Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Over-the-Rhine - Part 2

Over-the-Rhine - Part 1 (October 7, 2013)

In the summer of 1989, I lived on West McMicken Avenue in Cincinnati.  W.Mc. is a main street through the Over-the-Rhine district until it crosses Vine Street and becomes East McMicken.  I lived on the fringe of this part of the city where this street intersects West McMillan Street that leads up to the University of Cincinnati. 

I lived in a house with other male college students on summer break so I was both fearless and somewhat clueless about living in this sketchy part of town.  The rent was cheap and that was significant.  There was a local bar across the street named The Play Pen that the police visited often in the late hours and although my roommates heard gunshots in the evenings, I never did. 

These were the streets I was running.  Not too dangerous during the day
and it's easy to see that this area had potential.
In those days, I was a college rugby player.  I spent hours in the morning running the streets of the OTR and Clifton while I listened to my R.E.M. and Echo and the Bunnymen cassettes on my Walkman.  Even back then I had goals and dreams of buying and renovating run down properties so I saw the entire Over-the-Rhine part of the city as a neighborhood with tremendous potential.  Not only were these blocks loaded with solid, well-built brick buildings, but this area had unique history that included a time when Central Parkway was the Miami & Erie Canal that ran from the Ohio River up to the Great Lakes. 

The Canal that established the southern border of the Over-the-Rhine
before the Subway Tunnels and Central Parkway.
So as I ran those streets and trained for my sport, I fell in love with the Over-the-Rhine.  Now, years later I'm sad that we didn't get together.  I never got my chance to take on an old building in the OTR, but I enjoy checking in on the area from my home in South Carolina.  I'm excited that things are happening up there.  I'm happy for this special district and glad for Cincinnati.  Although I'm sorry to be missing out on the OTR revitalization, I'm excited to see it happening and envious of the developers, investors, and contractors that are there making it happen without me.

Over-the-Rhine today
My dreams have lead me away from The Queen City.  I'm reading the news of the progress happening in the OTR and now looking forward to the day I can visit to see how the area has been rediscovered.  And maybe, I'll be able to share this special neighborhood with my family someday down the road, and we can walk the streets admiring the architecture after lunch at the new Over-the-Rhine Skyline Chili.  I love and miss Cincinnati.


  1. Wow I can't believe how much it has changed! It looks so great and I'm jealous too :) SKYLINE CHILI! haven't had it in 15 years. Now I feel homesick all of the sudden..

    1. At one time, Charleston was the rice capital of the world. So I've gotten used to eating a lot more rice. Anyway, I put some Skyline on rice once w/ the cheese...mixing a little of my past w/ my was THE BEST! Grab a couple cans from Kroger next time your back and give it a try. I promise, it is some good stuff.