A restored widow’s walk crowns the Hunt House. It is commonly believed that women along the East Coast would climb to the widow’s walk, hopefully and prayerfully scanning the horizon for their husbands’ ships. There was joy when the vessel was sighted and mourning when the vessel failed to return to shore.
Actually, the widow’s walk had a more critical purpose. The railed platform was built around the chimney, allowing access to the chimney from the interior of the house. A bucket next to the hearth was filled with sand or water, ever ready to extinguish flames, either at the hearth or down through the chimney. The photo on this pageshows the chimneys outside of, but within reach, of the widow’s walk.
According to Beverly Mussari, Blue Ash historian, the widow’s walk was also a retreat for widow’s to grieve as that was done in private.
Betty Hunt Bell’s cousin, Harry Hunt, remembered climbing to the widow’s walk to enjoy the Fourth of July fireworks being set off from what is now the Cincinnati Zoo.
It has also been noted that one might ascend to the widow’s walk in order to watch for the mail carrier.
A widow’s walk is considered part of Italianate architecture.