For almost a century (1912-2001), a church with a distinctive green dome stood high on a hill overlooking Cincinnati’s Mill Creek Valley. This distinctive edifice was part of a complex originally known as Our Lady of the Woods — later Convent of the Good Shepherd, and then Girls’ Town of America — that also included school buildings, industrial training facilities, and housing for nuns and resident girls. Each summer from 1945 to 1969, a large festival took place. The festivals provided much-needed funds to maintain the buildings and grounds, as well as making the mysterious property less forbidding to the surrounding community. Girls’ Town remained open until the early 1970s. Over the next 30 years, various proposals for repurposing the land and buildings came to nothing. The property was eventually bought by St. Xavier High School, and most of the structures were demolished in 2001.
As a sabbatical project, librarian/researcher Joan Plungis undertook a study of primary and secondary source materials to construct a history of the site and created an online exhibit of photographs, documents and stories about it. Elements of the exhibit are archived here.