Walking Tour of the Queen City, Pt. 3

(continued) I've already related on this blog some of the early highlights of my recent walking tour of Cincinnati, enjoyed with my cousin George and his wife Jeanne. The midway point on our journey (certainly the farthest east we traveled on our trek) may have been the Taft Museum.

The Taft Museum is officially (and exhaustively) the Baum-Longworth-Sinton-Taft House, a National Historic Landmark built about 1820 for Martin Baum. It is the oldest domestic wooden structure still standing in the area and is considered one of the finest examples of Federal architecture in the Palladian style in the country. Other residents of this striking home included prominent politician and Speaker of the House, Nicholas Longworth, who by marrying Alice Roosevelt became son-in-law to President Theodore Roosevelt. After Longworth's residency, the home was purchased by David Sinton, father of museum co-founder, Anna Sinton Taft. Anna Taft lived in the mansion with her husband Charles Phelps Taft from 1873 until their respective deaths in 1931 and 1929. In 1908, Charles Phelps Taft's half-brother, William Howard Taft accepted the nomination for U. S. president underneath the house's portico. The Tafts bequeathed their historic home and private collection of 690 works of art to the people of Cincinnati in 1927, and it opened as the Taft Museum in 1932.

From there, we walked westward through Lytle Park (and its oversized statue of Abraham Lincoln) to Great American Ballpark.

After viewing the art deco majesty of Union Terminal, Carew Tower, and Dixie Terminal, it was fitting to be greeted by the baseball-themed art deco relief at the entrance to the ballpark's plaza.

Built on land overlapping the site of Riverfront Stadium, the ballpark officially opened for the 2003 season, making 2010 its eighth big-league season. We happened to be there the morning after the Reds clinched the NL Central Division Championship.

Passing the long-awaited construction on the massive mixed use construction project called The Banks, we walked by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which opened in 2004, and is well worth a visit....though we didn't stop on this trip, the lovely Robin and I had visited previously.

On our way back past the Carew Tower, we ducked into the resplendent Hilton Netherland Plaza (formerly Omni Netherland, formerly Netherland Hilton) Hotel. This National Historic Landmark opened in 1931 and is another breathtaking example of art deco design. Rare Brazilian rosewood paneling, indirect German silver-nickel light fixture, soaring ceiling murals, and exquisite details make this a place worth visiting, which we did briefly.

A short walk from the Netherland took us to the Plum Street Temple. Constructed in 1866 in the Byzantine-Moorish style, Plum Street Temple is one of only two temples of this style in America and is the fountainhead of Reform Judaism in America (in the founding of which Cincinnati played a central role). It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975.

(to be continued)

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