Cincinnati is a city in and the county seat of Hamilton County, Ohio, United States. Settled in 1788, the city is located on the north bank of the Ohio River at the Ohio–Kentucky border, near Indiana. The population within city limits was 296,943 according to the 2010 census, making it Ohio's third-largest city. According to the 2011 Census Bureau estimate, the Cincinnati metropolitan area had a population of 2,138,038, the 27th most populous Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the United States and largest in Ohio. Residents of Cincinnati are called Cincinnatians.
In the early 19th century, Cincinnati was the first American boomtown in the heart of the country to rival the larger coastal cities in size and wealth. As the first major inland city in the country, it is sometimes thought of as the first purely American city. It developed initially without as much recent European immigration or influence as took place in eastern cities. However, by the end of the 19th century, with the shift from steamboats to railroads, Cincinnati's growth had slowed considerably and the city became surpassed in population and prominence by another inland city, Chicago.
Cincinnati is home to two major sports teams, the Cincinnati Reds and the Cincinnati Bengals, a major tennis tournament, the Cincinnati Masters, and home to large events such as the Flying Pig Marathon, the Ohio Valley Jazz Festival, and the Thanksgiving Day race. The University of Cincinnati traces its foundation to the Medical College of Ohio, which was founded in 1819.
Cincinnati is known for its large collection of historic architecture. Over-the-Rhine, a neighborhood just to the north of Downtown Cincinnati, boasts among the world's largest collections of Italianate architecture, rivaling similar neighborhoods in New York City, Vienna and Munich in size and scope. In the late 1800s, Cincinnati was commonly referred to as 'Paris of America,' mainly due to significant architectural projects, like the Music Hall, the Cincinnatian Hotel, and the Shillito Department Store. Constructed mainly between 1850 and 1900, Over-the-Rhine was the center of life for German immigrants for many years, and is one of the largest historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cincinnati was founded in late December 1788 by Mathias Denman, Colonel Robert Patterson and Israel Ludlow. The original surveyor, John Filson (also the author of The Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boon (siq) Daniel Boone), named it "Losantiville" from four terms, each of different language, before his death in October 1788 (He was replaced by Israel Ludlow) . It means "The city opposite the mouth of the (Licking) River," "ville" is French for "city," "anti" is Greek for "opposite," "os" is Latin for "mouth," and "L" was all that was included of "Licking River".
In 1790, Arthur St. Clair, the governor of the Northwest Territory, changed the name of the settlement to "Cincinnati" in honor of the Society of the Cincinnati, of which he was a member. The Society honored General George Washington, who was considered a latter day Cincinnatus, the Roman farmer who was called to serve Rome as dictator, an office which he resigned after completing his task of defeating the Aequians in no less than 16 days, and was considered the role model dictator. To this day, Cincinnati, in particular, and Ohio, in general, are homes to a statistically significant number of descendants of Revolutionary War soldiers who were granted lands in the state as payment for their war service.
In 1802, Cincinnati was chartered as a village. David Ziegler (1748–1811), a Revolutionary War veteran from Heidelberg, Germany, became the first mayor. Cincinnati was incorporated as a city in 1819. The introduction of steam navigation on the Ohio River in 1811 and the completion of the Miami and Erie Canal helped the city grow to 115,000 residents by 1850.
Construction on the Miami and Erie Canal began on July 21, 1825, when it was called the Miami Canal, related to its origin at the Great Miami River. The canal became operational in 1827. In 1827, the canal connected Cincinnati to nearby Middletown; by 1840, it had reached Toledo. The name was changed to the Miami and Erie Canal, signifying the connection between the Great Miami River and Lake Erie.
During this period of rapid expansion, residents of Cincinnati began referring to the city as the "Queen" city. In his poem "Catawba Wine", Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote that the city was "the Queen of the West".
Cincinnati depended on trade with the slave states south of the Ohio river, at a time when growing numbers of African Americans were settling in the state. This led to tensions between anti-abolitionists and citizens in favor of lifting restrictions on blacks codified in the "Black Code" of 1804. There were riots in 1829, where many blacks lost their homes and property, further riots in 1836 in which an abolitionist press was twice destroyed, and more rioting in 1842.
Railroads were the next major form of transportation to come to Cincinnati. In 1836, the Little Miami Railroad was chartered. Construction began soon after, to connect Cincinnati with the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad, and provide access to the ports of the Sandusky Bay on Lake Erie.
The first sheriff, John Brown, was appointed September 2, 1788. The Ohio Act in 1802 provided for Cincinnati to have a village marshall and James Smith was appointed; the following year the town started a "night watch". In 1819, when Cincinnati was incorporated as a city, the first city marshal, William Ruffin, was appointed. In May 1828, the police force consisted of one captain; one assistant and five patrolmen. By 1850, the city authorized positions for a police chief and six lieutenants, but it was 1853 before the first police chief, Jacob Keifer, was appointed and he was dismissed after 3 weeks.
Cincinnati accompanied its growth by paying men to act as its fire department in 1853, making the first full-time paid fire department in the United States. It was the first in the world to use steam fire engines.
Six years later, in 1859, Cincinnati laid out six streetcar lines, making it easier for people to get around the city. By 1872, Cincinnatians could travel on the streetcars within the city and transfer to rail cars for travel to the hill communities. The Cincinnati Inclined Plane Company began transporting people to the top of Mount Auburn that year.
The Cincinnati Red Stockings, a baseball team whose name and heritage inspired today's Cincinnati Reds, began their career in the 19th century as well. In 1868, meetings were held at the law offices of Tilden, Sherman, and Moulton to make Cincinnati's baseball team a professional one; it became the first regular professional team in the country in 1869. In its first year, the team won 57 games and tied one, giving it the best winning record of any professional baseball team in history.
During the American Civil War, Cincinnati played a key role as a major source of supplies and troops for the Union Army. It also served as the headquarters for much of the war for the Department of the Ohio, which was charged with the defense of the region, as well as directing the army's offensive into Kentucky and Tennessee. Due to Cincinnati's commerce with slave states and history of settlement by southerners from eastern states, many people in the area were "Southern sympathizers". Some participated in the Copperhead movement in Ohio. In July 1863, the Union Army instituted martial law in Cincinnati due to the imminent danger posed by the Confederate Morgan's Raiders. Bringing the war to the North, they attacked several outlying villages, such as Cheviot and Montgomery.
In 1879, Procter & Gamble, one of Cincinnati's major soap manufacturers, began marketing Ivory Soap. It was marketed as "light enough to float." After a fire at the first factory, Procter & Gamble moved to a new factory on the Mill Creek and renewed soap production. The area became known as Ivorydale.
In 1884, one of the most severe riots in American history took place in Cincinnati. On Christmas Eve 1883 Joe Palmer and William Berner robbed and murdered their employer, a stable owner named William Kirk. The duo dumped his body near Mill Creek before they were captured. One of the men, William Berner, was spared the gallows in sentencing after his conviction, but the case had provoked outrage and an angry mob formed. The Courthouse Riots began on March 28 when thousands of citizens stormed the county jail and set the Hamilton County Courthouse on fire while seeking Berner. A small group of Hamilton County deputies, led by Sheriff Morton Lytle Hawkins, fought to save the jail from a complete takeover. After losing ground, they succeeded in protecting the inmates from the mob. Two deputies were killed in the conflict, including Captain John Desmond, whose statue stands in the Courthouse lobby. In total, 45 men were killed and 125 injured in the rioting.
Cincinnati weathered the Great Depression better than most American cities of its size, largely because of a resurgence in river trade, which was less expensive than rail. The rejuvenation of downtown began in the 1920s and continued into the next decade with the construction of Union Terminal, the post office, and a large Bell Telephone building.
The flood of 1937 was one of the worst in the nation's history. Afterward the city built protective flood walls.
After World War II, Cincinnati unveiled a master plan for urban renewal that resulted in modernization of the inner city. Like other older industrial cities, Cincinnati suffered from economic restructuring and loss of jobs following deindustrialization in the mid-century.
In 1970 and 1975, the city completed Riverfront Stadium and Riverfront Coliseum, respectively, as the Cincinnati Reds baseball team emerged as one of the dominant teams of the decade. In fact, the Big Red Machine of 1975 and 1976 is considered by many to be one of the best baseball teams to ever play the game. Three key players on the team (Johnny Bench, Tony Pérez, and Joe Morgan), as well as manager Sparky Anderson, were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, while a fourth, Pete Rose, still holds the title for the most hits (4,256), singles (3,215), games played (3,562), games played in which his team won (1,971), at-bats (14,053) and outs (10,328) in baseball history. On May 28, 1977 165 persons were killed in a fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in nearby Southgate, Kentucky. On December 3, 1979 11 persons were killed in a crowd crush at the entrance of Riverfront Coliseum for a rock concert by the British band The Who.
In 1988, the 200th anniversary of the city's founding, much attention was focused on the city's Year 2000 plan, which involved further revitalization. The completion of several major new development projects enhance the city as it enters the early years of the new millennium. Cincinnati's beloved Bengals and Reds teams both have new, state-of-the-art homes: Paul Brown Stadium, opened in 2000; and the Great American Ball Park, opened in 2003, respectively. Two new museums have opened: the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in 2003, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in 2004.
The City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County are currently developing the Banks - an urban neighborhood along the city's riverfront including restaurants, clubs, offices, and homes with skyline views.
Image Gallery: White Cross Hospital, Nursing College