The history of Cincinnati never disappoints us. Some facts are well known by all, like the fact that we founded the first Major League Baseball team. Other facts are lesser known, and all the more interesting to hear about. We decided to do a little research, and learn what we can about Cincinnati’s secrets. Here are some of the craziest ones we found.
1. We Could Have Had A KISS Amusement Park
In 1979, KISS, as in the major rock band, purchased 190 acres in Cincinnati to build a KISS themed amusement park. Obviously, things didn’t work out, but just think of what could have been.
2. Carew Tower Was Once “Nasty Corner”
The corner of 5th and Vine, where Carew Tower now sits, was referred to as “Nasty Corner” in the 1870s. Saloons lined the streets, and drunkards frequented the sidewalks. Allegedly, women were advised to avoid the area, because they might be exposed to cursing and other “unladylike” things. Damn.
3. Cincinnati Music Hall Is Built On A Creepy Grave
Cincinnati Music Hall is by far one of the most beautiful buildings in this city. However, the history of the land it sits on is a bit grim. An asylum, orphanage, and a hospital that housed people with infectious diseases all occupied the land at some point. Perhaps creepiest of all, the land was also used to bury the dead from these institutions, as well as deceased homeless and strangers to the city. The graves were unmarked, and Music Hall was built on top.
4. Hughes Center High School Was On Boy Meets World
When you drive down Calhoun Street in Clifton, you’ll see Hughes Center High School right before you’re forced to turn onto Clifton Avenue. It may look familiar to you, and that’s because it was used for the exterior shots in the TV show Boy Meets World, including the view of the school seen in the opening sequence.
5. Jay Gatsby Was Based On Cincinnati Man George Remus
Almost all of us were assigned to read The Great Gatsby in high school, but here in Cincinnati, we might have a stronger connection to the story than you realize. George Remus, a Cincinnati Gangster from the prohibition-era, is thought to be the man who inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald when he wrote the title character, Jay Gatsby. Some of the most memorable things about George Remus include his bootlegging empire, murdering his estranged wife, Imogene, and getting away with it on the plea of insanity.
6. Arnold’s Was Probably A Brothel
Most Cincinnatians know that Arnold’s Bar & Grill is the oldest bar in Cincinnati. But not everybody knows the history of this great bar. You should go visit them to get the story yourself, but some have suspected that the building was a brothel at some point. To be fair though, there are a lot of buildings in Cincinnati that were most likely brothels at some time in their history.
7. Newport Was The Original Sin City
Cincinnati has a huge bootlegging and gambling history. So big, in fact, that just across the river in Newport, KY, was the original Sin City. In addition to bootlegged alcohol and gambling, prostitution and organized crime ran wild. George Remus, mentioned earlier in this article, was pretty involved in these endeavors.
8. Sixth And Broadway Was Once “Dead Man’s Corner”
Around the time of the Civil War, there were so many murders where Sixth and Broadway meet downtown that it was referred to as “Dead Man’s Corner.” The book Cincinnati, a Guide to the Queen City and Its Neighbors reports that murders happened less and less in that area by 1890, and W.P. Dabney is quoted saying, “sometimes several nights would pass without anyone being killed.” Now, the Procter & Gamble plaza occupies this space.
9. You Might Need To Watch Out For The Loveland Frog
Cincinnati, we’ve got our own supernatural being to fear, the Loveland Frog. The legend dates back to as early as 1955, but sightings were also reported in 1979. Like many urban legends, the Loveland Frog has rarely been seen, but still peaks the interest of some. There was even a musical created around the legend in May of 2014 titled Hot Damn! It’s the Loveland Frog!
10. There Was Once An Indian Mound Where Fountain Square Is Now
Something darker lies beneath another Cincinnati favorite; an Indian Mound once stood where Fountain Square now sits. Try not to think about it too much while you’re ice skating this winter.
11. A Cop Found Crop Circles In Miami Township
In 2004, a Miami Township police officer found some crop circles in a cornfield off Linden Avenue. Independent crop circle researcher, Jeffrey Wilson, examined the interlocking circles and said they were some of the most impressive he’s ever seen. He also said that there was no damage that would allude to machine use. In other words, he doesn’t think they’re fake. Spooky…
There are a lot of crazy things about Cincinnati. Is there a secret you know about that didn’t make it on this list? Tell us about it in the comments!
Featured Image Credit: Dave Crim