Home » Ohio » Mariemont

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.



Basic Information

Type of Place
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Don’t Know
Unions, Organized Labor?
Don’t Know

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Yes, Written Evidence
Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Probably Not, Although Still Very Few Black People

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1960 4120 4
1970 4540 66
1990 3104 1
2000 3408 34 8 27
2010 3403 55 7 43

Method of Exclusion

  • Zoning
  • Realtors

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black
  • Jewish


Mariemont was a planned white community within Cincinnati, recently (c.1999) integrated. It was anti-Catholic at its inception.
According to Witold Rybczynski, [City Life (NY: Harper Collins, 1995), 188-89], Mariemont was the U.S.’s first planned garden suburb, built by Mary Emery, starting 1914. “Emery intended Mariemont to be an affordable community, and it included a variety of lot sizes, as well as low-rise apartment buildings.” Note that Rybczynski never mentions that it was all-white!

Another eyewitness confirms Mariemont was sundown: “But tons of suburbs banned blacks and Asians including, e.g., Mariemont, Ohio, a Cincinnati suburb.”

According to the town’s web site: In 1910 Mary Emery started planning Mariemont. She acquired the land quietly. To have “its own shopping center, bank, restaurant, and grocery stores. In addition, Mrs. Emery was determined that ‘people of moderate means’ be given the chance of a better place in which to live…” In 1941 Cincinnati tried to annex Mariemont, but the residents rejected this and incorporated instead.

From another web site (www.mariemontschools.org/preservationfd/Mariemont%20Women/mary_emery.htm) : “Mary Hopkins married Thomas J. Emery in 1866. His father got rich in candle mfg, real estate, housing…Inheriting a vast fortune,” in c.1906, she endowed colleges, orphanages, etc…Ground breaking for Mariemont 4/23/1923.”

Mary Emery was a millionairess. Wires were run underground. Emery insisted on class integration. She and husband developed apartment houses in Cincinnati. Husband Thomas j. Emery Jr. died 1906, age 75. There were other garden cities before Mariemont: Bellerica, MA, Marcus Hook, DE, and Forest Hills, Long Island. She was old and in delicate health and did not take part in the details. 420 acres. Westover, industrial park, 1928. Tells about the Mariemont Rifle Club, the Boy Scouts, but nothing about anti-Catholics or anti-black sentiment. Also mentions monuments, historical marker, but nothing about a possible white-only plaque. Became a village, 1941.
[notes from: G. Carlton Hill Jr., “A Dream Come True,” A Brief History of Mariemont (Cincinnati: Mariemont, 2000)]

John Nolen, internationally famed town planner, was selected for Mariemont. Roof stone for the church came from England. Tells about monuments. Mary Emery died in 1927.
[notes from: Warren Wright Parks, The Mariemont Story (Cincinati: Creative Writers, 1967)]

“Lots ‘may be assigned to anyone acceptable, like yourself, to the company,’ a special promotion brochure stated, and future sales by owners required this same approval. Both rentals and land purchases were prhibited at that time to non-Caucasions in the working in deeds and land contracts. Persons of African and Asian heritage were specifically excluded in these documents. Such prohibitions were common in Cin. and other cities in the 1920s, where segregated schools, housing, and entertainment centers prevailed. It is ironic that these prohibitions by the Mariemont Compoany were instituted, for their tenor was contrary to Thomas J. Emery’s commpassionate interest and long record, as well as Mary Emery’s, in support of African-American causes…”
[from: Millard Rogers, Jr., John Nolen and Mariemont (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2001)]

Cincinnati does have some stable interracial neighborhoods: N. Avondale, formerly Jewish. Paddock Hills also.

Mariemont’s historical marker (1986):
“Mariemont / Ground was broken for Mariemont by Mary M. Emery, the village’s founder, on April 25, 1923. This planned community was designed by eminent town planner John Nolen and twenty five of America’s leading architects. As part of the ‘garden city movement,’ Mariemont was influenced by English models. Mariemont was incorporated July 12, 1941…”

According to an eyewitness, she saw a plaque c. 1965-69, saying no Negroes, maybe also no Jews, no dogs. The adjoining neighborhood, Madisonville, has lots of blacks, is majority black. Madison Place seems to be another tiny town between Mariemont and Cincinnati.