From Ohio History Central
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During the nineteenth century, Cincinnati continued to grow. The Ohio River provided Cincinnati residents with numerous business opportunities. Hotels, restaurants, and taverns quickly opened to meet the needs of settlers traveling westward on the Ohio River. Steamboats were manufactured and repaired in the city. Farmers brought their crops to the city to send down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, Louisiana, one of Ohio's major markets. The Miami and Erie Canal made the trip from western Ohio to Cincinnati much easier and less expensive for local farmers. In the early 1800s, Cincinnati developed into an important meatpacking center. Farmers brought their livestock to the city, where it was slaughtered, processed, and sold to western settlers or shipped to various markets. Beginning in the 1830s, ethnic Germans began to settle in Cincinnati. During this time period, Cincinnati was becoming the pork-processing center of the United States. Because of Cincinnati's association with meatpacking, the city became known as the "Porkopolis" of the United States.
Cincinnati also played an important role in the intellectual and cultural development of Ohio during the first half of the nineteenth century. In 1819, Daniel Drake established the Medical College of Ohio, hoping to improve medical care on the frontier. Numerous literary figures, including Harriet Beecher Stowe
� The author of "Uncle tom's Cabin," called Cincinnati home for at least part of their lives. German and Irish immigrants mixed with Americans from both North and South to create a very diverse and worldly population.
Some residents opposed the activities of other people in the city and actively campaigned to reform the community. The temperance movement targeted the Germans and the Irish, who were alleged to be well-known for their supposedly heavy drinking. Ohio abolitionists utilized Cincinnati to campaign against slavery. Located directly across the Ohio River from Kentucky, a slaveholding state, Cincinnati abolitionists published newspapers and anti-slavery tracts, hoping to convince their slaveholding neighbors to free their slaves. Participants in the Underground Railroad also smuggled runaway slaves across the Ohio River to potential freedom in the North. Not all white Ohioans supported the abolitionists. Many of these people feared that, if slavery ended, they would face competition from the freed African Americans. Race riots sometimes occurred, especially if whites feared that African Americans were gaining too much power or were infringing upon white opportunities. In 1829, one such riot occurred in Cincinnati, because Irish immigrants disliked competition from the African-American community. During the Civil War, most residents supported the United States, but a sizable number of people went south to fight for the Confederacy. Cincinnati served as a major recruiting and organization center for the United States military during the Civil War. The city's businesses thrived, as they provided supplies to the soldiers and housing for both the soldiers and their families. Various charity organizations also were present in the city to help soldiers and their families, including the United States Sanitary Commission and the United States Christian Commission.
Despite this cultural and economic growth, not all residents are able to enjoy the benefits of living within Cincinnati's borders. Within the city's boundaries reside people of all socio-economic backgrounds. Some residents enjoy life in upscale communities, but many residents live in lower-income areas, including Over-the-Rhine and the Laurel Homes, the largest public housing project in the United States. Many downtown businesses moved to the suburbs beginning in the 1950s, and wealthier residents went with them. Residents who could not afford to move with the companies experienced a shortage of jobs. This made it difficult for some people to experience the city's numerous benefits. In recent years, Cincinnati officials have made dramatic efforts to revitalize the downtown area, providing local residents with additional opportunities.
[[Category:Exploration To Statehood]]