Abandoned tunnels are often the object of urban legend, but Cincinnati is in fact the site of the country's largest abandoned subway tunnel. But "abandoned" is not quite the word, as construction slowed to a stop in 1925 before even half of the 16 mile line was completed. Seven miles between Cincinnati's central business district and the industrial suburb of Norwood were tunneled, bridged, or graded, but no track was laid and no subway cars were ordered. No passengers ever rode between the six stations that were built.
The incomplete Cincinnati line sat fallow through the Great Depression and WWII. Bridges, stations, and retaining walls along the surface stretches deteriorated to such an extent that a few items actually collapsed. Nearly everything above ground was bulldozed to make way for portions of I-75 and the Norwood Lateral in the 1950's and 1970's, respectively. The mute two mile tunnel that remains under Central Parkway is unknown to many Cincinnati natives, and what most who do know of it know consists largely of hearsay and speculation.
This page is the most comprehensive and most accurate source of information regarding the subway either on the web or in print. It is by far the most popular subject on www.cincinnati-transit.net, and tens of thousands have visited it since its appearance in 1999.
Creole cajun comfort food in Covington's MainStrasse Village, Dee Felice bills itself as "Jazz, Swing, New Orleans décor and great Cajun food"!
Besides the typical fare associated with N'awlins, you'll find American staples such steak, pasta, chicken & seafood. Dee Felice is well-noted for their excellent wine list and especially for their desserts!
Besides garnering numerous awards from local Cincinnati Magazine they've also been listed as one of America's Top 25 Restaurants per Zagat's!
Casual dress code.
I love the quaint, charming MainStrasse Village in Covington with its old Victorian & Italianate homes dotted around what used to be the German area of Covington.
Walk around, gaze at the houses, peer at the Goose Girl Fountain, stroll down & listen to the German Clock Tower, otherwise known as the Carroll Chimes Bell Tower, but make sure to read the historical plaques in the square. One will tell you the story that is the basis for Toni Morrison's Beloved.
There are coffee shops in the area, Celtic shops, and great restaurants like the Cajun Dee Felice or French Chez Nora.
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
At the west end of Mainstrasse Village in Covington, with it's lovely old Victorian & Italianate homes, lies the charming old-fashioned German Gothic structure of the 100-foot glockenspiel Carroll Chimes Bell Tower. On the hour the clock chimes a 43-bell carillon & out comes different figures representing the Pied Piper of Hamlin. You wouldn't know it to look at it but it was only built in 1979!
During the MainStrasse Village Oktoberfest, we like to bring the kids down here. Of great interest to all the kids is the Clock Tower! With plenty of lawn surrounding it, it is also a nice area for a picnic. There are also badezimmers (bathrooms) here, which comes in handy for the kids or when you've had just a bit too much bier in your stein.
Walk along the street & you'll find historical plaques that recount the interesting history of famous people who came from this area.
St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, serves as the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, and as the parish of St. Mary's. This beautiful cathedral is a smaller-scale model of Nôtre Dame in Paris except that the Kings of Judah statues & the Saints statues are missing (you won't find the headless St. Denis holding his own head here!) But the Gothic stylings & the gargoyles are all included here.
The project for this cathedral commenced in 1894 & was completed in 1915 and is only one of 35 minor basilicas in the U.S.
1140 Madison Avenue
Covington, KY 41011
Photos: January 2005
The Old St. Mary's Church in the Over-the-Rhine section of Cincinnati is to me the most beautiful church in Cincinnati. It has gorgeous German architecture that was paid for and built by the hardworking German workers that once inhabited this area.
The appellation, Over the Rhine, comes from these German inhabitants. German folk were attracted to the Ohio Valley because it reminded them of their Native Rhine Valley and for a time, Cincinnati's hills were dotted with vineyards. Back then Central Parkway was not a street, it was part of the Erie Canal that transported goods from Lake Erie to the Ohio River. Many Germans lived in this area but worked downtown; their nickname for the Erie Canal was the Rhine River and when they came home in the evening crossing over the canal they were going "Over-the-Rhine" and the name has stuck for this area since.
If you're in the Main Street bar district on the weekend just take a walk down to the corner of 13th & Main and you'll see the lovely façade of this church. Even as a drunken sot you'll be able to appreciate its architecture!
For a tour of the interior, you may join the Final Friday Tours of Old St. Mary's.
6:30-9pm the last Friday of the month.
During Christmas they hold choruses of Christmas music outside the church.
For those of a medieval or Renaissance bent, they also perform Gregorian chant and Renaissance music during their 9:15am Sunday Latin Mass.
123 East 13th Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Cross street of 13th & Main streets
Photo: August 2005
Located on the pinnacle of Mt. Adams, lies the Holy Cross Immaculata Church where the Catholic faithful return every Good Friday to pray the beads of the rosary on the steep steps leading up to the church.
My last visit there I counted 85 steps - that's a lot of rosary beads!! :D
The altarpieces on the inside of the church was painted by Johann Schmitt, who was an art teacher to one of Cincinnati's illustrious artists, Frank Duveneck (click "I accept these terms" to view his famous The Whistling Boy), who I mentioned in my Maisonette review. Here's a list of 7 of the altarpieces by Schmitt (with photos):
Birth of the Virgin Mary
The Sacrifice of Isaac
Expulsion from the Garden of Eden
Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Presentation of the Virgin Mary at the Temple
Besides it's focal point in Cincinnati for Good Friday devotions, the church is also beautiful architecturally & is a wonderful place to view the sunrise & sunset over Cincinnati & to see the lights of the city twinkling & sparkling at night.
30 Guido Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Photos: January 2005
On the Covington, KY, side of the Ohio River in Mainstrasse you'll find a remarkable historical plaque recounting the horrible tale of a slave who was running away across the frozen river to freedom, with her was her daughter:
On a snowy night in January 1856, seventeen slaves fled at foot of Main Street, across frozen Ohio River. Margaret Garner was in this group. When arrested in Ohio, she killed little daughter rather than see her returned to slavery. This much publicized slave capture became focus of national attention because it involved the issues of federal and state authority.
The above true tale became the basis for Toni Morrison's Beloved.
An off-the-beaten-path visit to here would be well-combined with a visit to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center across the river.
Saint Peter in Chains Cathedral, the chief church of the archdiocese in Cincinnati, is a beautiful church to bring the family for Easter even if you're not Catholic, which is what we did one year! We're not Catholic but Terry, my ex-husband grew up Catholic & we thought it was important for the kids to get a taste of the various facets of Christianity in order to make up their own minds.
The choir singing in the balconies, the swinging incense, the pageantry of the ceremonies makes for a very heady Easter experience. We found it to be quite special for the occasion and it is one I've mimicked when I've been overseas in Paris - I attended the Easter Paques celebration at Nôtre Dame April 2003.
The church was designed by the same architect who conceived the Ohio State Capitol in Columbus, Henry Walters.
325 West Eighth Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Photo: September 2005
Built in 1890, this massive 4-story structure built of beautiful stone and covered by a Ludowici clay tiled roof is a great example of German Romanesque architecture created by architect Samuel Hannaford. Naturally, City Hall holds most of the city's governmental departments. Take a peek inside to see the lovely grand marble stairway, stained-art glass windows on the landings and murals painted on the ceiling.
For information about tour guides:
801 Plum Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Photo: September 2005
Spring Grove Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Cincinnati & the oldest, too, holding Revolutionary War & Civil War & subsequent war veterans & generals (you'll find a printable map located on their website listed below).
Spring Grove was patterned after Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris with its huge grounds, statuary, mausoleums & crypts & winding paths, where Oscar Wilde & Jim Morrison are buried, .
I came here one wintry day in early January 2005 to take some black & white photos, which I think set off settings that are dreary such as this day & the fact that it's a cemetery.
Besides its historical quality, Spring Grove is also beneficial in studying genealogy, so please do contact them via the website. This is also an excellent home to choose as your final resting place.
My friend, fellow VTer MadAboutParis, is preparing to be a docent for the cemetery!
For more photographs of my visit, please check out my Spring Grove Travelogue:
Spring Grove Cemetery I
Spring Grove Cemetery II
Spring Grove Cemetery III
4521 Spring Grove Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45232
From I-75, take the Mitchell Avenue exit going west. Turn left onto Spring Grove Avenue and you'll see the entrance to the cemetery about another 1-2 miles further south.
In the center of Covington's MainStrasse Village, you'll find this charming fairy-tale style Goose Girl Fountain. This bronze statue is based on the Brothers Grimm story "The Goose Girl" in homage to the German geese farmers that once lived in this area.
In my short life I have seen many awe-inspiring works depicting the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Works that bring tears to the eyes of the unbeliever. The Pieta in St. Peters Basilica... Davinci's Last Supper...Three crosses on a highway. But I have to say that none prepared me for Giant Jesus. Giant Jesus should go in the same category as an apparition of Mary on a burned grilled cheese. I'm sure it's no fault of the artist. I can't imagine that the scale of Giant Jesus (it must be 5 stories tall) and the materials necessary were very helpful. And I'm sure that it was hard to turn down the money that must have been involved!
I feel bad for Jesus. I am sure that this Giant Jesus is destined to go down in the annals of roadside tourist traps & kitsch landmarks as one of the, well, biggest. It fits in very nicely with the neighboring architecture of the Trader's World Flea Market. And I'm sure it has created quite a stir in the world of televangelism.
Many people will have their personal views on the practicality of this monument. Some may be inspired. But it's always good for a smile on a long drive home. If you look on the west side of the freeway just south of Giant Jesus you will see the pastor's quarter horse ranch in matching architectural style. It reminds me of "Dallas" or something. It's quite impressive.
Located off I-75 Just north of West Chester, OH. Head toward Trader's World for an up-close encounter.
P.S. for the record I have nothing against flea markets!
75 musical acts by national, regional and local artists provided music for every taste at the Tall Stacks Music, Arts & Heritage Festival (held in October 2003). The Greater Cincinnati Tall Stacks Commission dedicated the entire five-day music festival in memory of John Hartford.
Tall Stacks was first held as part of Cincinnati's Bicentennial year in 1988. It was one of five events that took place throughout 1988 to celebrate Cincinnati's 200th birthday. Tall Stacks was by far the most popular and well attended of those five events. Because of the unique qualities of the festival, the Toronto Globe & Mail and the Chicago Tribune named Tall Stacks one of the top ten events in the world that year. The first Tall Stacks welcomed 14 riverboats and over 700,000 people to the city's riverbanks for three days in October. Tall Stacks launched a legacy of pride in Cincinnati's rich river history and rekindled the nation's love affair with the steamboat.