Saturday, August 14, 2004

Blue Ash neighbors sharing history

Reunion today to swap tales in Hazelwood

By Perry Schaible
Enquirer contributor

Chris Giles can remember the day her father moved her family from the West End to Hazelwood, a historic Blue Ash community, in 1947.

The home she helped build still stands.

Giles will share her memories at the annual Hazelwood Reunion, sponsored by the Hazelwood Community Association, today.

"We've been here a long time," Giles said. "We've seen a lot of change."

The reunion starts at noon in Oakwood Park, at Oak and Idalia avenues, and is open to anyone who has lived in, had friends in or knows anything about Hazelwood.

"It's just a lot of folks standing around talking," said resident Curtis Battle, who has been involved with the yearly event for about seven years. "Every year somebody you haven't seen for along time (comes)."

Hazelwood, a predominantly black neighborhood, has a rich history. Founded in 1888, it was annexed by Blue Ash in 1959. The reunions started about 10 years ago.

Now such residents as Battle and Giles want to chronicle that history through a legacy project. Volunteers have taped interviews with about 30 former and current residents and hope to publish their stories in a book and on a Web site.

An exhibit on the project will be on display at the reunion.

Residents should bring lawn chairs, food and drinks, and photos to share. Music will be played, and there will be demonstrations by the police and fire departments.

For information about the legacy project or to be interviewed, call Giles at 489-8211.

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