had fallen into disfavor wanted to train there, who knows.

And now here's Jen at the Alms Park slide. As you can see, she isn't using any cardboard at all.

I called Jen to see how she did that, with no cardboard. She wasn't home and her husband didn't want to provide any information. He even seemed to take offense at my innocent questions. Probably not a native - more likely from Philadelphia, home of hostile, argumentative people.

07/07/19 07:15 PM #4155    

Barbara Kahn (Tepper)

Paul, you're not a Philly native so you're safe from that argumenative, grouchy stuff.

07/08/19 01:21 AM #4156    


Jonathan Marks

I remember using cardboard in Burnet Woods.  And that probably wasn't recently.


Ault Park doesn't require it, evidently, as it's a much shorter and simpler descent.

07/08/19 01:39 PM #4157    


Philip Spiess

The Alms Park slide looks much newer than that in Burnet Woods; in fact, it looks recent.

As to the park road which goes into Burnet Woods from Jefferson/Ludlow Avenue (across the street from former Cincinnati Republican political boss George B. Cox's grand mansion, for many years the Pi Kappa Alpha -- "Pike" -- fraternity house) being closed, I believe it's been closed to vehicular traffic for some time; I do not know the reason, whether to allow for joggers and pedestrians, or whether it no longer has an exit at the southen end -- the city has screwed around with the roads surrounding the University for years, almost since the days we were in high school.  The former suburb of Corryville, to the east of the original University campus, has practically disappeared, due to the expansion of the University over its former boundaries; it's now all called "Clifton" (which it's not!).  This began years ago with the re-routing of Vine Street at the top of Vine Street Hill (above Inwood Park) through the middle of Corryville and subjoining it with a piece of Jefferson Avenue, also twisted at its southern end; if you could ever get to the Zoo by still strictly following Vine Street, you were lucky!  The eastern-most portions of Corryville now tend to be called "Mount Auburn" (which, yes, abuts it on the east) -- when they're not also called "Clifton."

And, yes, Paul, the refreshment stand by the side of the lake in Burnet Woods -- providing exactly the refreshments you said, to ducks and humans alike -- I haven't seen open probably since I was in 7th or 8th Grade (we call it Middle School now, but we certainly didn't then -- we called it "Junior High School").  And there were the rowboats.  At the southern end of the park road, which ran along the western edge of the Burnet Woods lake, where the road connected with the University roads (I don't have a map before me to recapture the names), back in the trees stood a very old barn or garage-like building (it may or may not be there still), which served as a maintenance shed for the park.  My father remembered that, as a boy, when John Robinson's Circus was in town (its home base was Cincinnati, in Terrace Park, though it toured nationally -- I should write it up sometime) he (being a Corryville native) was sometimes hired to water the elephants, which were being housed in that shed -- were they performing at Carson Field in Nippert Stadium on the U. C. campus?  (I don't know.)

As to the Burnet Woods Lake itself, that was where we all went ice-skating in winter, when they put up the skating flag at the entrance to the park, announcing that the ice was safe enough to skate on.  (Yeah, every once in a while we skated on the Twin Lakes in Eden Park at the edge of Walnut Hills, but that was much further afield.)  I well remember skating in Burnet Woods at some time in my WHHS days, and smashing headlong into Mike Pahner (our classmate Steve Pahner's older brother), who was coming at breakneck speed the other way, a revolting development which broke my glasses and gave me one hell of a bloody nose!  When the weather wasn't sufficiently cold for lake skating, we often had skating parties (some of them birthday parties) on the indoor rinks at Cincinnati Gardens (now torn down, I've heard).  Ah, yes!  those were the days, my friends!

07/12/19 06:43 AM #4158    


Jerry Ochs

Did you follow the FIFA Women's World Cup?  I just found out that Rose Lavelle, an athlete with incredible skills, is from Cincinnati.  Unfortunately for her, she did not attend WHHS; she went to Mount Notre Dame High School.  Three cheers for Rose!

07/13/19 01:03 PM #4159    

Barbara Kahn (Tepper)

It seems we didn't have a lot of the same experiences growing up but Phil struck a chord with me when he talked about Cincinnati Gardens and the skating rinks. I didn't know if was gone but that makes sense that it would be.  I learned to skate there and loved it. 

The lower level parking lot is where my driving teacher took me to practice. He ate Gelusils the whole time. I never knew if that was just for me or everyone. I suspect he wasn't cut out to deal with new drivers.  

07/13/19 07:11 PM #4160    


Paul Simons

Phil - Driving around the UC area is totally different these days from what it was. The hospital complex is integrated with the campus. However the Esquire Theater is still there on Ludlow, and at the corner where Ludlow becomes Jefferson and intersects Clifton Ave, the Skyline is still there. This proves the existence of an omnipotent, benevolent, magnanimous God, if you happen to be at that corner in Cincinnati, and not in a cage in El Paso Texas.

Jerry - I did follw the US Women's team, mainly because that Megan Rapinoe has the grit to speak her mind, to, as they say, speak truth to power. And, these athletes are inspiring, especially the ones who stay in it as they get a bit older than average. We had a pitcher here in Philly, Jamie Moyer, who stayed active in MLB well into his 40's.

Barbara - I can remember trying to ice skate at Cincinnati Gardens. Trying but no good at it. I have heard it was torn down, maybe only in the last few years. I saw both The Cincinnati Royals with The Big O (Oscar Robertson) there, also The Beatles. For the Roayals game they had a deal - if you bought something at the Robert Hall clothing store across the street you got a break on admission so I bought a nylon winter coat, best coat I ever had.

"Where the values go up,up,up/ And the prices go down, down,down/ Robert Hall this season/ Will show you the reason/ Low overhead, low overhead!"

07/13/19 10:33 PM #4161    


Philip Spiess

Barbara:  Cincinnati Gardens was not only where I went ice skating many times, but it was also where I saw my first "Ice Capades" and other ice-skating shows (as well as a couple of Shriners' Circuses, and occasional games of the local ice hockey franchise, the "Mohawks").  I believe I had my 12th birthday party as a skating party there (Spring of 1958), and someone gave me a kids' illustrated version of "Best Tales of Sherlock Holmes," which captivated me.  (Dick Ransohoff, with whom I was close friends in those days, also introduced me to Christopher Morley's edited edition of The Complete Sherlock Holmes, a copy of which I still have; I've been a "Sherlockian" ever since.)

Cincinnati Gardens was also where the Dan Beard Council (Cincinnati and Hamilton County) of the Boy Scouts of America held its annual Scouting Show.  Our troops (Boy Scout Troop 3 and Explorer Scout Troop 3 of Clifton) took a booth every year to demonstrate some aspect of our Scouting activities.  The year I remember (I think it was our senior WHHS year), we had taken two booths at Cincinnati Gardens, several aisles apart, in order to demonstrate various aspects of signalling from one booth to another -- Morse Code by "telegraph key" (my telegraph key was later used by the Smithsonian Institution in 2008 to transmit by transatlantic telegraph a message of greeting to the Science Museum in London to commemorate the sesquicentennial of Cyrus Field's laying of the Atlantic Cable in 1858), Navy Signal Lamps with shutters, also doing code, and wooden towers we had built from which Scouts signalled to each other by "Semaphore," using flags.  The public could write messages to be transmitted from one booth to another on actual Western Union telegraph forms (we had pads of them), but the public's interest in sending messages far exceeded our abilities to transmit in good time -- good as our abilities were, we were running way behind.  Fortunately, we had also supplied our booths with U. S. Army field telephones (relics of World War II) -- and so we (our classmates Don Dahmann, Tom Gottschang, Rob St. John, Jim Stillwell, and I) got on the field phones secretly and read the messages to the other booth, which then wrote the messages down on the Western Union forms as if they had been sent!  [Note:  First point of the Scout Law:  "A Scout is Trustworthy."  Also a missing, but essential, point of the Scout Law:  "A Scout is Cunning (nay, Devious), but (being a Boy) often is Creatively (nay, Alarmingly) Ingenious."]

Yes, as I understand it, Cincinnati Gardens, and its later skating annex, are gone (any local classmate want to report on this?), yet that is also where we held city-wide band and choir music festivals, great choirs and orchestras directed by Mr. Worrell, Superintendent of Music in the Cincinnati Public Schools (where the hell did the actual audience sit during those performances?).  And Cincinnati Gardens was also where my father explained to me, at a very young age (I think it was as we entered one of those ice shows), that the doorway entrances which opened onto the sitting area of the arena from the corridors behind were called "vomitoriums" (actually "vomitoria") after the ancient Romans.  And, lo! not two minutes after he told me this, I had to sidestep a puddle of vomit someone had just deposited in the entrance we were passing through!  History indeed was unveiling itself before my very eyes!  Final note:  At some time, somewhere near the end of the 20th century, when I was in Cincinnati, and busy photographing all the Cincinnati outdoor sculpture of which I was aware (to make a comprehensive inventory), I photographed the several bas-relief panels (three?) depicting the sports which were played in the Gardens, and which were on the outside of the original building (I wonder if they were saved?).

Paul:  As I said, the suburb of Corryville as it was constituted in my father's youth (and which I delineated the boundaries of for the Cincinnati Historical Society in the 1960s) -- it included Mecklenburg's Gardens, and its main north-south axis was Vine Street -- has been subsumed, as near as I can tell, by the University of Cincinnati (the University hospitals used to be considered part of Mount Auburn, just to the east of Corryville). As to Clifton and its Ludlow Avenue, Ludlow and Jefferson Avenues used to join each other at Brookline Avenue (the entrance to Burnet Woods), not at Clifton Avenue; have they changed it?  What has been for many years now the Clifton Skyline Chili was originally Stier's Drug Store (it had a lovely black marble or Formica soda fountain with chrome swivel chairs -- with arms -- on pedestals); Stier's later moved further west on Ludlow Avenue, and to the other (south) side of the street.  The other Clifton drug store was that owned by our classmate Steve Pahner's family (Pahner's Drug Store).  Just east of Stier's Drug Store was the Virginia Bakery of immortal fame (best Schnecken pastry you'll ever find outside of Germany -- and inside Germany as well!); luckily, its history has now been written up in Tom Thie's (his was the Virgina bakery family; my great-grandmother was intimate with old lady Thie, who used to give my sister and me free cookies) and Cynthia Beischel's Virginia Bakery Remembered (Charleston, S. C.:  The History Press, 2010) -- thankfully, it includes the full and detailed recipe for Schnecken.

And Paul:  I believe the 3rd and 4th lines of the Robert Hall's jingle went "Robert Hall is in season / To show you the reason . . . "  Imagine my astonishment some years ago, here in North Springfield, Virginia, to hear the father of one of our Boy Scouts, a native of Virginia (I'm still an Assistant Scoutmaster at my age, by the way), singing that jingle in the parking lot!

07/14/19 08:01 AM #4162    


Paul Simons

Phil - I have no doubt you're right about where the street name changes from Ludlow to Jefferson. My experience of that stretch of road is to drive or walk along it, no documentarian or historian here. About the Robert Hall jingle - there again I don't claim perfect accuracy. Please note that I am offering no opinion one way or the other concerning German pastry and I will leave it to others to explain why the best beer according to many is not made in Germany but rather in Pilsen, Czech Republic. 

07/14/19 01:52 PM #4163    


Chuck Cole

Phil's post about Virginia Bakery led me to search online.  While the paperbook version of the book about the bakery is out of print with a used copy going for more than $80, you can get an ebook for $10.  It has the detailed history and all of the recipes.  

I also remember Virginia Bakery's competition--the Jewish Bakeshop on Melish.  They also made outstanding schnecken and dobos torte, which was one of my favorite desserts.  You could also get dobos torte at both the of the Lenhardt's restaurant (one owned by each of two feuding Lenhardt brothers) but it was better from  Virginia Bakery or The Jewish Bakeshop.  

07/14/19 01:56 PM #4164    


Jeff Daum

Philip, interesting regarding the annual Dan Beard Council scouting event at the Cincinnati Gardens.  I don't recall that even though I was very active (Eagle Scout with Palms, Ner Talmid Award, Order of the Arrow, and a Life Member of National Eagle Scout Association) in Troop 127 (Bond Hill) of the Dan Beard Council .

Re your comments on ice skating: I do remember one year actually skating in and being part of the Ice Capades local 'talent.'  Also ice skating at Burnett Woods.

07/15/19 01:43 AM #4165    


Philip Spiess

Chuck:  All I can say is "Wow!"  I bought two copies of the Virginia Bakery book (one for myself and one for my sister) just before last Christmas at $20 or less!  It must have been selling like, well, "hot cakes!"

Jeff:  Perhaps the Scouting event at Cincinnati Gardens was evey other year; I'm not sure (one year our troop featured our German band ensemble, which also played at WHHS pep rallies; we marched "oompah-ing" around the Gardens).  I became a member of the Boy Scout Order of the Arrow as an adult, being initiated along with my son (that was fun!).  Although I never became an Eagle Scout (I was two merit badges short -- I'd become involved in WHHS theater by that time), my son did; I'm the "goad" for our troop's prospective Eagles, pushing them through and making sure their paperwork is in order.

Paul:  Concerning Ludlow Avenue, I thought perhaps the city had changed some street names, given its propensity for altering or terminating streets in that area of Clifton.

As to Pilsener beer, it was developed in 1842 in the city of Pilsen, by Joseph Groll -- who was a Bavarian!  He'd been invited to the city to improve its beer, which apparently was terrible.  He created the "Pilsner Urquell" using purified water, which was probably the "secret" ingredient that made it so good (think of what most available water sources were like in those days).  Historically, Germany's beer was the standard, given that Duke Wilhelm of Bavaria had invoked the "Reinheitsgebot," or beer purity laws, in 1516.  Then there was "King Gambrinus," the legendary "King of Beer" (or "patron saint," although he wasn't a saint), possibly a Duke of Flanders and Brabant (near the mouth of the Rhine); he became a popular advertising figure in the late 19th century (I have a glass advertising sign for Cincinnati's "Gambrinus Beer"), and many breweries of the period had statues of Gambrinus on their pinnacles (Fort Wayne, Indiana's Gambrinus Brewery had one as late as the end of the 1960s).  Finally, I should mention Gustav Luders' 1903 operetta, The Prince of Pilsen (later made into an early movie, which has disappeared), which featured a lead character who kept going around asking everybody (it became a famous punch-line), "Vas you efer in Zinzinnati?"

07/15/19 08:23 AM #4166    


Paul Simons

I think I asked this before but don't remember the answer. Does anyone remember tap rooms of local breweries(Burger, Schoenling, Hudepohl, Weidemann, and there are more) that welcomed school class tours? I swear I remember going to one, and it seems it was before anyone was old enough to drink. Not even 3.2 beer which would get one as drunk as any other beer.

07/15/19 02:42 PM #4167    


Steven Levinson

My mother loved Virginia Bakery's schnecken dearly.  Also the butcher shop on Ludlow, the name of which I can't remember.

07/15/19 07:02 PM #4168    


Nancy Messer

Something I thought everyone should know about.  On July 11, 2019 Duke Steiner, Rick's son, passed away at age 20.  The funeral was today at Weil Funeral Home.  I don't know any of the details.

07/15/19 08:35 PM #4169    


Jerry Ochs


I went to Prague in 2013 to place a stone (metamorphic of course) on the grave of Franz Kafka.  During the week that I was there I made an effort to drink every brand available (sort of a workout for my kidneys).  I haven't been to Germany but I have read that beer is taken very seriously there.   "Very seriously" would be a gross understatement of how the Czechs feel about their beer.  The Krusovice brewery was founded in 1581.  For Uneticke it was 1710.  One can enjoy a (very clean) glass of unpasteurized and unfiltered beer.  There is even a bicycle repair shop/tavern in the Zizkhov neighborhhod.  And then there is the sausages to go with the beer.  Put Prague on your bucket list.

07/15/19 09:22 PM #4170    


Paul Simons

It's tough to go from beer to the death of a classmate's son who was known to many. Rick's sons Duke and Ace drove the shuttle back and forth, to and from a parking area at the laast reunion at Dave Schneider's place. High spirited, generous, just like Rick. Twenty - that's too young.

Thanks Jerry and Nancy for your reporting. Point taken - live, enjoy life, it can end anytime. Anytime.

07/15/19 10:41 PM #4171    


Bruce Fette

So many topics.

I cant say anything about Rick's son. I didnt have the opportunity to meet him. But I completely agree that 20 years old is way too young.  

I did have the wonderful opportunity to visit Germany many years ago. The trip included visits to crazy Ludwig's castles, and to the German fields where they grow hops and brew one of their very popular beers for Octoberfest. Sorry I cant remember the name. Sorry, I did not have the opportunnity to visit Czech Republic. But my son's girlfriend is there right now. Who knows, she may have opportunity to bring some back.

But my real reason for weighing in tonight is to recognize that this Tuesday, 50 years ago, is the day that the massive rocket design by Werner Von Braun's team and 400,000 US systems developers blasted off to take the Appllo team to the moon. An of course, this Saturday is the 50 year anniversary of the landing there.

I dont know about anyone else, but while I was working at Texas Instruments (TI) in Dallas,one of my UC college chums was working at NASA Huston (and continued for another 35 years). Perhaps many others have friends and relatives who worked on Apollo, or worked directly on it themselves. My closest connection is that my Dad was an engineer working on the moon buggy, in Ann Arbor Michigan, and he has a home movie of him with an astronaut.

So with that intro, Phil, please add some historical perspectives.





07/15/19 11:32 PM #4172    


Ann Shepard (Rueve)

I just learned of Duke’s passing this morning in an email from Laura Pease. I was able to attend the visitation and spoke with Corky, Ace, Jan, Duke’s mother, and the rest of the family. His death was sudden, last Thursday.   Gail was in town, staying at Rose Hill, but I didn’t get a chance to see her. 

The link:

I also just learned of Birdie Johnson McIntosh’s passing on July 6. This is the link:


07/16/19 01:31 AM #4173    


Philip Spiess

Of course, we are all now at our "End Times" -- not approaching our "End Times," but at our "End Times" -- and thus it is precious for us to be able to share our reminiscences, memories, and the good times we have had, or are still having, together.  (But to die at 20 is too young, a tragedy.)

To speak of Prague is to bring forth a legend from the heritage of my many Jewish friends, namely, the legend of The Golem of Prague.  The Golem, a creature created from mud and which (in most legends) cannot speak, has been a part of Jewish legend since at least the 12th century (Adam, according to one legend, was at first a Golem, as he was created from the earth, or mud).  But the most famous Golem is that of Prague, created by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel in the late 16th century to protect the Prague ghetto from the rapacious attacks of its enemies.  After a number of exploits, Rabbi Loew had to remove the Golem's life-force when it started running amuck.  It was supposedly buried in the attic of the Old New Synagogue in Prague; the Nazis actually went looking for it there during World War II, but they found nothing (a legend, however, says that the Nazi who went into the attic was struck dead).  Many stories have been written about this Golem; perhaps the most renowned is Gustav Meyrink's Der Golem (The Golem, 1914; reprinted by Dover Publications in Two German Supernatural Novels). A notable German silent expressionistic film was also made of The Golem:  How He Came Into the World, by Paul Wegener in 1920; it is still available on CD.  The cities of Chelm and Vilna were also known to have Golems.  [Is it a stretch to suggest that the Gollum in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings cycle had its origin in the Jewish Golem?]

Bruce:  My own story of the moon landing is rather minimal.  However, you want context?  Supposedly Cyrano de Bergerac made a voyage to the moon in the 17th century (it's written up in the literature of the period); then there was Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon (1865), wherein members of the "Baltimore Gun Club" fire a passenger rocket at the moon.  It was made (Nelson Abanto, take note!) into an opera by Offenbach (1875), and made into one of the first silent movies by the Frenchman, Georges Melies, as A Trip to the Moon (1902); this is available on CD (I showed it to my Middle Schoolers when lecturing on the history of cinema).  H. G. Wells also wrote an early science-fiction novel on the subject, The First Men in the Moon (1901).

But these are not my story.  On the night that our astronauts landed on the moon in 1969, I was ushering at the Cincinnati Opera, which was then still located in the Cincinnati Zoo (how that came about is another story, which I'll relate at another time).  I believe the opera was Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment, starring the soprano Mary Costa (Jon Marks, I think you and I have discussed this before).  When she came to the line, spoken to the tenor who would become her lover, "You don't impress me like those soldiers do!", she interpolated "You don't impress me like those astronauts do!" -- and the audience went wild!  The Zoo had set out numerous television sets around the beer-selling stands surrounding the Opera Pavilion, and we all went through an extended intermission, drinking beer and watching Neil Armstong land on the moon.  It was pretty exhilarating.  (I also know a hilarious dirty joke about the moon landing, told to me by Jeff Rosen, but I will only transmit it to you in private.)

I still find it astounding that, around 1890, H. G. Wells predicted that man would land on the moon by the year 5000; however, my grandmother, born in 1900, lived through the Wright Brothers' first manned aerial flight in 1903 -- and only 66 years later, i.e., 1969, while she was still living, a man landed on the moon!

07/16/19 03:59 AM #4174    


Jerry Ochs

Bruce et al.,

JFK was murdered in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, both MLK Jr. and RFK in 1968.  I was about ready to give up on the human race when Apollo 11 lit up my world again.

07/16/19 04:56 AM #4175    


Paul Simons

Brief musical interlude

07/16/19 07:19 AM #4176    


Chuck Cole

Remembering the moon landing--my wife (Liz Ryan Cole, whom some of you met at the last reunion) and I got married June 15, 1969 (we both attended Oberlin College).  We decided to head to the Canadian Rockies on a camping honeymoon and planned our trip so that we would be in Lethbridge, Alberta on July 20--our last night without television for a week or so.  I also remember watching some early manned-spacecraft launches on televisiion on Stanley Leed's classroom.  And I have a vague memory of being in the rocket club at WHHS in 7th grade.  Bruce--were you also a member of that club?

About Prague--when my neice was married in Berlin about ten years ago, we decided to spend a few days in Prague before the wedding.  My great-grandmother's grandfather had left Prague for the US during the 1850s and ended up arriving in Los Angeles in the early 1860s.  Their family name was Praeger (which means belonging to Prague).  I have rarely been moved as deeply as I was by our time at the Jewish Cemetery and the Jewish Museum in Prague.  On the walls of the museum are the names and years of life of all the Jews from Prague known to have been killed during the Holocaust, more than 70,000.  Particularly striking was to see how clearly even babies were put to death. 

07/16/19 03:44 PM #4177    


Steven Levinson

Laura Nyro wrote, "And when I die, and when I'm gone, there'll be one child born in the world to carry on."  My brother Peter died on June 17, 1968, three weeks short of his seventeenth birthday.  Duke Steiner was born on June 17, 1999.  So it goes.

07/16/19 07:40 PM #4178    


Jerry Ochs

I follow a Twitter account called Auschwitz Memorial.  This is a typical post: "10-12 July 1944 | After selections made by SS authorities at the liquidated BIIb sector of Auschwitz II-Birkenau (a family camp for Jews deported from Theresienstadt ghetto) ca. 3,000 people were transferred to other camps & the remaining ca. 7,000 were killed in gas chambers."    In Prague's New Jewish Cemetery I was bawling like a baby by the time I reached Kafka's grave after reading each memorial plaque on the cemetery wall.  There was one for the Lederer family and I thought of our kind and gentle Al.  Some were devoted to professions, such as music or cinema.  It was murder after murder on an industrial scale.

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