Sunday, March 10, 2002

Symposium a time machine back to 1800s Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        “In the number of her manufacturing establishments, Cincinnati is second only to Philadelphia; in the excellence of their products, she yields to none in the Land.”

        — D.J. Kenny, Illustrated Cincinnati, 1875

        This may be the closest you can get to a time machine in the city: “Full Steam Ahead: Cincinnati Industries in the 19th Century.”

        It's a symposium on Saturday on what the Queen City was like in your great-grandparents' day, back when cows sometimes escaped from slaughterhouses and ran loose in the city. OK, so maybe that's not so different, but other aspects of Cincinnati have changed since Mark Twain was last here.

    What: “Full Steam Ahead: Cincinnati Industries in the 19th Century,” a symposium
    When: 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday; registration begins at 9:45 a.m.
    Where: Trinity Episcopal Church, 326 Madison Ave., Covington
    Cost: $20, $15 for members of the Victorian Society; includes a catered lunch. Reservations and payment are required in advance. Mail to ORVC, c/o Anne Tabor, 345 Cedar Drive, Loveland, OH 45140. Reservation deadline is Thursday. Information: (513) 829-3483
        For instance, maybe you've heard of the “seven hills'' of Cincinnati, but did you know it once also had five incline railroads, including one in Clifton Heights?

        John H. White Jr., a native Cincinnatian and former curator of transportation at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., will speak at the seminar on the incline railroads, which allowed workers to commute by streetcar from the surrounding hilltop neighborhoods.

        An authority on trains and an adjunct professor of history at Miami University, Mr. White also has written a book on the excursion steamboat Island Queen, which once ferried people to and from Coney Island.

        Other speakers at the symposium, which is sponsored by the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the Victorian Society in America, are:

        • Mary Alice Burke, who wrote a book on the Impressionist painter Elizabeth Nourse and another one called Cincinnati Pioneers on the Rawson family, who owned a meat-packing plant on Spring Grove Avenue. She will speak on “Cincinnati's Wood-carving Movement,” which she has been researching for a Cincinnati Art Museum exhibit in 2003. Examples orm part of the interior of Covington's Trinity Episcopal Church, where the seminar will be held.

        • Dr. Stuart Blersch, professor of English at the University of Cincinnati, whose topic is “Roll the Presses! Printing and Publishing in 19th-century Cincinnati.”

        “Steam transportation — boats — put Cincinnati at the right place at the right time to supply books to the expanding West,” Dr. Blersch said. But “the same steam that brought us so much success eventually let other centers — Chicago and St. Louis — pass us by because they shipped by train instead of steamboats.”

        • Cornelius Hauck, who has written on the history of automobile manufacturers, will speak on early automobile builders in Cincinnati.

        • James Bruckmann, a descendant of the local Bruckmann brewery family, who will talk on “Foam, Sweet Foam: Beer-brewing in 19th-century Cincinnati.”

        • June Engelbrecht, a member of the Society of Architectural Historians, who has presented her research on Procter & Gamble's 1885 Ivorydale factory at the group's national conference.


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