Recollections of Full Years

Recollections of Full Years

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Recollections of Full Years

Recollections of Full Years

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Excerpt

CINCINNATI, the city of my birth and early memories, was, in the 'sixties, about as begrimed and noisy and altogether unattractive as any place well could be; yet it possessed certain attributes which really entitled it to the proud designation of "The Queen City of the West."

It was prosperous; it had hardly yet been surpassed in prosperity by Chicago; Cleveland was not even spoken of as a rival; and in many ways it was the most important centre west of New York and east of the Mississippi.

It owed its early development principally to its advantageous location. It lay on the great central route from the East to the West, which runs from Baltimore and Washington to Cumberland and over the Alleghenies to Pittsburg, thence by the Ohio River to Cincinnati and on west to St. Louis and south to New Orleans. It had an important trade with New Orleans and drew commerce from a large territory to the north. But whatever else may be said of it, its most devoted citizen could not claim that Cincinnati was beautiful. Its buildings were unlovely; its streets were badly paved and as badly kept; and it lay under a pall of soft coal smoke which left its sooty mark upon everything -- inhabitants included.

Yet, ugly as it was, the city boasted an unusual society. During the first half of the nineteenth century many young men of good stock and great ability, drawn by the promise of rapid advancement, had moved to Cincinnati from all parts of the East and South; New Jersey, New England, Virginia and Kentucky contributing, perhaps, the greatest number. There were many families of wealth and culture which, without parade or display, maintained fine homes and dispensed a generous hospitality. The suburbs . . .

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