Mariemont was envisioned by its founder, Mary Muhlenbery Emery, as a “National Exemplar” in practical town planning. Mrs. Emery was convinced, far ahead of her time, that congestion and poor housing were due primarily to bad city planning, and that this problem could not be corrected easily without rebuilding an entire neighborhood. It could be changed, she felt, by constructing a community and its housing according to principles of town planning.
Mariemont, pronounced “Mary-mont” not “Marie-mont” was named for Mrs. Emery’s summer home in Rhode Island, which was named for a town in England, thus the English pronunciation. The town was to illustrate the best architectural, engineering, and environmental concerns possible for this type of development. Mariemont was to be a model “English garden” community and a self-sufficient town where good planning would prevent common big-city problems.
Today Mariemont thrives in its eye-catching, harmonious, and mostly English-Tudor style architecture. Tree-canopied streets with wide, grassy medians sets Mariemont apart from other areas around Cincinnati. The village has a reputation of being charming and quaint with its scattering of mini-parks. Mariemont also prides itself on having the nation’s only elected town crier, who dresses in colonial costume to call villagers to the non-partisan town meetings.
Acquisition of the property located about ten miles east of downtown Cincinnati and on a plateau above the Little Miami River began in 1913. The first spadeful of Earth for Mariemont was turned by Mrs. Emery on April 23, 1923. Twenty-five of the country’s leading architects were employed to work with the plan developed by John Nolen, the eminent town-planner hired by the Mariemont Company to design and build this community on the 420 acres of gently rolling farm land anciently inhabited by Indians. The first building was completed in 1924-25. There is only one church in Mariemont, per Mrs. Emery’s design, the interdenominational Mariemont Community Church.