Cincinnati Frequently Asked Questions
How did Cincinnati come to be known as the Queen City?
Where did Cincinnati get the Tyler Davidson Fountain?
Who designed Cincinnati's Music Hall?
When was Cincinnati Union Terminal built?
In 1787 Congress adopted the Northwest Ordinance, which opened the land between the Allegheny Mountains and the Mississippi River to settlement. On October 15, 1788, John Cleves Symmes was granted a charter to develop the land between the Great Miami and Little Miami Rivers. This tract is known as the Miami Purchase. That fall and winter three sites were settled in the Purchase.
On November 18, 1788, a party of 26 settlers from New Jersey and Pennsylvania led by Benjamin Stites arrived at a site about one mile west of the mouth of the Little Miami River, near present day Lunken Airport. They named this settlement Columbia.
On December 28, 1788, 11 families and 24 men led by Colonel Robert Patterson arrived at a site of 747 acres located directly opposite the Licking River. This second settlement was first named Losantiville and renamed Cincinnati on January 4, 1790 by Arthur St. Clair, the first Governor of the Northwest Territory.
In January 1789, John Cleves Symmes and his family settled east of the mouth of the Great Miami River and called this settlement North Bend.
During the first forty years after its founding, Cincinnati experienced spectacular growth. By 1820, citizens, extremely proud of their city, were referring to it as The Queen City or The Queen of the West.
On May 4, 1819, Ed. B. Cooke wrote in the Inquisitor and Cincinnati Advertiser, "The City is, indeed, justly styled the fair Queen of the West: distinquished for order, enterprise, public spirit, and liberality, she stands the wonder of an admiring world."
In 1854, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his poem, Catawba Wine, to memorialize the city's vineyards, especially those of Nicholas Longworth. The last stanza of the poem reads:
"And this Song of the Vine,
This greeting of mine,
The winds and the birds shall deliver,
To the Queen of the West,
In her garlands dressed,
On the banks of the Beautiful River."
Learn more about the Longworth family.
On October 6, 1871, Henry Probasco presented the fountain to the people of Cincinnati as a memorial to his brother-in-law, Tyler Davidson. Cast by Ferdinand von Muller, Director of the Royal Bronze Foundry of Bavaria, the fountain followed plans drawn by August von Kreling. The 9-foot central figure, the Genius of Water, stands with arms outstretched over groupings of figures representing the uses of water.
For its hundredth birthday celebration on October 16, 1971, the Tyler Davidson Fountain was renovated, moved to a new location on Fountain Square Plaza and turned to face west instead of east.
Music Hall, 1241 Elm Street, remains one of Cincinnati's best known landmarks. Designed by architect Samuel Hannaford in the style variously labeled Victorian Gothic or Romanesque, the 3 1/2 story cherry red pressed brick building has an acoustically excellent concert hall. Carvings of flowers, birds, and symbols of crafts, arts, and sciences on its gray sandstone trim indicate the many uses for which Music Hall was originally intended when it opened on April 8, 1878.
Construction on Cincinnati Union Terminal began in August 1929, and the building was dedicated on March 31, 1933.
Union Terminal was first proposed in the early part of the 20th century as a solution to the chaotic existing railroad system, which consisted of seven lines operating out of five stations. Initial planning began in the early 1900's, but floods, inter-railroad squabbling and World War I delayed the plan until the late 1920s. New York architects Alfred Fellheimer and Stewart Wagner designed the terminal building.
Today the magnificent art deco style railroad terminal building is the home of Cincinnati Museum Center. More information about Union Terminal