(sĭnsӘnăt'ē, –năt'Ә), city (1990 pop. 364,040), seat of Hamilton co., extreme SW Ohio, on the Ohio River opposite Newport and Covington, Ky.; inc. as a city 1819. The third largest city in the state, Cincinnati is the industrial, commercial, and cultural center for an extensive area including numerous suburbs in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. It is also a port with a large riverfront and good transportation facilities. Machinery; consumer goods; transportation, electric, and electronic equipment; musical instruments; metal goods; and packaged meats are among its manufactures; banking and finance also are important.
Cincinnati was founded in 1788 as Losantiville; in 1790 Arthur St. Clair, the first governor of the Northwest Territory, renamed it for the Society of Cincinnati, a group of Revolutionary War officers. It was the first seat of the legislature of the Northwest Territory. After the opening of the Ohio and Erie Canal (c.1832), the city developed as a shipper of farm products and meat. Built on and below “seven hills,” it became known for its German-influenced cultural life. Corruption, crime, and unrest plagued late-19th-century Cincinnati; a reform movement culminated in the establishment (1924) of the city-manager type of government (notable managers were Clarence A. Dykstra and Clarence O. Sherrill). Disastrous flooding struck the city in 1884 and again in 1937, after which major flood-control projects were undertaken. In the 21st cent. the city's downtown and riverfront has undergone a revitalization, with the construction of new business and residential buildings and park facilities.
William Howard Taft and his son Robert A. Taft were born here. Cincinnati's landmarks include the Taft Museum; Eden Park, with the Cincinnati Art Museum; the Cincinnati Museum Center in the former Union Terminal; and the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art. The Univ. of Cincinnati, Edgecliff College, Xavier Univ., and several other educational institutions are in Cincinnati. The city is home to the Cincinnati Reds, the nation's oldest professional baseball team, and the Bengals football team.