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“Little Chicago” was an apt nickname for Hamilton in the mid-1930s

HAMILTON — Ryan Hall didn’t know much about Hamilton back in the mid-30s.

At that time the 95-year-old Berkeley Square resident was a student at DePauw University near Indianapolis, which used to have the nickname, “Naptown,” because “there was never anything going on,” Hall said.

If he had known more about Hamilton’s reputation as “Little Chicago,” Hall said he might have reconsidered the trip he took to the city with his fraternity brothers.

“I was sent over to cover a football game in Oxford. Some of the boys brought me down to the Second Ward,” Hall said. “I didn’t see much of the game. We went to one or two of the clubs. That was the only time I was there when it was seething.”

An apt word to describe the gambling, boozing and prostitution which characterized the Second Ward in those days.

By the time Hall moved to Hamilton with his wife in 1941, outside influences were waning and things had quieted down a bit.

Hall said he went to work as a lobbyist for the trucking industry and while the killings, kidnappings, bank robberies and bootlegging may have slowed considerably, flagrant political graft was still a reality.

“Lets put it this way,” he said. “When you are a lobbyist, you learn what the political game is about and how to get around it and get what you want.”

Contact this reporter at (513) 820-2122 or rwilson@coxohio.com.