Weekly photo challenge—Light

Church of the Immaculata, Cincinnati, Ohio

The Church of the Immaculata sits high on a hill called Mount Adams in Cincinnati, Ohio and overlooks the Ohio River. On Good Friday pilgrims “pray the steps” leading up the steep hill to the church.

The narrow, steeply sloped streets of Mount Adams are lined with the distinctive narrow homes pressed side to side, so prevalent in the older neighborhoods of Cincinnati. The entertainment district boasts unique shops, bars and restaurants. It is a trendy nightspot.

At the top of the hill sits the Church of the Immaculata, built in 1859 just before the Civil War.  And maybe that is why I once heard the legend that the Immaculata was involved in the Underground Railroad. The story went that if it was safe for the slaves to cross the Ohio River to Cincinnati, a light would shine from the church.

I have not been able to corroborate this legend in my brief search through the internet this morning.

But I can say that Cincinnati has a rich history with the Underground Railroad and now sports the National Freedom Center downtown near the river.  The Harriet Beecher Stowe House is here. The tragic and desperate event that inspired Toni Morrison to write Beloved happened right across the river in Kentucky. Visitors to Cincinnati and southern Ohio can tour sites that were used as stations along the Underground Railroad.

I don’t know whether a light shone from the Immaculata Church signaling safety to escaping slaves. But I do know with or without lights, the slaves crossed the broad and sometimes rapid waters of the Ohio River to the shores of Cincinnati and freedom.


See more posts about Cincinnati.


9 thoughts on “Weekly photo challenge—Light”

  1. My son went to Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. It was the only Quaker School in the South. It was a station of the underground 1830-1860. I think the key city was Philadelphia.

  2. The photo of the church is very cool, and your description of the steep steps leading up to it reminded me of visiting the Sacre Couer in Paris–steps up to a building always make it so appealing! As you know (from my blog) I love historical research, so the Underground Railroad stories fascinate me as well. Nice blog post!

  3. Stunning interpretation of this week’s challenge. Your photo is beautiful.

    I used to live along the Ohio River in southern Ohio (the southern most point, where Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia meet), in a small unincorporated village that was once a stopping point on the Underground Railroad.


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