Cincinnati Observed

Architecture and History

John Clubbe

Urban Life and Urban Landscape



531 pp. 6x9


“At long last here is an engaging and informative portrait of Cincinnati’s architecture, history, and cultural traditions. . . . It is a must read for travel buffs, architectural enthusiasts and urban historians alike.” —Ohio History

Cincinnati Observed: Architecture and History offers a series of walking tours that comprise a comprehensive guide to the city’s architecture, institutions, and landscape. Here John Clubbe offers friendly insight into how the places and people that make a city interact to form a vibrant urban environment.

Beautifully situated on a series of large bends in the Ohio River, Cincinnati boasts an impressive array of buildings, neighborhoods, parks, and bridges. Beginning with Fountain Square and gradually moving away from downtown, tours focus on places, on history, and on cultural traditions—from the Art Museum to Riverfront Stadium, from the Cincinnati Zoo to the Riverbend Pavilion, from Skyline chili to the “gorilla” delicatessen. We learn about important landmarks, but we also examine ordinary objects—lampposts, cast-iron storefronts, street signs—that constitute the texture of Cincinnati’s streetscape. As we walk the city’s diverse neighborhoods—downtown, Over-the-Rhine, Mount Adams, and many others—Clubbe offers witty commentary on how we can make sense of all this diversity.

Although Cincinnati is his focus, Clubbe diverges at appropriate points to discuss the wonders that cities have to offer, the ways they grow and the kinds of parks they develop, the importance of museums to city life.

With practical information and thoughtful comments throughout, Cincinnati Observed can be enjoyed by both actual and “armchair” walkers and by residents and tourists alike.

John Clubbe is Professor of English at the University of Kentucky. A native of New York, he has been an indefatigable explorer of cities in America, Britain, and Europe and a voracious reader of the literature of cities.