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The History of Cincinnati


As told through the eyes of German Immigrant Teenagers in 1879


Meet Johann and Maria Hackman. It’s October 1879 and Johann and Maria arrived in Cincinnati 5 months ago. Their father Heinrich had arrived in 1876 and had finally saved enough money for his wife, Sophia, and his children to be able to join him in Cincinnati. They had boarded a ship in Hanover Germany in April and after a three week journey aboard a crowded and dirty ship they arrive in the old, decaying immigration port in the battery section of New York City that would be replaced by Ellis Island 12 years later. After staying with relatives in New York for a month they finally secured seats on a train to Pittsburg Pennsylvania where they boarded a boat and arrived in Cincinnati on June 1, 1879.


This tour is a walking tour through the German neighborhood known as Over the Rhine, an area where teenagers like Johann and Maria would have lived.


On this tour we will talk about:

Where might Johann and Maria have hung out with their friends.

What did they do for fun?

Where might they have attended church?

What was the social club , the Germania Society, where they would have gone with their parents.

How did they communicate and learn English?

Did they have to walk through the creepy cemetery across from the new Music Hall to school every morning?

Where did they live and how big was their apartment?

What was it like living in OTR in 1879?

What did they eat? What did they drink?

Where did their parents shop?

What was the Know Nothing Party (originally called the American Party) and why were they so anti-immigration and particularly anti German? What prejudices did Johann and Maria face?

What was the Turner Society? What was Saengerfest?

What were the typical occupations of Germans?

What about neighbors that lived in worked in OTR and became famous artists such as Henry Farny, Maria Longworth Storer, JP Ball?


Cincinnati history is fascinating! Come join me as we learn local history through the eyes of a brother and sister.



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