St. Bernard has a long and distinguished history. Originally part of Mill Creek Township, the area was first settled by John Ludlow in 1793. Calling his tract of land Ludlow Grove, he built a home and mills along the Mill Creek. In 1850, John Bernard Schroeder purchased and auctioned ninety lots along Carthage Pike (Vine Street) and named the area St. Bernard. By 1878, the area boasted 300 residents and officially became the Village of St. Bernard. Starting in the late 19th century developers including Henry Nurre began creating subdivisions. In 1912, St. Bernard incorporated as a city with more than 5,000 residents calling the community their home.
A prime location in the Mill Creek Valley and close proximity to Cincinnati allowed St. Bernard to grow rapidly. The Miami and Erie Canal connected St. Bernard with a national commercial and transportation network in 1827. The railroad followed a couple of decades later. Andrew Erkenbrecker Starch Works and Procter and Gamble’s Ivory Soap, along with other manufacturers, put St. Bernard on the map as an industrial power. As good paying jobs multiplied, residential growth boomed. With growth came stores, theaters, social clubs, churches, schools and a public library. Connected to the City of Cincinnati through commerce, it still remained independent, even providing its own power and water supply as well as police and fire protection.
Despite numerous challenges in the 20th century, including urban renewal projects, Interstate 75 construction, population loss and the shifting tides of industry, St. Bernard remains a proud and strong independent community to this day. In recognition of the rich history of St. Bernard, Ohio, we invite you to view this gallery of images as we dedicate the new St. Bernard Branch Library.