Over-the-Rhine, Ohio

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Over-the-Rhine is a Cincinnati, Ohio neighborhood located north of downtown. Approximately half of the neighborhood was incorporated into the city in 1802. The area really began to expand in the late 1820s with the construction of the Miami and Erie Canal that formed the boundaries of the neighborhood to the south and west. A number of industries were attracted to the community because it was close to the canal and many people moved into the area. Over-the-Rhine became an ethnic neighborhood, and almost one-half of its residents were German immigrants. The area got its name because some local residents said that crossing over the Miami and Erie Canal was like crossing the Rhine River into Germany.

By the mid-nineteenth century, Over-the-Rhine had become an important center of German immigrant culture with its own churches, clubs, and German-language newspapers. The community had strong industrial and business interests, including wagon and carriage factories, iron works, and breweries. The immigrants were not always fully accepted by other people in Cincinnati. Some local residents felt threatened by the immigrants and blamed them for many of the city's problems. Anti-German sentiment became violent in 1855, when a mob tried to invade the neighborhood. Armed German-American militia units pushed the crowd back.

In the latter part of the nineteenth century, anti-German sentiment declined in the city but was revived once again by American involvement in World War I. City residents changed German street names, banned the teaching of German in schools, and removed German-language publications from libraries.

After World War II, the neighborhood declined and became the home of many economically disadvantaged people. For years, the city's attempts to revitalize the area had only limited success. There has been a renewed interest in preservation of historic buildings in recent years. As of this writing, Findlay Market has been revitalized, and several educational and entertainment venues, including the Cincinnati Art Academy and the School for Creative and Performing Arts have relocated or are in the process of moving to the community.


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