Cincinnati Area Historical Sites

May 12th, 2022 by

When you think of Cincinnati, you might picture the city’s iconic arts culture, sports teams, or even its world-famous chili. Also noteworthy is the area’s rich history. Since its first settlers appeared in 1788, Cincinnati has experienced significant events that have influenced its current culture. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, the city’s historical attractions are sure to be of interest. Check out these nine destinations of historical significance in Cincinnati.

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Cincinnati Observatory


historic sites in cincinnati, oh

Image via Flickr by w_lemay

In 1842, Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel set out to establish the first observatory in the U.S. He petitioned his fellow state residents for donations and secured a plot of land to build the establishment. The original telescope that Mitchel purchased in Munich, Germany, is still available for visitors to use today. Just as the stars will leave you in awe, so will the beautiful building. You and your party can tour this national historic landmark and admire its elegant architecture. While you’re here, consider taking the self-guided walking tour of the historic street to view restored homes from the 1800s.

Loveland Castle

Harry Delos Andrews was a medievalist who had a fondness for simpler times. He starkly objected to modern warfare in favor of classic sword-to-sword combat. This appreciation for tradition guided many of his actions, including becoming a medic in World War I instead of enlisting in active duty. During the 1920s, he further demonstrated his respect for medieval times by starting the construction of Loveland Castle.

Loveland Castle, also known as Château Laroche, is a replica of a 10th-century Norman castle. It’s one-fifth the size of the original and sits on the banks of the Little Miami River. Construction took around five decades to complete, with the Knights of the Golden Trail group finishing it upon Andrews’ death in 1981. Today’s visitors can tour the beautiful castle and appreciate its dry moat, hand-tiled ceilings, and collection of historic weapons.

Harrison Tomb State Memorial

The ninth U.S. President William Henry Harrison had an impressive military background before taking office. He fought in the 1794 Battle of Fallen Timbers that ended the Northwest Indian War, and he also led troops to victory in the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe and Battle of the Thames during the War of 1812. Harrison held several political offices beginning in 1798 before running for president in 1836. He lost this race but ran again four years later and won the 1840 election with Zachary Taylor as his vice president.

Unfortunately, Harrison contracted pneumonia and died about a month into his presidency. He was buried on Mt. Nebo in North Bend, Ohio. Harrison’s son offered the tomb to the state of Ohio in 1871. Today, the tomb has 24 vaults that hold the bodies of Harrison’s wife and other family members. Visitors to the tomb can admire the architecture and learn more about this family’s impact on American history.

William Howard Taft National Historic Site

Another site that president enthusiasts appreciate is the William Howard Taft National Historic Site. The National Park Service established this site in 1969 so that visitors could tour the birthplace and childhood home of the 27th U.S. president. It features Greek revival architecture and features the home as it looked when Taft lived in it, allowing visitors to learn more about the environment that cultivated the former president’s character.

Visitors can also visit the site’s educational center to view more exhibits about the Taft family. For instance, you can learn about Helen Taft’s support for her husband and lasting impact on the first lady position.

Betts House

The Betts House is the oldest brick house in Ohio. It was built in 1804 and stands on its original site thanks to rigorous restoration efforts. Visitors can explore the house and view exhibits on architecture, building technologies, and the art of historic preservation. For an extra fee, you can take a guided tour of the neighborhood to view the exterior of other historic homes and learn more about the street’s history.

St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption

The St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption attained its basilica title because of its historical significance. Camillus Paul Maes, the third bishop of the Diocese of Covington, started construction in 1894 and modeled the building after the Notre Dame de Paris. Though construction ceased in 1915, the cathedral remains unfinished. Visitors are often in awe upon arrival because of the exterior that captures the essence of Gothic architecture.

The interior is just as beautiful as 82 stained glass windows refract the light. One of these stained glass windows happens to be the largest of its kind in the world. You’ll also see the gold-plated tabernacle set with semiprecious gems.

Harriet Beecher Stowe House

The Harriet Beecher Stowe House, originally built for Dr. Lyman Beecher, the president of Lane Seminary, today honors his daughter Harriet Beecher Stowe and her activism for African American rights. Perhaps most notably, Stowe wrote the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852 to convince readers of the necessity of ending slavery. During tours of the house, visitors can learn about Stowe’s activism, the Underground Railroad, and other aspects of African American history.

Fort Ancient State Memorial

Fort Ancient is a Native American earthworks complex that became Ohio’s first state park in 1891. It was built over 2,000 years ago and served as a ceremonial gathering place for tribes. Visitors can take guided hiking tours to view ceremonial mounds and an 18,000-foot earthen wall. There’s also a museum that features artifacts like tools made from stone and bone.

Waldschmidt Homestead Historical Site

Revolutionary War soldier Christian Waldschmidt built a home in 1804 that would eventually become the Waldschmidt Homestead Historical Site in 1953. Waldschmidt lived here, where he contributed to the area’s history by funding a paper mill and blacksmith shop. General Joshua Bates made this building his headquarters during the Civil War. Today, visitors can appreciate the home’s Pennsylvania Dutch architecture and Americana memorabilia.

Do you know of other Cincinnati historic sites that deserve to be on this list? Let us know here at Performance Kings Honda, as we’re always looking to learn more about our city’s rich history and let our customers know where they should check out while in the area.

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