When Beefy photographs my outfits before or after work, we often use nearby Eden Park as the setting. At 186 acres, the park offers a variety of photo locations. And it’s only minutes from downtown. In fact, it is so close to my office that I’ve spent many lunch hours walking through the park and historic Mt Adams. All those lunchtime walks paid off; I know every great picture spot in the park. Thanks to Cincinnati Parks and Parkways by Nancy A Recchie and Jeffrey T Darbee, I also know what those locations looked like long before I began using them as a backdrop.
The Bridge to Nowhere
Eden Park still contains large Mirror Lake, but that was once part of much larger, 12 acre, 96 million gallon reservoir.
Today, all that remains of the reservoir is the much smaller (and shallower) Mirror Lake, centered in the upper half of the former reservoir. What I call “the bridge to nowhere” is actually the remainder of the stone wall that once held back the water. It’s popular with rock climbers and (so I hear) other photographers. It always boggles my mind that the field that now hosts kite-flying, Frisbee-throwing, and dog-running, used to be under water.
I’m glad part of the wall was left intact. It’s a gorgeous reminder of the park’s history. And, it’s a dramatic spot for outfit photos.
Mirror Lake may be less impressive than the original reservoir, but it’s still a showpiece. The paved, 1/3-mile trail is popular with walkers and joggers and pets. The day we took this picture, a woman was walking her ferret around the large pond. It ran along the raised rim, untethered, while she walked behind. I wondered who was walking whom.
In the summer, a fountain runs in the middle of the lake. In the winter, the shallow lake freezes and it’s used for skating and ice hockey. No matter the season, Beefy and I should use it for photos more often!
We end up at Twin Lakes more for the view of the Ohio River and Kentucky hills than the lakes, themselves. That seems to be the case with most of the area’s visitors. The overlook is lined with benches and they are usually full on a sunny day.
This little corner of Eden Park sees a lot of traffic. It is just up the hill from Krohn Conservatory and serves as overflow parking. Victory Parkway, a busy road, borders one edge of the Twin Lakes area. And there are always plenty of runners, picnickers, and daydreamers in the park. When we take photos here, I have to be prepared for an audience.
Spring House Gazebo
This pretty little gazebo is over 100 years old and caps a spring with supposed medicinal qualities. The building is in fabulous condition. It is one of the landmarks I look forward to as I run through the park.
Beefy first took my photo here to document my return to red hair. We came back a year later to photograph my hair, again. I guess we’ll keep it up, returning each May 19th (or so). Some people get married in the gazebo. Some people take frivolous photos of their hair and outfit in the space.
I was confused, when leafing through Cincinnati Parks and Parkways to find photos of a bandstand where I knew Seasongood Pavilion to be. The landscape between the Cincinnati Art Museum and Mirror Lake forms a natural amphitheater. It held an ornate bandstand until 1960.
The bandstand was replaced with the much larger, but not as lovely, Seasongood Pavilion. Aesthetics aside, I do appreciate the great cover provided by the pavilion. It’s become my new “go-to” location for rainy day pictures. It’s dry and open to natural light.
I will admit that the walk to the pavilion can be a bit perilous, especially after the Osage Oranges have dropped their fruits (see picture at left) on the steeply sloped sidewalk. It’s like trying to skate downhill, in heels, on slimy brains.
Hinkle Magnolia Garden
For about 5 days each spring, this section of Eden Park is absolute heaven. There are at least half a dozen species of magnolia planted here. If you visit at just the right time, all the blossoms are in some state of bloom – either overblown or just beginning to unfurl. I’ve never caught it on film.
The other attraction of the garden is the Hinkle Tinkle. Actually, it’s called the Bettman Fountain, but the water makes a metallic, tinkling noise as it falls. Beefy once took my picture here.
I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to climb on this fountain. Especially in heels.
Someday, we are going to catch the magnolias at that magic time. But the fountain is an acceptable consolation prize.
The magnolia buds are already well developed in December. I can’t wait for the spring show!
I’ve enjoyed Eden Park as a walker, runner, and naturalist for years. Recently, I’ve also come to appreciate it for the photographic opportunities. Since learning a little of its history, I’m even more enamored with the park. If you see a dreamy, far-away look in my eyes as I pose here, you can bet I’m thinking about how the park used to be and what it might be like in the future.*
*Not to spoil the nostalgic mood or anything, but I’ve developed an elaborate fantasy of fencing off the entire hill, including the park, to create a little safe haven in case of a zombie apocalypse.
All black and white photos scanned from Cincinnati Parks and Parkways, Nancy A. Recchie and Jeffrey T. Darbee, 2010.
Color photographs were taken by me or Beefy Muchacho