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Cincinnati is full of historic architecture and landmarks, most of them dating from the 19th century and displaying myriad building styles. While looking for an affordable hotel in Cincinnati, consider staying in the vicinity of some of these interesting landmarks. You never know what interesting bit of history you might learn. The John Uri Lloyd House, for example, has only been minimally updated since its original construction in the late 19th century, offering an accurate historical view.

 

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The Genius of Water


The Tyler Davidson Fountain, also called The Genius of Water, is one of Cincinnati’s most popular tourist attractions. Dedicated in 1871, the fountain has a long history and was moved from its original location. The fountain was designed in Germany by a German artist. Originally, the artist couldn’t find a patron for his design until Cincinnati businessman Henry Probasco turned up and expressed interest.

The fountain was cast at a German foundry, shipped to Cincinnati in pieces, and assembled upon arrival. It originally sat on 5th Street near Walnut Street, but after 130 years, the fountain was moved to its current location at 5th and Vine. Offices, shops, hotels and restaurants line the streets around the 43-foot-tall fountain. The city does not run water through the fountain in the winter, but it always turns it on again for the first Reds home game of the season.

 

Saint Peter in Chains Cathedral


This historical Roman Catholic Church was constructed between 1841 and 1845. Notable for its 224-foot white limestone spire, Saint Peter in Chains stands out for its Greek mosaics inside, its columns, and its brass front doors, which are uncommon for Roman Catholic Church architecture. Stay near Saint Peter in Chains and be near many of Cincinnati’s downtown historical sites.

Like many historic structures, the 1845 site of the church is not its original location. It originally stood a few blocks from where it stands now. That location currently houses another church. Large stone angels imported from Europe stood alongside of the altar in its original location, but they are now on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

 

Cincinnati Subway


One of Cincinnati’s little known facts: in the early 20th century, construction began on a subway system. Severe lack of funding due to the end of WWI and the 1929 stock market crash caused the project’s ultimate demise. Slightly over two miles of half-finished tunnels with no train tracks still exist beneath the city. Some platforms and entrances had been constructed, which sit throughout the city (blocked off, of course) if you know where to look. One of them is visible from I-75 if you’re watching for it.

Tours of the subway do exist, but tickets are difficult to come by as tours only happen once a year in May. Tickets typically sell out within a day or two of going on sale, since only 250 people are allowed to go. Still, if you get a hotel downtown, you can walk to one of the known subway entrances and get a glimpse of the closed off spaces.

 


Do you have any cool stories about Cincinnati’s old buildings?