Cincinnati is Ohio's third largest city and the largest metro region. It lies on the north bank of the Ohio River in Southwest Ohio in the United States of America. Known as the "Queen City" or "Queen of the West," Cincinnati was the only 19th century American city that left a favorable impression on the then 30-year-old English author Charles Dickens. “Cincinnati is a beautiful city; cheerful, thriving, and animated,” Dickens wrote in “American Notes.” “I have not often seen a place that commends itself so favorably and pleasantly to a stranger at the first glance as this does: with its clean houses of red and white, its well-paved roads, and foot-ways of bright tile. Nor does it become less prepossessing on a closer acquaintance.”
Formerly known as Losantiville, the city was renamed Cincinnati by the first governor of the Northwest Territory, Arthur St. Clair, in honor of George Washington at the end of the Revolutionary War. Roman consul Cincinnatus gave up the Emperorship of Rome to become a farmer after having been an immensely successful general, much like the way George Washington gave up the presidency after 2 terms. The city's early economy was based on the pork industry, and this was celebrated in the summer of 2000 with the Big Pig Gig, during which large flying pig statues took up residence along the city's main thoroughfares. Many of these pig statues later found homes downtown in offices, parks and even private residences. The Miami and Erie canal was completed in the 1840s, and was used to transport hogs and butchered pork products to Cincinnati from much of western Ohio. During this time period massive waves of Germans settled into the city populating neighborhoods which at their height in the late 1800s were some of the most densely populated outside of New York City. These German immigrants built a culture based off of beer gardens, beer brewing, dance and music halls giving Cincinnati a very distinct and vibrant local culture. Unfortunately very little remains from this era due to the double whammy of World War I anti-German backlash and prohibition combined with massive depopulation of the city's core in the mid 20th Century. Lately, with the beginnings of revitalization of the Downtown Basin neighborhoods, there has been a renewed interest in this heritage and some of it can be seen to this day in faded German signs on densely built ornate Victorian buildings in Over-The-Rhine, a high per-capita number of bars, and the celebration of large German festivals such Bockfest, Mayfest, and Oktoberfest.