Through the beneficence of a wealthy, wise, and public-spirited lady, Mrs. Mary F. Emery, of Cincinnati, and the energy, good judgment, and idealism of the manager of her estate, Mr. Charles J. Livingood, also of Cincinnati, a new demonstration town has taken shape in the immediate environs of Cincinnati. In honor of the founder, the new town bears the name of Mariemont. The Mariemont Company, the builder of the town, is incorporated under the laws of Ohio, with an authorized capital of $5,000,000.
1 From American Civic Annual. American Civic Association, 1929.
The site for Mariemont was selected primarily for its natural beauty, near a large city, yet in the country, and away from objectionable factories. It is a location where there will always be plenty of fresh air, sunlight, and healthful surroundings, on a good loam and gravel soil, providing excellent drainage. It is near enough to Cincinnati so that residents in Mariemont can enjoy the splendid cultural opportunities which have made Cincinnati a favorite place of residence ever since it was named "The Queen City." The site of Mariemont is of such a character topographically, and it is so situated geographically, that it cannot become a large city nor in any way rival Cincinnati in city attractions. Its people, however, will enjoy what the citizens of Cincinnati enjoy - the May Festival, symphony concerts, the municipally owned University, the Art Museum and Art Academy, its famous "Zoo," and its facilities for professional services of the first rank.
Mariemont is intended, first of all, as a place of residence for a wide range of families of different economic grades. Its projectors believe that artisans, operatives, and workers generally, for whom it is principally intended, would prefer not to live under the shadow of the factory, so long as they are not too far from their work. For this reason there are to be no industries directly within the limits. But Mariemont has two large industrial sections nearby, both of which will be provided with all the public utilities and conveniences, such as sewers, water, gas, electricity, and telephones, as in the town proper, and under the same control. Sites will be allotted to large enterprises of suitable character only. Mariemont South is directly on the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Norfolk and Western, in the bottom-lands along the Little Miami River. Westover, the more important industrial section of 40 acres, is on the same level with the town, though somewhat distant from it, and separated by a forest growth that will screen the residents from any noise or smoke.
Mariemont did not set out to be a complete garden city in the English sense. It has never claimed to be "an ideal" community nor to be "model" in all respects. Yet it is generally conceded that no other American town is so complete or so perfect from the garden city or garden suburb point of view. Mariemont covers a tract of about 365 acres and provides for a town with its Village Green and public buildings, stores, amusements, school-sites, churches, playgrounds, parks, and complete and attractive housing accommodations for wage-earners of different economic grades. The normal lot size for the detached houses ranges from 50 to 80 feet frontage, with a depth of 120 feet. The houses are provided with all modern conveniences, including electricity and steam heat from a central plant. Adequate provision has been made for the permanent maintenance of the property as a complete town. Mariemont is not a laboratory for sociological experiments in the problem of housing, and therefore does not follow the English plan of copartnership building and ownership. It is the belief of the projectors of Mariemont that the people in this country are still individualistic in their attitude and action, and do not readily take to cooperative housing schemes. But Mariemont is not an industrial village nor a company enterprise. It is not designed for any special class or workers nor for workers solely. Mariemont is not a philanthropy, nor in»any sense paternalistic. Mrs. Emery, its sponsor, attempted to show in a very practical way her interest in the proper development of home-life and home-ownership. She manifested intense interest in the church, the school, the parks, the playgrounds, and the hospital, all features on which the higher life of the community and its public welfare depended. The Mariemont Memorial Church, a lovely English Norman building, has been erected alongside an ancient burial-ground as a memorial to the first settlers in this part of Ohio. These first settlers were a sturdy, Godfearing people who would have built it themselves had they not been too busy raising crops and repelling Indian marauders. Maps are extant showing than an Indian village, large for the times, occupied the southwest section near what is now Dogwood Park. There is a famous Indian burial-ground here. What became of these people no one seems to know definitely, but there are, fortunately, many remaining proofs of their culture and prosperity which will soon be displayed in the Mariemont Indian Museum on the site.
The Dale Park Public School was the first building constructed to provide for education and entertainment in Mariemont. It was erected in 1925, is absolutely modern in planning and equipment, and of Colonial architectural design, to harmonize with the quiet character of the homes facing it. The school has been so located that the children can easily, in a few minutes and with safety, walk to it, for there are no trolley lines to cross, and very little traffic. Between this school and the Memorial Church there is a special "green" for pageants and outdoor entertainments.
Mariemont is not only a town built "for the motor age," but to meet other modern requirements. It has many cul-de-sacs which are called "places." All wires are underground. A central heating plant provides steam heat for most of the village. The houses are of permanent material, beautifully designed by a score or more of well-known architects from various parts of the United States. The village has been incorporated under the laws of Ohio, has its own town government, with a Mayor, Board of Aldermen, and City Manager plan. The charter for the village is based upon suggestions made by the Rockefeller Bureau of Municipal Research.
Finally, it should be added, Mariemont is more than a demonstration of far sighted town planning and good housing. It is a community with its own social spirit. It has its Community Club, its Parent-Teachers' Association, its Men's Club, its Christmas parties, Fourth of July celebrations, and its community dinners.
Mariemont is a fine example of what Gerald Stanley Lee calls "a million dollars having a good time."
City Housing Corporation, New York. Reports. New York: The Corporation (587 Fifth Ave.).
Knowles, Morris. Industrial Housing. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1920.
Mackenzie, Clinton. Industrial Housing. New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1920.
Magnusson, Leifur. Housing by Employers in the United States. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Bull. 263. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1920. Pp. 283.
Pink, Louis H. The New Day in Housing. New York: John Day Co., 1928. Discusses European projects, Mariemont, City Housing Corporation projects, Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments, co-operative housing.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cooperative Movement in the United States in I925 (Other than Agricultural). "Miscellaneous Series," Bull. 437. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1927. Pp. 165.
---------"Housing Activities of Labor Groups," Monthly Labor Review, XXVII
(August, 1928), 1-18.
Warbasse, James Peter. What Is Cooperation? New York: Vanguard Press, 1927.
Cooperative housing (pp. 37-49).
Wood, Arthur Evans. Community Problems. New York: Century Co., 1928. Limited-dividend companies and other projects (pp. 57-79).
Wood, Edith Elmer. The Housing of the Unskilled Wage Earner. New York: Macmillan Co., 1919.