Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

the Kentucky batable land between the water and the side. In front houses, that dusty strip which the river, the great Ohio being low, does not contest just now, and rolls its broad which is known as the levee? It might yellow tide. be the commerce of a nation which is Great bridges crowded upon it-every conceivable merspan it here chandise, in bale and barrel and box and

and there, and crate and sack, destined everywhere, and busy boats ply from side to side.

At ev

carried and tugged and shouted at by neery point great steamers are warped to groes and whites alike. Behind all of this the shore two and three deep-most un- scene of nervous and active life rises the navigable-looking craft, huge edifices of city, marked out in broad masses of light flimsy wood, all windows, doors, and rail- and shadow, compact upon the lower plaings, miniature piazzas, long verandas, teau, and steadily climbing and effacing awnings; and great chimneys, one on each the hills round about it. These glimpses side, interlaced together by all manner of are had of it when the propitious air lifts cross-bars and stays, and each ending in a the dense curtain that rises from Cincinviolent mitred decoration, reminding one nati's countless industries, mingles it with of nothing so much as of the paper panta- the clouds, and hangs the sky with fanlets which adorn the broiled lamb chop. tastic draperies of changing vapor. They are huge structures of wood, some The exterior of Cincinnati is as deep in propelled by side wheels, others with one color as that of London. Its trees are of great wheel across the stern, which makes the same ebony as those in the London them look like saw-mills gone astray, all parks, and its stone and brick work has fresh in the glory of white paint, and the same disposition to solemn black. It adorned with names instinct with legends has less of newness and of the ephemeral of wild races on the moon-lit waters, of virtues of fresh paint than perhaps any great games of poker, and of grand ex- other of our cities, and courts instead the plosions. Nowadays, however, they have air of a serious and well-rooted prosperity, become very commonplace in their func- founded in the antiquities and traditions tions compared with what they were in of its less than a century of existence. the old days of the river, but they remain About it, in the suburbs, at Clifton, and the agents of a great and thriving indus- even within the city limits, artists do not try. Else why the crowd of vehicles of fail to find abundant material. The caall kinds and of noisy men of all classes nal, which is known as the “Rhine," and that fills that wide and steep slope of de which is a sort of territorial line of demarkation for the German population, is ed. " How peebles knows vhere he his particularly rich in picturesque material. sour-krout finds, eh ? Your Correctory It is not the same as that for which its not vort' one cent!" And if thirty years namesake is celebrated, but it has artistic ago Mr. Cist was apprehensive that any value, and it is not overlooked.

one who found his sour-krout left out of Charles Cist, in the preface to his in- Cincinnati in 1851 would consider the teresting volume, Cincinnati in 1851, says book not worth one cent, how much great

[graphic][merged small]

that in taking addresses for a City Di- er is the similar danger at present, when rectory some time previously, he acci- the Cincinnati of to-day has a population

a dentally forgot to insert that of a some- and a commerce, including facilities for what extensive sausage and sour - krout sour - krout manufacture, which laugh concern kept by an honest German. A those of a generation ago to scorn ? few days after the appearance of the I suppose no fairy tale one ever read book he met the worthy Teuton in the equals in miracle story the ower-true truth streets, and found him to be in a towering that this Cincinnati, this Queen City, this passion. “Vat for you leave my name Paris of America, has only had such meavon your Correctory out, eh ?” he shout- sure of existence as is to be spanned by the

[graphic][merged small]

space of one human life. William Moody, father of ex-Mayor Henry Spencer was the first white child born at the settlement captured by Indians when his son (who (March 17, 1790), died there in 1879, an was still living in 1881, a venerable and eye-witness to one of the most amazing respected gentleman) was a boy eleven developments of trade and commerce ever years old. But at present there is never seen by mortal man. Baby Moody opened a bird in the gay Zoo Gardens of a rarer his infant eyes upon a vast and unfrequent- breed than your Indian, of the sort whose ed river—a “white settlement,” harassed ancestors formerly peopled these rich by Indians, and where no inhabitant was alluvial bottoms, and made life hideous quite sure, on retiring to rest at night, that for the hardy pioneers who bravely laid he would not be scalped before morning. the ground-plan for the superb metropolBefore he died this native-born pioneer itan structure which we now see. Sturdy, walked the pathways of that same hamlet, imposing figures these founders of Cinnow magically changed into the gay bus- cinnati's greatness present in the fast-gathtling streets of a splendid and ever-growing ering gloom that there is about the early city. Many of the more aged citizens of bistory of the city. Great seriousness of Cincinnati remember the Indians. The purpose, a most absorbing sense of inde

This pe

pendence, and a most American belief in white men, her southern neighbor, the elthe fullness of their destiny, and in the egant little Lexington, still looked down material resources of their country and of upon the social and literary aspirations of their river—these things most of all char- the town on the banks of the Ohio. The acterize them, and explain their vigorous Rev. Timothy Flint, writing in 1826, says: individuality and the impress they have “If its only rival, Lexington, be, as she left upon the present.

contends, the Athens of the West, this Daniel Gano, famous for his hospital place [Cincinnati] is struggling to become ity, for his social character and influ- its Corinth.” The struggles of Cincinnati ence, and for his generous public spirit, as against Lexington in respect to leaderwas one of them. So also was George ship in trade, literature, art, and science Graham, an acute Pennsylvania youth, are almost as remote in the city's annals who settled in Cincinnati in 1822, in his as the pioneers' warfare with the red-skins. twenty-fourth year, and took prompt hold The first name by which Cincinnati of the steamboat trade, then almost at its was called was L'Osanteville. birth. Few men did more than he to pro- dantic appellation was bestowed upon the mote the prosperity and shape the com- little village by the mysterious process of mercial policy of Cincinnati, and in his using the L to mean Licking River, the O later years he held numerous honorable to signify opposite, and santeville to inpreferments to which his fellow-citizens dicate a healthy town-altogether, a fine called him. He was president of the situation opposite the Licking. Academy of Natural Sciences, and of the In 1790, General St. Clair was sent as State Natural History Society, and for Governor of the Northwest Territory. forty years a trustee of the Cincinnati He fixed his head - quarters for a time College. In the law there were the hon- at L'Osanteville, and before he departed ored careers of Bellamy Storer and David he had rebaptized the infant city. His K. Este-names that will always be held choice of the word Cincinnati was a hapin reverential esteem.

In good sooth each man of that The thing which, perhaps, of all others, day was a Cincinnatus, a patriot, who, the Cincinnatian of to-day knows least having aided his country to achieve her about, and desires no enlightenment upon, crown of self-government on the battleis – Indians. Yet the Indians were the fields of the sea-board, now retired in true fathers of Cincinnati. They had a peace to the fertile slopes of the interior, trading point at this spot, their trail from there to pursue the noble aims of husDetroit to the town of Lexington, Ken-bandry. December 28, 1788, is considertucky, crossing the Ohio River at exactly ed to be the natal day of Cincinnati, the place where the busiest part of Cin-though the town was not incorporated as cinnati now stands. For many years aft- a city until 1819. From that date onward er Cincinnati had begun to flourish as a its progress has been unchecked by any commercial centre under the guidance of serious disaster. Neither flood, fire, financial crisis, nor devastating epidemic has rior, and mostly in the valleys of large ever paralyzed the city's prosperity. rivers meandering through rich alluvial

py one.

[graphic][merged small]

The first immigration to Cincinnati territories; for example, Thebes, Memphis, came from New England, about the years and Ptolemais, the ancient and once popubetween 1825 and 1830; this was supple- lous capital of Egypt.” At great length mented by an important and aristocratic Mr. Cist explains how this result was element consisting of families of birth and achieved, and he hoped it might be again, social standing who removed thither from without the aid of foreign immigrationVirginia. That Cincinnati, being in a a desideratum unlooked-for in those days. State so far west as Ohio, should ever re- Yet ten years later there was at least one ceive any immigration from the remote German in Cincinnati to reproach Mr. Cist shores of the Old World, was a possibility for having failed to celebrate his sournot dreamed of fifty years ago. Writing krout in the “Correctory," and at present in 1841, Charles Cist enthusiastically pro- there are-well, go "over the Rhine" in phesies: “I venture the prediction that Cincinnati, some bright moonlight evenwithin one hundred years from this time ing, and see for yourself how many GerCincinnati will be the greatest city in mans there are there. America, and by the year 2000, the great- About the year 1835 there broke out, est city in the world.... Most of the great one scarcely knows how, a sort of Cincincities of antiquity, some of which were of nati fever in England. In the British immense extent, were situated in the inte-Museum I have looked at a number of

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »