Sally’s Alley – Sally Bunker Fellerhoff

1983, Sally Bunker Fellerhoff made history by becoming one of the first women elected to Cincinnati City Council. She served alongside Bobbie Sterne and Marian Spencer, giving City Council its largest representation of women up to that point.

Fellerhoff was born as Sarah Ellen Bunker in 1931 to Mary Blanche Maggini and Henry Joseph Bryant Bunker. She was raised in Hyde Park with her 3 siblings and attended Ursuline Academy in Avondale. Fellerhoff continued her education at the Athenaeum of Ohio in Mt Washington and Edgecliff College, now a part of Xavier University.

In 1955, Sally married William Henry Fellerhoff, raising 6 children together at 1596 Bloomingdale Ave in Mount Washington. William was a judge in Cincinnati, and Sally was heavily involved in his campaigns. Following William’s death in 1982 Sally began a political career of her own, soon launching her campaign Cincinnati City Council in the 1983 election. Her campaign headquarters, dubbed “Sally’s Alley,” was located on Bowen St downtown, between 6th Street and 7th Street on a site now occupied by the Aronoff Center.

Fellerhoff narrowly beat out incumbent John Mirlisena for the ninth and final seat. At the eleventh hour, Mirlisena had a 1,200-vote lead in the race, but Fellerhoff’s home neighborhood of Mt. Washington had yet to be counted. When all votes were tallied, it was 38,265 for Mirlisena and 38,327 for Fellerhoff. In a 1987 re-election campaign, she proclaimed: “I won’t shut up about it [winning the election], because I want people to know that their vote counts.” Fellerhoff served as vice-mayor in 1984 under Charles Luken but did not win reelection. She tried her luck in politics again in 1992, running for Hamilton County Treasurer but narrowly losing to Robert Goering by 740 votes.

Aside from politics, Sally involved herself in numerous community organizations. She served as executive director of the Tom Geiger house, a shelter for homeless women and children in Walnut Hills. Fellerhoff also served as the vice president of Citizens Against Substance Abuse , a group she co-founded that advocated against drug use. She was involved in women’s clubs, school boards, and numerous other programs. One opinionated citizen told the Cincinnati Enquirer: “Sally Fellerhoff is the type of person who makes Cincinnati such a great place to live because of the heart she has for the needs of the community and her willingness to volunteer."

Sally Fellerhoff passed away on July 25, 2022, after a long life of leadership and service.

Location

Bowen St and Gano St, approximate location of “Sally’s Alley 1596 Bloomingdale Ave (Home in Mt. Washington)

Metadata

Tyler Hess, Joe Miller, Brenden Pulte, “Sally’s Alley – Sally Bunker Fellerhoff,” Cincinnati Sites and Stories, accessed June 15, 2024, https://stories.cincinnatipreservation.org/items/show/207.