Going Underground

The day after the Old West Fest, we had booked the Queen City Underground Tour through American Legacy Tours.  We had actually purchased a 2-for-1 Groupon a while back that needed using, and I was pretty excited to check out a tour that was ranked as one of the top five underground tours by National Geographic.  We were with a fairly large tour group on a Sunday morning, and we began the tour by strolling through Over-the-Rhine (OTR), which is home to America's largest set of historical landmarks.  We learned about some of the saloons and theaters that had been in this area and listened to stories about the history of the city.

If you're not familiar with the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati, this is believed to be the largest, most intact urban historic district in the US.  Its name comes from its builders and early residents, German immigrants of the mid-19th century.  They walked to work across bridges over the Miami and Erie Canal which once separated the area from downtown Cincinnati.  This canal was nicknamed 'the Rhine' in a reference to the Rhine River in Germany. 

We walked through a derelict building into a courtyard and learned about the previous tenants from decades past.  This was a tenement building that had been used by the early German immigrants that worked in the numerous breweries of Over-the-Rhine. We also learned about 3CDC, a company who is working to revitalize Cincinnati's downtown urban neighborhoods by purchasing these decrepit buildings for future development. They have already done some fantastic work and are continuing to do their part to enhance Cincinnati's downtown. 
We walked down the street and entered the St. Francis Seraph Roman Catholic Church.  
The church was built on the site of a Catholic cemetery. The remains of Cincinnati's first residents were reburied in a hidden crypt below the church and tombstones were used to pave the floor. 

 We had a brief respite in the church then headed to our next destination. 
Which involved walking down a very steep staircase into a hole in the ground.  
And then we were truly underground.
We had some time to explore these old brewery tunnels that had been used to store beer before refrigeration. This area was the heart of Cincinnati's beer brewing industry.  I can't remember the exact statistics, but it was something like at one point there were more breweries in this neighborhood than in the entire state of Ohio.

The tour ended in the Christian Moerlein Tap Room, which established its first brewing company in OTR in 1853. 

We were definitely ready for lunch by the time the tour wrapped up, so we headed over to Tacocracy. Love the 'gourmet taco' craze!
 I was so excited to see that nearly half of their menu was vegetarian, so we tried one of each taco. Loved 'em all.


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