Cincinnati, Ohio, founded in 1788, was originally named Losantiville, or “town opposite the mouth of the Licking River.” A mere two years later, however, the Governor of the Northwest Territory, General Arthur St. Clair, renamed the city Cincinnati, in honor of an organization of Revolutionary War officers, the Society of Cincinnati.
Once the official name was settled, Cincinnati’s rapid growth in the early 1800s precipitated several nicknames; one of its most revered being the Queen City. As steamboats helped Cincinnati become the chief port on the Ohio River, the city shipped goods to both the Eastern U.S. and to foreign countries. The city, the fastest growing in the nation between 1835 and the 1850s, became the largest city in Ohio and the largest city in the Midwest prior to the Civil War.
Some sources report that it was the city’s proud citizens themselves who first proclaimed their magnificent home “The Queen City” or the “Queen of the West.” Long before marketing slogans and organized chambers of commerce, the residents themselves decided their grand and glorious city was regal. By 1826, co-authors Benjamin Drake and Edward Mansfield referred to city as the “Queen of the West” in their book, Cincinnati. Then in 1854, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned "Catawba Wine," which memorialized Cincinnati’s vineyards. In the last stanza of his poem, he refers to Cincinnati as the “Queen of the West.”
In the years following, the Queen City was given many other monikers. As Cincinnati became famous as a pork packing center in the mid 1800s, it was often called “Porkopolis.” It had surpassed both Dublin and Belfast as the world’s primary pork packing centers and was chief supplier of salt pork to the British Navy. During the same time period, residents still boasting their pride also referred to their Queen City as “the London of America.” When music, arts, a university and professional baseball entered the city’s complexion in the 1870s, the Queen City was also known as “the Paris of America.”
Many businesses and products adopted the Queen City moniker for their products and companies. Clubs, manufacturers, stores and medical groups still use Queen City in their names. Cincinnati is no longer the largest city in Ohio. Columbus, the capital, now holds that title. Now that Cincinnati celebrated its Bicentennial in 1988, newer nicknames include Cincinnati USA, which refers to the Greater Cincinnati region, encompassing a 15-county region that includes three states, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.
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