The 1866 Cincinnati Suspension Bridge
Few American cities can claim a landmark as distinctive as Cincinnati's Suspension Bridge, and has proudly been a symbol of the city since its opening in Dec. 1866. Images of the bridge can be seen today in all parts of the city hanging in, offices, restaurants, bars, waiting rooms, and as backdrops for the local TV news. More than just a nostalgic decoration, the old bridge remains as important today.
Cincinnati was the first major city in the midwest with its 1850 population ranked sixth in the U.S. ahead of St. Louis and Chicago, and as ferry traffic increased, the necessity of a bridge became apparent. By the time construction started in 1856, a revised charter eased the required length to 1,000ft. and height to 100ft. The ensuing period of construction stretched over a decade, interrupted by financial shortages and the Civil War, during which the city and unfinished bridge were under threat of attack.
The bridge opened in Dec.1866, and the main span was at that time the longest in the world. Not only was the Bridge the world's longest, but it was also the first to utilize both vertical suspenders and diagonal stays fanning from either tower. This advance was next seen on the Brooklyn Bridge, which surpassed the Cincinnati bridge in length and almost every other statistical category in 1883.
Due to inflation, the original deck was built as cheaply as possible. In 1894 tracks were laid across the deck but street cars were limited to 1.5mph. Thus in 1896 a rebuilding of the bridge deck was undertaken, the stone towers were overbuilt and were capable of carrying a heavier load. In order to keep the bridge open and maintain the 100ft. height requirement, the old deck was jacked up while work proceeded. The new deck was built around the old deck, hung from the new main cables, and then transferred over to the cable arrangement seen today. The reconstruction altered the appearance of the bridge, but allowed it to remain useful in the 20th century.
Tip your Valet!!!!
Valet's work for tips. Regardless of what story your sister's brother's cousin told you about someone stealing something or wrecking their car many valet's are responsible and willing to take excellent care of your car as long as you take care of them. Valet's are an excellent source of information about the city and if they don't know something they most likely know someone that does. Most of all the best thing to remember is that if you take care of them they will take care of you. When checking in to a hotel if a valet or a doorman takes care of your car and your bags it is customary to give them about $1 a bag or $2 for just taking care of the car. When picking up your car it is customary to give the valet anywhere from $2 to $5 dollars.
Cincinnati Bengals Football
I don't reallly consider the Begnals a football team in the normal sense of the word. They have been on a losing streak since the 80's. Lately though, things have been coming around. I as a San Diego Chargers fan, only go to the stadium when my team is there. But if you like the Bengals, by all means this is the place to take a pilgrimage.
remains of Crosley Field
After a fire burned down the elegant Palace of the Fans; a place that, judging by the pictures I’ve seen, lived up to its moniker, the Cincinnati Reds played ball at Crosley Field from 1912 until 1970. Crosley Field, known as Redland Field from 1912 to 1933, is best remember as the site of the first Major League night game on May 24, 1935. This set of benches, with another row nearby, are all that remain of this once grand old ballpark.
Exit I-75 at Western Avenue and proceed just past Dalton Street. The benches are located in front of the building on the right.
St. Francis Xavier Church
This beautiful Jesuit church is located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. I only located this here among the Off-the-beaten-path tips because a lot of people aren't crazy like me, someone who likes to view the lovely architectural elements of churches & cathedrals, well at least not in small cities like Cincinnati. Paris, London, Rome, Jerusalem, Moscow, Milan, Florence, Siena - those are places you go to see churches, not small midwestern US towns!
But this is a great church. It's lovingly painted in blue murals on the inside (blue is such a peaceful color and it denotes dignity & purity and is indicative of the Virgin Mary) and the outer architecture is lovely to behold, too: very tall and majestic with clock tower that chimes the hour & a steeple that would pierce the sky if it weren't for the nearby skyscraper buildings.
Please do pop in for a minute to revive your spirits and to maintain a sense of spirit & solemnity - a brief respite from the hustle & bustle of downtown. Maybe you'll get to meet Bonnie, one of the caretakers, who is an extremely warm & inviting person. She's the lady who turned the lights on for me so that I might take better photos.
607 Sycamore Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Photo: September 2005