Cincinnati, with a population of over 280,000, is the cultural and industrial hub for southwestern Ohio, and is the state’s third largest city.
Founded in 1788 by John Cleves Symmes and Colonel Robert Patterson(1), the settlement was referred to as Losantiville. The name was derived from four terms, each in a different language that meant, “the city opposite the mouth of the Licking River.”(1) “L” represented the Licking River, while “os” was Latin for mouth, “anti” was Greek for opposite, and “ville” was French for city. Arthur St. Clair renamed the community “Cincinnati” in 1790 in honor of the Society of Cincinnati.
In 1811, steam navigation along the Ohio River resulted in an increase in industry and population in the community. In 1819, the Cincinnati was incorporated as a city, and soon after, the Miami and Erie Canal was completed through the new city.(1)
The rapid growth of the city led to observers nicknaming Cincinnati as the “Queen City of the West” by the mid-1820s.(6) Boosters predicted “that within one hundred years from this time, Cincinnati will the greatest city in America; and by the year of our Lord two thousand, the greatest city in the world.” Between 1830 and 1850, the city was referenced as a boom town, growing faster than any other American city. The Queen City also became the nation’s second largest industrial center, feeding off of the power of the Ohio River and the associated navigable canals and waterways.
One of its primary industries was pork packing, growing at a substantial pace due to Cincinnati’s prominence in the rich agricultural belt surrounding the city. The city was one of the many localized hubs for the slaughter and packing of hogs.(6) Each fall, farmers from Ohio and Indiana would transport hogs to the city via canal boats, where they would be slaughtered and packed during the winter months due to a lack of artificial refrigeration. By 1835, Cincinnati overtook Cook and Belfast in Ireland as the largest slaughtering and processing center. By then, the Queen City was often referred to as “Porkopolis,” and many believed that meat packing was the dominant industry, but in reality, it accounted for only 15% of total value of goods produced within the city.
Industries involving the forging of iron and metal products were almost as equally important, and by the mid-1800s, the city boasted 44 foundries.(6) Nearly a third were involved in the construction of stoves, but several churned out steamboat engines. By 1841, Cincinnati was second only to Pittsburgh as a steamboat manufacturing and repair center.
The population of the city grew to over 100,000 citizens by 1850.(1) The growth slowed by mid-century, Cincinnati strangled by the very transportation system is relied so heavily upon. It’s network of intricate canals and its over-reliance on the Ohio led to a stagnation that was only resolved with the construction and integration of railroads.(6)
Today, the city is home to the University of Cincinnati, one of the largest public research universities in the United States. It’s enrollment is over 35,000 and the university is the largest employer in the city.(0) Cincinnati is also home to Xavier University, a private, Jesuit institution, whose Masters of Business Administration program is top ranked by the U.S. News and World Report.(5)
Within Cincinnati, there are ten Fortune 500 companies (2) that range from Proctor and Gamble to Kroger’s to Macy’s.(3) An active arts and cultural scene presents itself with venues such as new Underground Freedom Museum, the renowned Cincinnati Art Gallery and the Aronoff Center for The Arts. For unique cuisine and fresh meats and vegetables, Findlay Market, Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market, is located just blocks from downtown in Over-the-Rhine.
For entertainment, nothing is better than heading to Fountain Square, centrally located at 5th and Vine streets. Recently redesigned, the large public space boasts new lighting and landscaping, several stages and a water wall, along with the historic Tyler Davidson Fountain that was dedicated in 1871 to the citizens of Cincinnati. Cincinnati also boasts the second oldest opera company, Cincinnati Opera, that was founded in 1920.(4) It is also host to the fifth oldest symphony and a Tony-award winning theatre company.
- “How Cincinnati Became A City.” Cincinnati Recreation Commission. City of Cincinnati. 20 Aug. 2008 Article.
- Ullery, Vicki. “Greater Cincinnati Welcome.” Travelhost 2008. 21 Aug. 2008 Article.
- “Fortune 500 2008: States – Ohio.” Fortune Magazine. 2008. 21 Aug. 2008 Article.
- “About Cincinnati Opera.”Cincinnat Opera. 2007. 21 Aug. 2008 Article.
- “Williams College of Business.” Xavier University. 2008. 21 Aug. 2008 Site.
- Hurley, Daniel. “Oh Visions and Dreams.” Cincinnati: The Queen City. Illus. Michael Isaacs and Eberhard + Eberhard. Ed. Gale E. Peterson, et al. Cincinnati: Cincinnati Historical Society, 1982. 33-73. Print.
Avondale is home to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. With a population of nearly 19,000 residents, it is the city's fourth largest neighborhood - and also one of the most impoverished.
Camp Washington is a residential and light industrial neighborhood and is generally located west of Clifton, east of Fairmont and north of Queensgate centered around Colrain Avenue.
Columbia Tusculum is the oldest neighborhood in the city, founded in 1788 along the Little Miami River. The neighborhood is known for its vibrant Victorian-era residences, eccentric and upscale restaurants, and boutiques.
Downtown is the central business district for the city and is arranged within a grid pattern bisected by Vine Street. In the center is Fountain Square and is home to the infamous Tyler Davidson Fountain that was dedicated in 1871. The neighborhood is home to numerous historic districts, including East Fourth Street, Lytle Park, Main and Third Street, Ninth Street and Race Street. It is headquarters to Kroger, Macy's, The E.W. Scripps Company, Fifth Third Bank and Proctor & Gamble.
Evanson is a neighborhood bounded by East Walnut Hills, Hyde Park, North Avondale and the city of Norwood. It is centered around two business districts along Madison Road at Torrence Parkway and a smaller and more dilipatated district along Montgomery Road at Dana.
Located east of downtown Mt. Adams has been located for over 200 years atop a large hill that offers panoramic vistas to the west and south. It is home to 1,300 residents, with many of the residences constructed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and boasts a growing collection of boutique shops, art galleries, entertainment venues and fine dining establishments. It is also adjacent to Eden Park, which is home to the Cincinnati Art Museum, Playhouse in the Park and the infamous Krohn Conservatory, which grows 5,000 exotic species.
North Avondale is one of Cincinnati‘s hidden gems. Containing some of the largest residences in the city, this hilly neighborhood features large, stately single family homes with distinct architectural appearances, looming flora and winding streets. It is also one of the most overlooked enclaves. Often compared to Hyde Park in terms of grandeur, comparable houses command lower prices. The neighborhood enjoys a low crime rate and is racially integrated, but it has no central business district and is generally not within walking distance of any major retail.
Northside is considered one of the city’s more eclectic yet traditional neighborhoods, home to a growing business district and numerous entertainment venues backed by young and hip bars and taverns.
Cincinnati contains more buildings than any other city in the state of Ohio that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is most evident in Over-the-Rhine, located six blocks north of Fountain Square. The 360-acre neighborhood boasts the largest collection of 19th century Italianate structures in the United States, along with a significant collection of Greek Revival and Renaissance Revival styles.
Price Hill is located on the western front of the city, and did not begin to develop in the hillier terrain to the west until the later 19th century, and even then, the development was scattered and consisted mainly of large lot residences and farms. It was far enough removed from the crowded basin of the city that it provided an escape for much of the wealthy. Price Hill later developed into thriving middle-class neighborhood.