History of Cincinnati 101


Welcome Cincinnati Moms (new to Cincinnati moms, soon to be Cincinnati moms, and “I have lived here for forever and ask people what high school they went to” Cincinnati Moms) to a quick history 411 on this great city that we live in!

Our city is truly a gem when it comes to history; with lots of an amazing events, facts, and people; there is no way to fit it all into one short history lesson.

historySo let’s start with the basics:

  • Cincinnati came to be “Cincinnati” in 1802, first as a small village but it grew steadily with the easy port access of the Ohio River and later the Erie Canal (the Little and Great Miami Rivers as well as the Licking River in Kentucky also contributed to the booming early growth).
    • But did you know…. That before Cincinnati was, well, Cincinnati, the area we know it to be, was called “Losantiville!” It was renamed by Arthur St. Clair in honor of the Society of Cincinnati which was a group developed during the Revolutionary War to assist military soldiers acclimating back into civilian life similar to the military leader Cincinnatus of the Roman Empire.
  • Cincinnati has many nicknames, such as “The Queen City,” “The City of Seven Hills,” “The Queen of the West,” and “Porkopolis.” Yep that last one is for real. Cincinnati was once the world’s largest pork processing and packing city. Hence, the ode to the “flying pig” that the city continues to salute.
    • But did you know….This is where Procter and Gamble got its start utilizing “by-products” of the pork industry to make it’s soaps and candles!
  • Cincinnati played a pivotal role in the Civil War. Not only did the water way systems assist with the war efforts and transport of Union troops, but Cincinnati and the Ohio River were main-stays to the Under Ground Railroad, freeing slaves to the northern states. Cincinnati was chosen to be the home of the Underground Railroad Freedom Center in 2002 because of this.
    • But did you know… Levi Coffin known as the “President of the Underground Railroad” was from Cincinnati and is buried in Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery.

Other Facts:

  • Cincinnati is home to the nation’s first Jewish Hospital, founded in 1850.
  • Cincinnati established the first municipal Fire Department in 1853.
  • And it is home to the first organized professional baseball team, then known as the Cincinnati Red Stockings, founded in 1867.
  • Presidents Ulysses Grant (18th), George Hayes (19th), Benjamin Harrison (23rd), William Howard Taft (27th) all had roots in the “Queen City.”
  • Mt. Adams, formally Mt. Ida, was renamed to commemorate a visit that President John Quincy Adams made to the area when he dedicated the Observatory in 1843.
  • “Over-the Rhine” now again enjoying much of the rave of its early days got its title from the nickname of the Erie and Miami Canals joining referred to as “The Rhine.” Many of the German immigrants found settlement on the other side of this area commonly calling it “Over-the Rhine.”
    • But did you know… that in 1880 Cincinnati was referred to as the Beer Capital of the World and the center of this was undoubtedly the Over-the Rhine area. With its 63% German population at the time, this is not at all surprising.
  • Cincinnati remained active in the brewing industry and was not slowed during the prohibition era. Many, Cincinnati distilleries took their business underground to continue bootlegging their booze. Today Cincinnati is still a booming city for local micro-brews and distilleries. You can even take tours and go underground to see the architecture of the brew-houses during the prohibition era!

Wow, mom’s did you know all that! Trust me that is just the “tip of the Iceberg” of the deep history that Cincinnati has. The good news is there is so much to do where you (and your kiddos) can learn more about out great city.

Here are a few great places to start:

  • Cincinnati Museum Center
  • Underground Railroad Freedom Center
  • Cincinnati Brewery Tours (for mom’s only)
  • Queen City Underground Tours
  • The Betts House
  • The Harriet Beecher Stowe House

Sources of Information: Wikipedia, wcpo.com, Ohio History Central


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