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News

Zinzinnati’s German heritage

Cincinnati has a one of the richest German histories in all of America. The German history dates back even to the inception of the city in 1788. German immigrants came to America in large numbers due to a variety of reasons from religious freedom to the availability of mechanized manufacturing of goods. As a result they were attracted to America’s heartland and formed what is now called the “German Triangle.” The triangle was formed by St. Louis, Milwaukee and Cincinnati…with Cincinnati being the largest of those cities and also the city containing the largest German influence. So, who cares?

Well what would Cincinnati be like today without the strong German influence of the past? We can attribute that strong influence to the current day butchers, bakeries and ice cream shops that still exist in nearly every neighborhood in the region. Over-the-Rhine was built by those German immigrants and thus the creation of the largest collection of Italianate architecture in America. Cincinnati’s built environment was greatly influenced by those same immigrants. They built a dense urban core with streetcars and all, not to mention they helped build what is considered to be America’s first major boomtown.

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2006: Photo from Cincy Images

It is also by no mistake that the largest Oktoberfest celebration exists in Cincinnati (outside of the Munich event). We also have the only Hofbrauhaus outside of Munich, Germany. In addition to that Cincinnati boasts the Fairview German Language School and one of the largest German-American book collections at the University of Cincinnati. In addition to that, roughly 50% of all people in the Cincinnati claim German as their ancestry…again, one of the largest percentages in the nation. A few other notable Cincinnati landmarks created or inspired by German immigrants are: Fountain Square, Roebling Suspension Bridge, Cincinnati Zoo, Spring Grove Cemetery, Music Hall, Findlay Market and the Cincinnati Park System.

Cincinnati’s German heritage has surely shaped the physical environment of our city, and has also shaped the social environment over the years as well. I just don’t think that Cincinnati would be the family-friendly place it is today without those unique Cincinnati features of being able to go to Humbert’s Meats or Servatii’s pastry shop. What do you think and how does Cincinnati’s heritage affect your day to day life? How would Cincinnati be different without this German influence…or is it even relevant today?

I have done a photo thread on Over-the-Rhine over at UrbanOhio, entitled Über-der-Rhein.

Categories
News Politics Transportation

Same news…two stories

The Cincinnati Streetcar Study was presented to City Council yesterday. There was little to no media attention giving the meeting publicity, but the media outlets were quick to report on the presentation after it happened. Interestingly enough the Cincinnati Business Courier and Cincinnati Enquirer had notably different takes/spins on the same story.

The most noticeable was the difference in headlines. The Enquirer’s read “Streetcar Price Tag: $100 million”…while the Business Courier’s headline read: “Study: Downtown streetcar could have $1.9B impact.” But nothing new with that…the Cincinnati Enquirer has had a consistently negative stance on events occurring within the inner-city.

However the differences do not stop there. The Enquirer cited that the total cost of build out would be $100 million; while the Business Courier wrote that it would cost $88 million. So, who’s right?? Well the Enquirer could have been rounding the $88 million up, but that would be a stretch even for the lousy Enquirer. The most likely explanation is that the Enquirer was using the higher of the two estimates. Most likely the system will only cost $88 million to build, but there is a chance that the price tag balloon to $100 million. The study put that in there to be safe and make sure they covered all of their bases…well it’s refreshing to see that the Enquirer choose the more negative spin on a positive story going on in the inner-city!

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News

3CDC and OTR hitting their stride!

3CDC has been working diligently in Over-the-Rhine rehabbing old structures, creating chic urban living options, and luring new unique businesses to the area. The first piece of their OTR work to come on line is the Gateway Quarter. This is the section of OTR including/surrounding Vine Street from Central Parkway up a few blocks.

The area has seen great successes so far. The Art Academy of Cincinnati has created student housing options in the area, the Gateway Condos have been a success, and multiple new businesses have signed leases. All of this is taking place while more buildings are being renovated with more living and retail options! The other buildings include: Bremen Lofts, Centennial Row, Duncanson Lofts, and Duveneck Flats.

Now the area has seen the influx of new housing before, but what is new is the interest of the retailers. These are not your typical retailers either…these are stores geared towards urban living/lifestyle. City Roots is an urban gardening store, MetroNation offers contemporary home accessories and furniture that is collapsible, Park + Vine is a green variety store, and Jean Robert de Cavel plans to open another restaurant in the city…this one being in the Gateway Quarter.

All in all, there are fantastic changes taking place in Over-the-Rhine. New businesses are opening, new residents are moving in, crime is dropping, and hopefully the neighborhood’s long tainted image will begin to improve. Next on tap for 3CDC in OTR is the Washington Park District. 3CDC has announced that they plan to rehab 100 units per year, for the next 7 years in OTR…the main kicker is that they also plan on doing this through rehabs and NOT tearing down buildings. Good things are in store!