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Auditor plat map, approved June 29, 1926

Bella Vista Street, currently

In 1926 Cincinnati developer Arthur R. Green began the development of an enclave of Tudor Revival homes across Reading Road from the Maketewah Country Club, in the neighborhood of Bond Hill. Acquiring the plot from the Snow & White subdivision, Green first advertised the new neighborhood as “Belle Vista”. Green’s promise to buyers was elegant living in a “restricted neighborhood” that offered protection from the threats of Jazz Age over-development.

Green’s project, quickly renamed “Bella Vista”, showed early promise, with the Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 2.51.30 AMbuilding of several attractive model homes in mock English cottage style. Competition from other builders, however, was intense. Though Bond Hill had been founded in the 1870’s by a co-operative community, beyond the streets of Old Bond Hill, much of the land remained given over to farmland and orchards until the 1920’s. Now, just as Green’s project was coming to market, the last of Bond Hill’s agrarian estates were being carved up, divided and subdivided. New streets were advertised everywhere — Andina, Avonlea, Laconia, Elizabeth — and Bella Vista.

A few homes, such as 1718 Bella Vista, sold quickly but others languished on the market. By 1929, liens were issued against the unsold houses and, eventually, all the remaining lots and houses were foreclosed upon. Certain homes, such as 1722 Bella Vista, were ordered sold on the courthouse steps. Undeveloped lots were turned over to other developers and builders, like 1743 Bella Vista, which was eventually built by the H.C. Stanforth Co.Screen Shot 2018-11-22 at 11.11.01 PM

Despite the crippling blow of the Great Depression, by 1936 a number of agents, builders and developers would finish what Green had begun by building all 17 homes that comprise Bella Vista today. Still, it is Green’s vision of a quaint country-style lane dotted by modestly sized homes and lit by lamp light, that persists.