Sedamsville Transportation: River Road and The Ohio River
The rise and fall of Sedamsville can be closely tied to water levels in the Ohio River. Major transportation changes that occurred in the early 1950s, by means of the River Road Improvement Project, were in direct response to persistent flooding of Sedamsville's central business district. A number of light industrial businesses once stood along the Ohio River, among them the Fleischmann Yeast Factory and Distillery.
Backstory and Context
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, The Ohio River was referred to as "The Pioneer's Highway" for its capacity to stimulate the growth of riverfront communities. Sedamsville was constructed in tandem with another community, Cleves, as extensions of the greater shipping infrastructure that the region depended on for economic viability. These sentiments were expanded with the construction of the Cincinnati section of the Whitewater Canal, which was completed in 1843. Landowners and businessmen intended to stimulate industrial growth between the Ohio River and the Whitewater Canal through the communities of Sedamsville, Riverside, and Saylor Park, all connected by road to Cincinnati.
The canal project would ultimately fail, sending the communities which dot this section of the Ohio River to pursue other financial opportunities. Sedamsville and its neighbors experienced explosive growth only when streetcar service connected the western edges of the city to Cincinnati proper in the mid-1850s. This, coupled with service of the Cincinnati & Lafayette Railroad (which was constructed in the old canal bed), provided a range of working opportunities to Sedamsville residents. By the end of the nineteenth century, Sedamsville had evolved into a commuter town with both small businesses and industrial firms, along with opportunities to travel to downtown Cincinnati for work.
Use of the Ohio River expanded in the early twentieth century with the building of the Fernbank Dam and advances in boating technologies. Dam Number 37 at Fernbank, among other navigational dams, simplified travel along the Ohio River for barges that carried steel, sand, coal, gasoline, fertilizer, grain, and chemicals downriver. A number of industrial firms involved in the production, processing, and transportation of industrial goods were established along the Ohio River during this era. In Sedamsville, a cooperage company and The Fleischmann Distillery were among these firms.