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.