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Cincinnati (and Vicinity)

The city of Cincinnati lies in the southwest of the US state of Ohio. The seat of Hamilton county, it sits on the northern banks of the Oho River, opposite the suburbs of Covington and Newport in the neighbouring state of Kentucky. The greater Cincinnati area is one of several in the contiguous eastern United States known informally as a Tri-State area, with the State of Indiana just 15 miles west of the city centre. Cincinnati is Ohio’s third largest city, after Columbus and Cleveland. It is the hub of a metropolitan area centred in Ohio and including portions of neighbouring Indiana, and Kentucky and covers some 80 square miles. At the time of writing (January 2018), the population of the metropolitan area is approximately 2.14 million (28th largest in the US), whilst the population of the city itself is only slightly under 300,000 (65th largest in the US).

Above: A view of downtown Cincinnati across the Ohio River from Covington, Kentucky

The photographs on this webpage were taken in August, 2017. Firstly, a walk was taken around the downtown area and subsequently a couple of other main sites near the city were visited, namely St. Anne Convent (located in Melbourne, Kentucky) and The Creation Museum (located in Petersburg, Kentucky); the latter two are featured further down this webpage. On the visit featured here, the city was accessed by car, parking in Covington and walking across the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge which conveniently crosses the Ohio River into the heart of Cincinnati's downtown area. The first impression was of a very large city with a relaxed and small-town feel to the city centre.

Above: Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati. Founded in 1871, the square was renovated in 1971 and 2005. Around the square may be found a variety of shops, restaurants, hotels and office buildings.

Downtown Cincinnati is picturesquely located between the Little Miami and Great Miami rivers, where they flow into the Ohio River. Surrounding hills rise roughly 500 feet above the riverbank. A brief history of the city follows:
Shawnee peoples are known to have lives in the area in pre-Columbus times. The first European settlement here was known as Columbia. It was founded in 1788 by Benjamin Stites of Pennsylvania near the mouth of the Little Miami. Other settlements founded nearby next included one called Losantiville, followed by North Bend. In 1789, Fort Washington was built near Losantiville. In 1780, General Arthur St. Clair (governor of the Northwest Territory) renamed the settlement to honour the Revolutionary War officers’ Society of the Cincinnati. After General Anthony Wayne’s victory at Fallen Timbers in 1794, the threat of attacks from native Indians was much reduced and this helped enable Cincinnati to grow and develop itself as a river port. in 1811, the first steamboat west of the Allegheny Mountains (the 'New Orleans') arrived here on its downriver voyage from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1829, Construction of the Miami and Erie Canal to Dayton was completed and by 1843, the railways had arrived. Industry and steamboat building were very much in full flow, with river commerce reaching its peak in 1852. Whilst remaining unimpressed with many other places in the United States (e.g. Cairo, Illinois - see Here), Charles Dickens visited the area in 1842, noting "Cincinnati is a beautiful city; cheerful, thriving, and animated. I have not seen a place that commends itself so favourably and pleasantly to a stranger at the first glance as this does.". Prior to the American Civil War (1861-65), Cincinnati grew at a fast rate, in the main due to an influx of German and Irish immigrants. The city had close ties with the South and although many here were sympathisers of the Confederate South, during the Civil War, the city remained loyal to the Union. Cincinnati was the home of such prominent abolitionists as Henry Ward Beecher and Levi Coffin and its citizens rallied to Cincinnati's defence, when it came under threat in 1862 by Confederates. During the course of and after the Civil War, the city's economy was strong as trade grew with both the north and to the south. With a steadily growing population, many civic and cultural institutions were founded. In 1937, low-lying areas of the city were devastated by flooding. However, the threat of flooding has been reduced since then by the incorporation of control measures. From the late 20th century, the downtown area has been revitalised through various projects concerned with historic preservation and restoration, as well as the construction of new civic and commercial properties.

Today, Cincinnati's economy is driven by a wide range of services, trade and manufacturing industries. It remains a major transportation hub on not only the river, but also via the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Educational institutions in the city include the University of Cincinnati (dating from 1819), the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College and the Union Institute and University, whilst the city also is noted for a number of religious institutions as well. Cultural institutions here include the Cincinnati Opera (founded 1920), a symphony orchestra and ballet and theatre ensembles. The city boasts a wide range of museums including the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum of Art and the Cincinnati Museum Center, which includes museums of history and of natural history and science and a children’s museum.

Above: The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge (Composite Image)

Sights for the visitor include the 1,057 foot long John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge (1856–67, designed by Roebling and linking Cincinnati and Covington and the second bridge across the Ohio), the birthplace of President William Howard Taft (at Mount Auburn), the Harriet Beecher Stowe House (1833), and the Tyler-Davidson Fountain (1871) by the sculptor August von Kreling. The latter forms the centrepiece of the city's central Fountain Square. Also of note are The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, The Great American Ball Park, (home of the Cincinnati Reds, the country’s oldest professional baseball team), the Paul Brown Stadium (home of the Bengals gridiron football team), the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (which offers exhibits and educational programmes), and renovated sternwheelers (a type of paddle wheel steamer) can also be seen, across the river at Covington. Photographs from the walk around Cincinnati's downtown area are shown in the thumbnail gallery below (parking in Covington and walking across the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge). Click on an image to expand:

St. Anne Convent

The relatively unheard of St. Anne Convent is located in Melbourne, Kentucky, some 10 miles southeast of downtown Cincinnati. It is the home of the American Province of the Congregation of Divine Providence, a community of Roman Catholic Sisters. The convent was constructed in 1919 to replace two houses in Newport. The actual purpose of visiting here was to see the driveway and exterior of the convent because of it being iconically used in the 1988 movie Rain Man. The convent served as the backdrop of the fictitious Wallbrook mental institution in the film, which won four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Starring Tom Cruise as Charlie, the brother of Hoffman's character (Raymond Babbitt), the scene showing Cruise and Hoffman's characters walking up the driveway to the convent is captured on the film poster, as well as the Video Cassette/DVD's for the film and cover of the original motion picture soundtrack. Since the filming, the trees lining the driveway have been cut down and replanted. Several other scenes in Rain Man were filmed in the Greater Cincinnati area. One of them shows Cruise driving Hoffman over the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge (see further up this webpage). For further information on the St Anne Convent, click Here and for further information of film locations used in Rain Man, click Here (external webpages). Some photos taken from outside the St Anne Convent are shown below:


The Creation Museum

The Creation Museum located in Petersburg, Kentucky, lies approximately 25 miles west of downtown Cincinnati. As mentioned on the homepage, it is not the purpose of this website to promote any beliefs and the visit here was simply to take a look around and find out what this popular attraction is all about. The impressively laid out museum (and gardens) is operated by the Christian creation apologetics organization Answers in Genesis (AiG). Inside, a dazzling array of exhibits (including animatronic figures and a mock-up Noah's Ark being constructed) promote a pseudoscientific, Young Earth creationist (YEC) explanation of the origin of the Universe. The explanations here are based on a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament in the Bible. The museum cost US$27 million to build and covers some 75,000-square-feet. Inside, it is possible to see displays showing creationist beliefs, which include humans and dinosaurs coexisting, the Earth coming into existence approximately 6,000 years ago and arguments against the theory of Evolution. Naturally, the museum has come under criticism from various people. However, believer or non-believer, it is certainly worth taking a look, if nothing for the experience. Without interjecting any views whatsoever, the only one criticism by the author of this webpage was an apparent contradiction in the displays, where one moment it was explained that the dinosaurs were wiped out by the great flood and then later on, a model is depicting Noah taking some of them on board his Ark. Just Saying. For further information on The Creation Museum, click on the link Here (external link). Photos from the visit are shown here on the basis that this webpage is non-commercial and they may be seen in the extensive thumbnail gallery below (click on an image to expand):

The greater Cincinnati area has much to offer the visitor and this webpage is far from comprehensive. Another couple of sites/attractions in the area include the birthplace of President Ulysses S. Grant at Point Pleasant, about 20 miles southeast and the popular Kings Island Amusement Park, about 24 miles northeast of the downtown area.

References and Further Reading

As well as the links contained within the text above, the following were either referred to or may be of interest to the reader:

1. In-Situ Literature and Information Boards
2. Campbell, J. (2008). Lonely Planet USA. Footscray, Vic.: Lonely Planet.
3. Dickens, C. (2009). American Notes for General Circulation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
4. Edwards, N. (n.d.). The rough guide to the USA.
5. Finch, J., Holligan, A., Spaull, J., Wilson, P., Arun, P. and Trivedi, G. (2015). USA. London [etc.]: Dorling Kindersley. Lonely Planet
6. Cincinnati on Wikipedia Here

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