John Hayward, Gazetteer of the United States of America… (Philadelphia: James L. Gihon, 1854), 329-330.
Cincinnati, O. City, port of entry, and seat of justice of Hamilton co. Situated in the southwestern part of the state, on the N. side of the Ohio River, opposite to the mouth of Licking River, which comes inhere from Kentucky. It is 116 miles S. W. from Columbus, the capital of the state, and 494 above the mouth of the Ohio. The rapid growth of Cincinnati has been remarkable. The population in 1800 was 750; in 1810, 2540; in 1820, 9642; in 1830, 24,831; in 1840, 46,338; in 1850, 115,338.
The city lies in a valley, about 12 miles in circumference, bounded by hills gently rising to the height of 300 feet, and affording from their summits and declivities beautiful views of the river, and of the city upon its banks, with the flourishing towns of Newport and Covington upon the opposite side. The city itself is built on what was originally two successive table lands, or "bottoms " of the river, at different elevations; the one being from 40 to 60 feet above the other; which, in grading, have been reduced more nearly to a gradual ascent of from 5 to 10 degrees from the river. The plan of the city was originally laid out with great regularity, and has been in a good degree preserved. An open area upon the bank of the river, with about 1000 feet front, and embracing 10 acres, is reserved for the "Landing;" which is of great importance to the business of the city, and usually presents a scene of great activity. The seven principal streets run 42 north from the river, 66 feet in width, and at intervals of 396 feet, and are crossed at right angles by seven others, the same distance apart; excepting Water and Front Streets, which are somewhat nearer, and Second and Third Streets, which, on account of the original shape of the ground, were located farther apart. To this original plan other streets have been added, particularly on the N. and W. The corporate limits of the city include about four square miles. The central part is compactly and finely built, with spacious warehouses, large stores, and handsome dwellings. One of the squares was originally reserved for the public buildings, and several of the first edifices designed for public uses were erected upon it. Among the public buildings of Cincinnati are the court house on Main Street, a spacious building 56 by 60 feet, and 120 feet high to the top of the dome ; the edifice for the Franklin and Lafayette Banks, on Third Street, which has a splendid Doric portico of a beautiful gray freestone; the First Presbyterian Church, on Main Street, 68 feet front by 85 feet deep, cornered with turrets, and crowned with a cupola; the Second Presbyterian Church, of agreeable architecture without, and beautiful within; and many other church edifices which are ornamental to the city. There are likewise the Cincinnati College, the Medical College, Mechanics' Institute, Catholic Athenaeum, 4 market houses, — one of which is 500 feet long, — two museums, a theatre, a hospital, a lunatic asylum, &c. There are many extensive and fine blocks of stores, especially on Front and Main Streets. The open area at the Landing is substantially paved to low-water mark, and is supplied with floating wharves, adapted to the great rise and fall of the river, which has a mean annual range of about 50 feet, with about 10 feet more in extraordinary floods. Many of the streets are well paved, and several of them are handsomely shaded with trees. A large proportion of the houses is of stone or brick, from two to four stories high. Though the climate of Cincinnati is more variable than that on the Atlantic coast in the same latitude, yet few places in the country are more healthy than this city. The inhabitants are from nearly every state in the Union, and from many European nations. The Germans make nearly one third of the population.
This city is hardly excelled by any other in the Union in respect to the literary advantages it affords. The common free schools are of a high order, embracing ten school districts, with fine brick edifices three stories high, and furnished with various apparatus. Besides these, there are numerous private schools. There are also public high schools, male and female, in which instruction is given to a great number of pupils. There is a college, with which is connected the celebrated Astronomical Observatory established through the exertions of Professor Mitchell, and by the enlightened liberality of the citizens. The Roman Catholics have a college here, called St. Xavier College. The Medical College of Ohio, chartered in 1825, is located here. Lane Theological Seminary, an institution belonging to the New School Presbyterians, is located at Walnut Hills, two miles from the centre of the city. The Old School Presbyterians have also an institution here, more recently established, for the instruction of theological students. The Mechanics' Institute was chartered in 1828, for the improvement of mechanics in scientific knowledge by means of popular lectures, a library, reading room, &c. It has fine buildings, and apparatus which has cost about $10,000. The Young Men's Mercantile Library Association has a valuable library and reading rooms in the Cincinnati College edifice, on Walnut Street. Although intended for the particular benefit of young men, its advantages are open to every respectable citizen. Besides this, there is an Apprentices' Library Association, which has a handsome collection of books, in every department of literature and science, appropriate to the objects of such an institution. All minors brought up to laborious employments have, under certain regulations, free access to this library, from which about 500 volumes are drawn out weekly. In 1831, a College of Teachers was established, having for its object the elevation of the qualifications of teachers, and the advancement of the interests of schools at the west, which holds an annual meeting at Cincinnati in October. The charitable institutions required by the wants of a large city have been liberally furnished in Cincinnati. Among these are the Orphan Asylum, in Elm Street, a fine four story building, with ample grounds; two Orphan Asylums of the Roman Catholics, for the different sexes; and the State Commercial Hospital and Lunatic Asylum, incorporated in 1821, with accommodations for 250 patients. Among the most extensive establishments of the city for business are the pork houses, which are located on the Miami Canal. Cincinnati is the greatest market in the Union for this important article of supplies. The number of hogs slaughtered here, during the season of packing, in the fall and winter of 1851-2, was 352,000.
Cincinnati, for a city of such recent origin, possesses great facilities for communication with the surrounding country, by canals, McAdamized roads, and railroads. The Miami Canal connects the city with the Wabash and Erie Canal, at Defiance. The Whitewater Canal extends into Indiana, and commands much of the trade of its eastern section. The improvements upon the Licking River, by dams and locks, have rendered that stream navigable for steamboats of 150 tons, for a distance of more than 200 miles into Kentucky. Two railroads are now in operation, which connect the city with Sandusky and with Cleveland, on Lake Erie. The interior and capital of Indiana is connected with the Ohio River by a railroad at Madison, about 80 miles below Cincinnati. These are great and useful works, upon the structure of which many millions of dollars have been expended. The trade of the country from the Ohio River to the Lakes, north and south, and from the Scioto to the Wabash Rivers, east and west, comes chiefly to Cincinnati. The same is true of the trade of Kentucky for a great distance each way upon the Ohio. The manufactures of Cincinnati are also extensive. The surplus water from the canals furnishes no inconsiderable power, which has been thoroughly applied to use; and much is added by the steam engine, which is available here at a reasonable expense. A steam engine supplies a large part of the city with water, for drinking and culinary uses. It is forcedup from the Ohio River, into reservoirs upon a hill 700 feet high; and thence it is carried by iron pipes under the bed of Deer Creek, to the intersection of Broadway and Third Street, where its distribution through the city commences. These works were projected and carried on by individual enterprise until 1839, when they were purchased by the city.
On the 28th of December, 1788, but a little more than sixty years ago, the first company of civilized men landed on the north bank of the Ohio, opposite the mouth of Licking River, to commence the settlement of a town. Their first log cabin was built on a spot which is now on Front Street, a little east of Main Street. In January, 1789, they proceeded to lay out their town, which was then covered with a dense forest; the lower bottom bearing huge sycamore and sugar maple trees, and the upper, beech and oak. The streets were run, and the corners marked upon the trees. To their projected city they gave the name of Losantiville, which was afterwards changed to Cincinnati. In 1802, it was incorporated as a town, with a population of less than 1000 inhabitants. Thus recent is the origin, and thus rapid has been the growth, of this beautiful city, which long since obtained the name of "the Queen City of the West."