History

For a glimpse at Over-the-Rhine in 1875, visit this page.

Illustrated Cincinnati: A Pictorial Hand-Book of the Queen City by D. J. Kenny, 1875

A history of OTR via iRhine.com…:

Over-the-Rhine is significant in the continuing history of Cincinnati and the United States. In 1983 the district was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, in recognition of both its exceptional nineteenth-century architecture and its association with the successive waves of German immigration to America in the nineteenth century.

Over-the-Rhine’s collection of commercial, residential, religious and civic architecture is one of America’s largest and most cohesive surviving examples of an urban, nineteenth-century community. Similar neighborhoods in other cities have been decimated or lost entirely. Over-the-Rhine, however, continues to display its original dense, urban development patterns and buildings of excellent architectural quality, imbuing the neighborhood with a “Sense of time and place.” Rows of three-to five-story brick buildings constructed along the sidewalk characterize the streetscape. Many buildings have storefronts on the first floor with residential space on the upper floors. The Italianate style is the predominant architectural style in the district. Other nineteenth-century styles, including Federal, Greek Revival, Second Empire, Queen Anne, and Renaissance Revival, add to the flavor of the district. Over-the-Rhine also has many simply designed, working-class dwellings that display modest elements of the high architectural styles.

The distinct sense of place now associated with Over-the-Rhine developed largely between 1860 and 1900. Most of the buildings in the area date from this period and still reflect everyday life in the community during the late nineteenth century. During this period, the German influence reached its peak. Institutions that embodied the German spirit and character helped to shape the community, both physically and culturally.

In the period from 1860-1900 Over-the-Rhine became a densely settled neighborhood. New masonry structures replaced the original smaller frame buildings. Three- to five-story row houses predominated in the neighborhood. The majority of the buildings included a storefront at the ground level and apartments on the upper floors. Single-family homes, meeting halls, theaters, churches, stores, breweries, and light industrial buildings also were built during this period. Reflecting Cincinnati’s “walking city” character, many business owners, along with their families and employees, lived in Over-the-Rhine near their businesses.