For almost a century (1912-2001), a church with a distinctive green dome could be seen 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.
When originally established by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in the 1870s, the Girls’ Town property was isolated, surrounded by farmland and forests. Over time, farms gave way to single-family homes; by the mid-20th century, the community on the hill adjoined booming residential developments populated by families of General Electric and Procter & Gamble employees, as well as the rapidly expanding St. Xavier High School. Girls’ Town was a prominent feature of the landscape, yet to most residents living nearby its purpose and activities were a mystery.
Girls’ Town remained open until the early 1970s. Over the next 30 years, various proposals were explored for re-purposing the land and buildings, but they came to nothing. The property was eventually bought by St. Xavier High School, and most of the structures were demolished in 2001.