Open main menu

Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, a city and county-seat of Hamilton co., O.; the second city in the State in population and the sixteenth in the United States, according to the census of 1920. It is built on the N. shore of the Ohio river, directly opposite Covington, Ky., is known as the “Queen City of the West”; and is connected with the Kentucky shore by five bridges; area, 35% square miles; pop. (1890) 296,908; (1900) 325,902; (1910) 363,463; (1920) 401,247.

Cincinnati occupies two plateaux, 400 by 500 feet above sea-level, surrounded by a semi-circular chain of hills. The surface slopes from the water-front to some points where it reaches an extreme altitude of 900 feet. The highland portions are cut by deep ravines, adding much to the beauty of the city, and commanding interesting views of the surrounding country. The streets in the older portion of the city cross each other at right angles and average 65 feet in width, and those in the modern section are arranged according to the surface conditions. The buildings are mostly of freestone, brick, and bluestone, found within or near the city.

Cincinnati is served by 19 railroads—a greater number than any other city along the Ohio river. It is the northern terminus of the Louisville and Nashville railroad and the Cincinnati Southern railway, now operated as a part of the Southern railway system, and other railroads serving northern territory. It is one of the important junction points of the Baltimore & Ohio, the Chesapeake & Ohio, and other railroads, connecting the South with New York, Philadelphia, and other eastern seaports, and south-eastern seaports. It is also a terminal of the railroads which carry the bulk of the trade from the North Central States to the South. The average daily inbound tonnage in Cincinnati is 105,000 tons, and the average daily outbound is 100,000. 110 inbound freight trains reach the city daily, and 112 leave the city, 154 passenger trains daily reach the city, and 140 leave it. Cincinnati is the only city in the United States owning a steam railroad, the Cincinnati Southern, which is 338 miles long, extending through Kentucky and Tennessee to Chattanooga. It is now operated as a part of the Southern railway system. The Cincinnati Southern brings a large revenue to the city, and provides prompt and adequate service to the entire South. There is one street railway system for the entire city. It has 230 miles of track. The company has about 3,000 employees. The average daily car mileage is 70,000, and approximately 160,000,000 passengers are carried annually.

Cincinnati is the most southern northern city and the most northern southern city in the United States. This combination causes several peculiarities, which give the city a noteworthy individuality. One of the distinctive features of Cincinnati is its origin in a great number of independent communities or villages, each occupying its own hill top or valley, and separated from its neighbors by topographical conditions peculiar to the locality. Several dozen of the former villages are now a part of the city, including Clifton, Mt. Auburn, Walnut Hills, Price Hill, Westwood, Hyde Park, Evanston, Pleasant Ridge, Cumminsville, Brighton, Columbia, and others. An inheritance from this condition of separate communities is the large number—about 40 or more—of local improvement associations which formulate and express public opinion. Cincinnati is distinctly American. In Cincinnati proper the proportion of foreign born to native born is smaller than for any other large American city. Practically 80 per cent. of the population is native born. Cincinnati is also the only large American city in which the percentage of foreign born has tended to decrease. It is a city of beautiful homes and stately buildings. St. Peter's Cathedral is one of the most picturesque and beautiful structures in the Western States. There are also St. Francis de Sales Church, Rockdale Temple (Jewish), the new Court House, and the most imposing of Cincinnati buildings, the Union Central. The City Hall is constructed of granite and Amherst stone. The tower is 32 feet square and 250 feet high. The Government Building and Custom House is a magnificent granite structure costing over $6,000,000.

The Cincinnati May Festivals are probably the most notable musical meetings in the United States. The biennial May Festival began its work in 1873. The wonderful artistic and financial success of that festival, and the one held in 1875, suggested the need of a permanent music hall for Cincinnati. This contains one of the dozen gigantic organs of the world. Cincinnati Music Hall is a public institution — a gift to the city under the control of a self-perpetuating and incorporated organization of citizens. The seating capacity is 3,600, and the stage is 112 feet wide and 70 feet deep—one of the largest in the United States. The Zoological Garden covers over 63 acres of ground. Its collection of wild animals is one of the largest in the world, and it is noted for its scenic beauty.

The work of the Department of Health is carried on under seven main divisions: Administration, Medical Inspection, Sanitary Inspection, Food Inspection, Laboratory, Tuberculosis Dispensary, Vital Statistics. Cincinnati has nearly 3,000 manufacturing establishments. The principal products are: machine tools, soap, men's and women's clothing, boots and shoes, printing and publishing, slaughtering and packing, furniture, leather, rolling mill products, special machinery, sheet metal products, foundry products, printing inks, wood-working machinery, lumber and timber products, electrical machinery, wagons, musical instruments, and chemicals. The capital employed is about $212,000,000 and the annual factory output exceeds $300,000,000. Cincinnati is the banking center for a vast area of thriving territory. Within the municipal limits there are eight National banks, 33 State banks, and 221 building and loan associations. In 1919 the bank clearings were $3,130,811,300. There are several imposing bank structures in Cincinnati, among them being the enormous building of the First National Bank, and the splendid structures of the Second National Bank, the Fifty-third National Bank, the Provident Savings Bank & Trust Co., and the Union Trust & Savings Bank.

The city has about 290 church organizations, including 219 Protestant and 56 Catholic. There are 12 Jewish synagogues. The city is the seat of a Roman Catholic Archbishop and a Protestant Episcopal Bishop. There are over 60 benevolent and welfare organizations and 17 hospitals, besides numerous denominational and non-sectarian homes. The public school system is thoroughly modern and well organized. There are 83 schools with over 1,800 teachers. Higher education is provided by the University of Cincinnati (q. v.) and the Ohio Mechanics Institute, besides many academic and professional schools, devoted to surgery, theology, law, dentistry, art, and music. There are 17 public libraries, the Free Public Library containing over 500,000 volumes and pamphlets.

The parochial school system includes several high schools, and a well-equipped college. The total Catholic population of Cincinnati is 93,879. Catholic parochial schools number 56, with an enrollment of 16,603. There is one theological seminary, a college for young men, four Catholic high schools for young men and women, one law school, one school for commerce, accounting, and sociology, nine academies for young ladies, and one college for young ladies. The professional schools include the Eclectic Medical College, Ohio College of Dental Surgery, Cincinnati Law School, Lane Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College, College of Music, and the Conservatory of Music. On College Hill is the Ohio Military Institute, a private undertaking developed from the old Ohio Farmers' College. It furnishes academic and military training. Other private schools are the University School, Franklin School for Boys, Oakhurst, Bartholomew-Clifton School for Girls, various schools of expression, and business schools. The Children's Home, Cincinnati Orphan Asylum, Bethany Home, German Protestant Orphan Asylum, Jewish Foster Home, and the St. Joseph Orphan Asylum are some of the child-caring institutions for the placing of homeless and destitute ones who have been committed to their care.

The government of Cincinnati is based upon a charter, adopted in November, 1917, by referendum vote. In general, the charter provides for a city council, six of the members elected from the city as a whole, and 26 from the 26 wards of the city. The charter also provides for the election of a mayor, who is more or less independent of the council.

The present total property tax rate (including city, schools, county, library, state, and city levies) is a fraction over $15 per $1,000 valuation. Property is assessed at 100 per cent. valuation. The net funded debt of the city (less sinking fund) is $59,723,087. The total assessed realty valuation is $466,914,880. The budg-et for 1919 was $7,236,668. The Cincinnati Water Works are municipally owned. They have a rated capacity of 128,000,000 gallons per day; the daily consumption is in the neighborhood of 60,000,000 gallons. The pressure varies in different places from 40 to 170 pounds. The water works is self-supporting; all its needed revenue is derived from the sale of water, and none from taxes.

Cincinnati, named in honor of the Society of the Cincinnati, was first settled by white men in 1780, and was incorporated as a city in 1819. Mounds containing various relics show that a portion of the site of the city was anciently occupied. The first steamboat descending from Pittsburgh visited the town in 1811; the first railway was opened in 1845; the first Roman Catholic bishop was consecrated in 1822; and the city has been an archiepiscopal see since 1850.