Mariemont

Although I live in the glorious Terrace Park, I attend the Mariemont school district, therefor I feel inclined to say a little something about this ‘hood.

Let’s start from the drawing boards, literally. Mariemont is one of the few planned communities in the US, which, if I say so myself, has benefited greatly from this meticulous planning. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but life doesn’t get much better than living in the Mariemont schools’ community. Mary Emery rightfully deserves her title as the “National Exemplar” of planning communities (yes, my assumption is that the restaurant is tied to this).

The property was bought in 1913, and in 1923, the building began. Twenty five of the best architects available at the time came into the town that was made of brick, and left it a town made of marble (or stucco and red brick). It’s a beautiful mix of English Norman and Georgian architecture. Some buildings on the Square sport a Tudor style to them, such as the Mariemont inn. The inn originally served as Mary Tudor’s guest house, but opened to the public in 1926.

My family would’ve gotten the boot if we tried to live here shortly after its founding, due to the fact that I’m Catholic, according to the great historian, Dr. Ted Hall. I don’t know if Mary Emery had something against good morals, or if the general society of the 20’s was truly ignorant, but African Americans and Catholics weren’t allowed in Mariemont (my guess is the latter, it’s okay Mary, I forgive you).

Basically, Mariemont is so awesome because it was planned by the greatest.

Below are some cool photos of Mariemont from simpler times

An original sketch of what Marimeont may look like (circa 1910)

An original sketch of what Marimeont may look like (circa 1910) (retro.cincinnati.com)

Construction of planned community
Construction of planned community (retro.cincinnati.com)

Look at those cars!

Look at those cars! (retro.cincinnati.com)

Inside the theater
Inside the theater (retro.cincinnati.com)

More recent image of the square

More recent image of the square (retro.cincinnati.com)

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Carew Tower

Carew Tower is Art-Deco architecture.

Carew Tower is Art-Deco architecture. (www.jdlwarm.com)

49 stories, 574 feet tall, Carew tower is an icon of the city. It was the tallest building in Cincinnati until recently the Great American Insurance building was erected. Beginning just one month before the Great Depression, the building was completed in 1931. It was used as a model in architecture for the ever-so-popular Empire State Building in New York, New York.

If you live under a rock and have never seen Carew Tower before, it’s pretty gosh darn big. There are 46 miles of piping in the building and around 5000 doors. The Mabley and Carew department store chain used to be located in this building. It’s quite the coincidence that it was named “Carew” right before the department store moved in. Just kidding, it’s no coincidence at all, it was in fact named after Joseph Carew of said company.

Now home to commercial offices and other boring things, the tower can still be seen from quite a ways off and has a magnificent view from the top floor. Tourists are allowed to visit the outside of the top floor for a small fee, which is well worth while. If you plan on going to the tower, I recommend jumping on the upper elevators, as they are quite shakey and will likely give you a thrill. I also recommend pressing all the buttons in the elevator at once, like in the movie Elf.

Both my atrocious hat nor the maintenance man could stop me from pressing all those buttons.

Both my atrocious hat nor the maintenance man could stop me from pressing all those buttons.

Annie Oakley

Born in 1860, Phoebe Moses was raised in North Star, Ohio. After growing up in the rural area, she eventually moved down to Cincinnati. She rose to fame as won of the best women sharpshooters, and sharpshooter overall.

She originally starred in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, which was a cowboy themed circus that traveled around annually. Standing at a whopping 5 feet tall, Annie was known to some as “Little Sure Shot.”

Her most famous act was shooting playing cards that were thrown into the air with a .22 caliber, lever action rifle.

Advertisement for Oakley

Advertisement for Oakley

Her career continued into her 60’s, and she eventually died at the age of 66. It is said that in her lifetime, she had taught 15,000 women how to use a gun. She believed that holding a gun should be as natural to women as holding a baby. Maybe not one of the most famous people from Cincinnati, but Annie Oakley was definitely an influential one.

Cincinnati Red Stockings

With Opening Day on April 1st for the Cincinnati Reds, I find it only appropriate to write a little about the Redlegs.

1869 Red Stockings

1869 Red Stockings

Founded in 1863, the Cincinnati Red Stockings were finding their way to the professional baseball field. In 1869, they became all-pro. Between 1869 and 1870, the Red Stockings were on an unstoppable 130 game win streak, until their defeat no thanks to the Brooklyn Atlantic’s.

Several years later they shortened their name to just the “Reds” and started playing on Redland Field (Crosley Field). In 1970, Crosley was out dated and the Cinergy-Riverfront stadium was used. In 2003, the modern Great American Ball Park was erected in place of the demolished Riverfront Stadium.

Crosley Field, back in the good ol' days

Crosley Field, back in the good ol’ days

Here’s another fun fact that changed the history of the United States: in 2006, president George W. Bush was the first sitting president to throw the ceremonial first pitch, in none other than Great American Ball Park.

Even though it’s only named Great American after the insurance company that owns it, the Great American Ball Park reflects the American Spirit that is alive and thriving in the greatest city in the world, Cincinnati.

Union Terminal

The year is 1931 and people need an easy way to move about that’s faster than walking and easier and cheaper than owning a car. What moves at high speeds and transports large amounts of people at a relatively low cost? Is it a bicycle? No! Is it a skateboard? No! Is it an airplane? No! It’s a railroad!

North side taxi ramp inside the original building

North side taxi ramp inside the original building

Originally a railroad station, Union Terminal was completed and open for service in 1933. Before the terminal, there were 5 small, cramped stations throughout the city connecting to 7 railroads. Union Terminal provided a large, spacious alternative to these.

Originally referred to as a city within a city because not only was it a place to hop aboard 100 tons of steaming metal, but it held a men’s and women’s clothing store, a bookstore, a toy store, food stores, news stands, and a barber shop. Everything one could possibly need all in a convenient location!

Original Barber Shop

Original Barber Shop

The 180 foot wide and 106 foot tall half-dome was the second largest in the world, right behind the Sidney Opera House. Unfortunately, the City built this right around the Depression, so train travel was on the decline and the terminal wasn’t a huge success for a while. In 1972, Union Terminal closed down its train travel for good due to the huge decrease in railway transportation.

Fast forward 20 years to 1990 where travel by locomotive is nearly comical, and the Cincinnati Museum Canter was born out of the terminal. It now holds several shops, an Omnimax theater, Duke Energy’s Children Museum, Cincinnati History Museum, and a Museum of Natural History and Science. The Museums are almost like a time capsule to those in Cincinnati, taking visitor’s back to simpler times when the main concern wasn’t what was going to be on TV tonight.

Although it may have seemed like a bust in the past, Union Terminal is now one of the most iconic structures to Cincinnatians.

Modern Union Terminal at night

Modern Union Terminal at night

Porkopolis

Original Flying Pig Sculpture at Sawyer Point

Original Flying Pig Sculpture at Sawyer Point

Every city gets a cool nickname such as “The City that Never Sleeps”, “Sin City”, or “The Mistake on the Lake”. What would Cincinnati be without our cool nickname, “Porkopolis”?

Around 1835, we became the biggest pork processing center in the country. It’s rumored that packs of pigs (group, not literally a packed and processed pig) would wander the streets of downtown. The easy access to the river with the late and great steam engine along with the vast farmland surrounding southwest Ohio made for the perfect location for the slaughterhouse capitol of the US.

Although Chicago took our title in about 30 years, Cincinnati still recognizes our pig culture. The flying pig (which later was used for our famous Marathon) was originally used as a sculpture for the gardens at Sawyer Point on the city’s 200 year anniversary.

What’s a better way to represent a city other than a farm animal? I can’t think of one! But in all seriousness, the pig really was a huge part in industrialization of our wonderful town, so it’s understandable that we recognize and take pride in the creature.

The Flying Pig Marathon gives some what of a double entendre, meaning the sarcastic phrase “when pigs fly” (such as, “Yeah, I’ll run 26.2 miles and NOT collapse at the end when pigs fly!”) and the symbol of Cincinnati itself.

Where would we be without the pork industry? It’s hard to say really, but we wouldn’t have as rich and recognizable of a culture without it. Who knows, maybe we wouldn’t have our beloved Montgomery Inn or other barbecues around the city.

The only downside to this title was the undesirable and copious amounts of pollution that plagued Cincinnati with the steamboats and slaughtered pigs, but that’s a story for another day.

Welcome to Cincinnati

Being my first blog post, I will try my best here. Cincinnati is arguably one of the richest cities in culture and history in the Midwest region. Starting with the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, land between Allegheny Mountains (part of the Appalachian range) and the Mississippi River opened up for settlement.

John Cleves Symmes, a New Jersey man, then made the Miami Purchase, and received the land between the Little Miami and Great Miami Rivers. Thus, Losantiville (soon to be known as Cincinnati) was born.

Losantiville, as silly as it sounds, got its name from combining several words together. It most literally means “The city opposite the mouth of the (licking) river”. The “L” is from “Licking River”, the “os” is Latin for mouth, the “anti” is Greek for opposite, and the “ville” is French for city.

The city was later renamed after the Roman general, Cincinnatus, who is said to have saved Rome, and then returned to his farm life. Not only is Cincinnati connected to Ancient Rome that way, but we are also known for our 7 hills. A very popular one being Mt.Adams.

Fast forward two centuries, and you have modern day Cincinnati. Home of Carew Tower, the Great American building, Duke Energy, the Reds, the Bengals, Union Terminal, the Freedom Center, etc. The list is endless. That’s why I’m doing this blog, because of the rich history and culture of this wonderful city of ours.