Earliest Settlers & the Carpenter's Run Baptist Church
Information and pictures gathered from descendants of five Blue Ash pioneer families, along with minutes of the historic Carpenter's Run Baptist Church dating back to 1791, provide a view of what life was like in the early settlement. Accounts in family histories tell the stories of bravery and courage exhibited by the pioneer families of John and Elizabeth Ferris, James and Mary Craig Carpenter, Price and Molly Denman Thompson, Abner and Hannah Ayres Denman, and Richard Ayres, many of which have descendants still living in the Blue Ash area today.
The Carpenter's Run Baptist Church (1797-1828) served the earliest settlers of Blue Ash. Built of logs from the blue ash tree, the church gave the community its name. When the church disbanded around 1828, the building was used as Plainfield School. Three grade schools, Plainfield (1814), Blue Ash (1892) and White Oak (mid-1800s), served the community. Sycamore High School (now the Junior High) was built in 1925. In 1949, the three elementary schools along with three others and the high school combined into the Sycamore School District, with Edwin H. Greene named the first superintendent.
An Emerging Community
Blue Ash was a rural community of farms throughout the 1800s and did not incorporate (as a village) until 1955 (Blue Ash was incorporated as a City in 1961). The railroad (CL&N) was built through the community in the 1880s, and it brought a post office to Blue Ash. Commercial activity at this time consisted of a blacksmith shop and a grocery store until 1908 when the Blue Ash Building & Loan was established, the longest continuous business in operation in Blue Ash today. The 16 Mile Stand Rangers provided police protection (for those who paid). There were attempts to incorporate Blue Ash during the early 1900s but none were successful until 1955. The Blue Ash Civic League served as the voice in the community prior to that time (established around 1908 as the Blue Ash Improvement Association).
The site of the first airport in Blue Ash, and possibly the first municipal airport in Ohio, was north of Cooper Road on land that had been an army base and is now home to the Crane Xomox Corporation. Major Hugh Watson taught his brother, Parks, to fly, and they began their flying enterprise on Shawnee Run Road in Indian Hill. They soon relocated to the site in Blue Ash in the spring of 1922. Airmail service from Chicago to Cincinnati began that spring when a plane landed on the Ed Rolston farm on Cooper Road. Grisard Field was dedicated in September of 1922 in memory of Lieutenant John J. Grisard, the only aviator from Cincinnati to die in action in World War I. Folks flocked to Grisard Field on Sundays to watch daring air shows and parachute jumps. In 1926, Hugh Watson established his airport on Glendale-Milford Road. It was referred to as the North Field while the Grisard Field, renamed the Parks Watson Airport, was referred to as the South Field. Hugh Watson sold his field in 1955. The City of Cincinnati purchased the Parks Watson Airport in 1946, and the airport was closed by order of the FAA in 1963. The Glendale Milford airport was closed in August of 2012 and is now the location of Summit Park.Blue Ash Incorporates - Stable Leadership
For several years after incorporation, there were heated political battles, but by the early 1970s, the politics stabilized. The city that hired nine city managers in nine years found one in 1972, Victor Suhm, who spent nine years with the City. Blue Ash's longest serving City Manager, Marvin Thompson, was hired in 1973 as an administrative intern and was named City Manager in 1981. He served as Blue Ash’s City Manager to July 1, 2006. Blue Ash's current City Manager, David Waltz, was appointed City Manager effective July 1, 2006. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Waltz served as Blue Ash's Assistant City Manager since September 2003.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Blue Ash became the home of UC Blue Ash, the Sycamore Branch Library, the Sycamore Senior Center, and the Blue Ash YMCA. During the 1970s and 1980s, the City attracted a variety of commercial and industrial development that includes many national names as well as recognized local and regional companies. Today Blue Ash is home to approximately 2,000 businesses, including several Procter & Gamble facilities, Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Lighting Systems, Inc., among many others. Today’s Blue Ash is an enviable community whose success has been due to good planning and effective city management. With a daytime population of approximately 55,000, top notch recreational facilities and programs and public safety services, nationally recognized* Blue Ash provides a quality place to live, work, and enjoy leisure-time activities.
For more information on the history of Blue Ash, visit the Blue Ash Historical Society's website here.