Cincinnati, just across the Ohio River from Kentucky, is a dynamic commercial metropolis with a definite European flavour and a sense of the South. Its tidy center, rich in architecture and culture, lies within a few minutes' walk of the arty Mount Adams district, the attractive riverfront, and the lively Over-the-Rhine area, in the north end of downtown.
The city was founded in 1788 at the point where a Native American trading route crossed the river. Its name comes from a group of Revolutionary War admirers of the Roman general Cincinnatus, who saved Rome in 458 BC and then returned to his small farm, refusing to accept any reward. Cincinnati quickly became an important supply point for pioneers heading west on flatboats and rafts, and its population skyrocketed with the establishment of a major steamboat riverport in 1811. Tens of thousands of German immigrants poured in during the 1830s.
Loyalties were split by the Civil War. Despite the loss of some important markets, the city decided that its future lay with the Union. In the prosperous post-war decade, Cincinnati acquired Fountain Square, the country's first professional baseball team, the Reds; they, along with the Bengals football team, remain a great source of pride.