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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 2:43 AM
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Cincinnati - Covington | The Real America

A few months ago I moved to Columbus Ohio for work from Portland. Now that unexpectedly find myself in Ohio, a state that I had never been to before, I've been trying to explore all the majors cities within a short drive.

I've read a lot about Cincinnati on this forum and have been been amazed by how densely built out the city was in the past with it's ornate historic architecture and unfinished subway tunnels running downtown.

I wanted to see it myself so on a nice weekend I decided to check it out. I was impressed by the revitalization efforts in Over the Rhine, which was stunning. The food scene seemed more innovative than Columbus and I had a very great meals while I was in town. 3CDC is doing a lot in terms of revitalizing the city and I hope they can keep the momentum going because even though they lost of great buildings, what they have really packs a punch in terms of quality.

The city has a long way to go with a very obvious homeless / drug abuse problem and lingering urban decay with a lot of sketchy looking people standing around. The vibe felt dated and somehow stuck in the 90's. I wish the city were growing faster so that more development could take place to fill in the gaps and more importantly bring in new people and new perspectives.

There is an incredible amount of potential in the city and it could be one of the best cities in the country if they could solve their problems. What was most surprising is that for Columbus not being far from Cincinnati and within the same state the culture and built environment couldn't be more different. Columbus feels more progressive and open minded than Cincinnati and there is a lot more growth happening in Columbus.

What struck me is that across the river in Covington, Kentucky the historic fabric seemed more untouched with less urban renewal disasters and freeways cutting through the historic neighborhoods. If Cincinnati was spared all the demolition it would surely be up there with San Francisco and New York in terms of urbanism. The Cincinnati area is definitely worth a visit and exploring all the urban neighborhoods and architecture. Not many big metros have such a beautiful old housing stock and a picturesque setting.

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Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Covington, Kentucky

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

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Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr


Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

CINCINNATI
Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Cincinnati by Philip Bradford, on Flickr

Hope you all enjoyed the pics. I'll be doing a Pittsburgh and Columbus thread shortly.
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 2:53 AM
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Very nice!!!

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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 3:02 AM
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Absolutely succulent urbanity! Good job!!
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 6:50 AM
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What a nice crisp day to document so many historic blocks! There sure are a lot of power lines suspended along many of them!
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 2:47 PM
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Holy Sh*t! Can't wait to get back to cincy.
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 3:04 PM
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I approve of this... Cincinnati... of which you speak.
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 3:24 PM
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This is fantastic.
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 3:28 PM
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nice one, cincinnati, and especially northern kentucky are stupid underappreciated on the urbanity front. people (from other regions of the midwest...) just kind of look at you like you are stupid when you tell them that northern kentucky across from cincinnati may be the most under rated collection of urban neighborhoods in the midwest (yes i said midwest). hear hear for river cities!
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 3:31 PM
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my avatar is from this church property in covington...just outside the front door to the right.
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 3:32 PM
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Johnny Fever and Loni Anderson made this thread 10x better but Cinncy and Covington have such great urban fabric and I always enjoy visiting. Easily one of my more favorite cities in the country. SO much character and this thread captures it.

My ex/gf brought her (legit) PTSD dog with us into this rather nice Italian joint in Covington and they served him dinner on a china plate. Classy joint...
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 3:37 PM
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 5:37 PM
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Ok wow...I'm blown away by the architecture there. I'm surprised it was that ornate given it's the midwest; Chicago/Milwaukee/Minneapolis architecture, while pleasant, isn't nearly as fanciful looking.

What exactly is the cliffnotes reason(s) that Cincinnati isn't bigger and better today than it could be?
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 5:48 PM
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Ok wow...I'm blown away by the architecture there. I'm surprised it was that ornate given it's the midwest; Chicago/Milwaukee/Minneapolis architecture, while pleasant, isn't nearly as fanciful looking.

What exactly is the cliffnotes reason(s) that Cincinnati isn't bigger and better today than it could be?
i'll take a shot at this, but i'm coming at it tangentially. i'm sure someone could give specifically a financials/banking reason, but cincinnati was one of the three important original "gateway" cities of the midwest that had banking/rail/investment/mercantile/trade hinterlands around and to the west from which it relied upon for its early growth, prior to the later massive industrial growth of the midwest. my guess is that the growth of all of it's nearby neighbors sort of hacked into that growth stream, sort of how chicago took over a huge amount of the st. louis trade and banking hinterland. this sort of stunted the growth of the region early on.
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 6:22 PM
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Originally Posted by destroycreate View Post
Ok wow...I'm blown away by the architecture there. I'm surprised it was that ornate given it's the midwest; Chicago/Milwaukee/Minneapolis architecture, while pleasant, isn't nearly as fanciful looking.

What exactly is the cliffnotes reason(s) that Cincinnati isn't bigger and better today than it could be?
The architecture is different because Cincinnati is much older than the other cities you mention. In 1850 Cincinnati had 115,000 people while Chicago had 29,000. In 1850 Minneapolis didn’t even exist. The architecture in the era Cincinnati grew most rapidly is far more ornate than what was done in Chicago or Minneapolis. Cincinnati is also surrounded by hills and a river so they were kind of growth constrained and probably built densely so people could walk to their jobs along the river.

Why isn’t it bigger? Well...

Source: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=187656

They demolished half the urban core for freeways and public housing and the economy was heavily industrial which as you know based on Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh was a sector that lost many jobs. They had the usual problems with white flight and suburbanization. Cincinnati has big corporations like Macy’s, Proctor & Gamble and Kroger and University of Cincinnati and medical center but isn’t as diversified as it could be and could stand to attract new business growth.
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 9:14 PM
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What exactly is the cliffnotes reason(s) that Cincinnati isn't bigger and better today than it could be?
Based on what I recall learning when I visited Cincinnati's Union Terminal museum dedicated to the history of the city, Cincinnati was growing at the same time as Chicago and there was a large crossroads in terms of logistics. Goods transported by river was the historical trend, but rail transportation was on the rise. Cincinnati doubled down on river and Chicago invested in rail. Rail won, and Cincinnati is what it is today versus Chicago because of that.

Someone please feel free to correct me if I got that wrong! I haven't been to that museum in quite some time.
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 9:26 PM
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Based on what I recall learning when I visited Cincinnati's Union Terminal museum dedicated to the history of the city, Cincinnati was growing at the same time as Chicago and there was a large crossroads in terms of logistics. Goods transported by river was the historical trend, but rail transportation was on the rise. Cincinnati doubled down on river and Chicago invested in rail. Rail won, and Cincinnati is what it is today versus Chicago because of that.

Someone please feel free to correct me if I got that wrong! I haven't been to that museum in quite some time.
i can't speak 100% for cincinnati, but thats also the urban legend for st. louis. the reality is that all of the early interior cities started rail projects, and a quick glance at wikipedia shows that cincinnati granted a charter for a railroad in the 1830s, and st. louis in 1840s. non-chicago railroads simply didn't get built very quickly as they didn't have huge piles of new york money behind them like chicago. st. louis railroads were always running into problems and out of money.
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 9:32 PM
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i can't speak 100% for cincinnati, but thats also the urban legend for st. louis. the reality is that all of the early interior cities started rail projects, and a quick glance at wikipedia shows that cincinnati granted a charter for a railroad in the 1830s, and st. louis in 1840s. non-chicago railroads simply didn't get built very quickly as they didn't have huge piles of new york money behind them like chicago.
also (and i know you know this, but for the edification of others), the civil war began in 1860, and cincy & st. louis were A LOT closer to the heat of the action than chicago was. new york and boston money got skittish of places too close to the south and flooded into chicago instead. that was when chicago really started to take off and head for the stars, leaving former competitors like cincy and st. louis in its dust.


anyway, fantastic pics of a true american urban gem! cincy never disappoints.
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Old Posted Mar 6, 2018, 9:35 PM
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also (and i know you know this, but for the edification of others), the civil war began in 1860, and cincy & st. louis were A LOT closer to the heat of the action than chicago was. new york and boston money got skittish of places too close to the south and flooded into chicago. that was when chicago really started to take off and head for the stars, leaving former competitors like cincy and st. louis in its dust.
yes, this was a problem as well. the east coast sort of pulled up stakes and doubled down on chicago.
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Old Posted May 27, 2018, 4:47 PM
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Originally Posted by destroycreate View Post
Ok wow...I'm blown away by the architecture there. I'm surprised it was that ornate given it's the midwest; Chicago/Milwaukee/Minneapolis architecture, while pleasant, isn't nearly as fanciful looking.

What exactly is the cliffnotes reason(s) that Cincinnati isn't bigger and better today than it could be?
cincinatti was probably america's first frontier boomtown. i guess all booms have a bust at some point. you can thank 1800s german stonemasons and bricklayers for all of that intricate detail too. also, shhhh. covington is one my off the radar retirement destinations! great thread.
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Old Posted May 31, 2018, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by pdxtex View Post
cincinatti was probably america's first frontier boomtown. i guess all booms have a bust at some point. you can thank 1800s german stonemasons and bricklayers for all of that intricate detail too. also, shhhh. covington is one my off the radar retirement destinations! great thread.
To add to that, Cincinnati lives and dies by the Ohio River. I'm greatly simplifying this, but essentially, Cincinnati lost out big by failing to capitalize on the switch from riverboats to trains.
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