Cincinnati has so much history and as a native to the area, it can be easy to take that history for granted. I’ve really enjoyed taking various tours around the city because it’s opened my eyes to all of the details that I’ve overlooked as a local.
My husband and I took the Queen City Underground Tour because we really enjoy learning more about the area and also getting the opportunity to view places that are not normally accessible to the public.
Here is an overall description of the tour from the American Legacy website.
Enjoy a stroll through Over-the-Rhine, home to America’s largest set of historical landmarks. Visit buildings in the Gateway District that were home to over 130 saloons, bars, beer gardens, and theaters that hosted iconic entertainers like Buffalo Bill Cody. Then, descend below the city streets to a hidden crypt where some of Cincinnati’s first residents were buried. Next return underground to explore newly discovered tunnels vital to Cincinnati’s brewery heritage. Finally end the tour with a visit to the Christian Moerlein bottling plant and tap room.
Our tour began with an introduction about the area of Over the Rhine and what the city was like during pre and post prohibition times.
Cincinnati has the largest collection of Italianate architecture outside of Italy which adds another dimension to the tour because you see incredible buildings and also learn about their history.
The location pictured below has a great story about how Annie Oakley got her nickname and how she started her career.
During the tour, we also learned about what living conditions were like when Over the Rhine was at the height of its population.
We visited an area that would have housed multiple family members in tight quarters.
During that time, 10-12 people would live in a 2 bedroom apartment and Cincinnati competed with New York for the most densely populated cities.
A lot of the older buildings were detailed with iron. Cincinnati made 90% of the iron for the French Quarter.
We also visited the site of a former church that experienced a fire.
The inside was so incredible and the walls tell stories of their former glory.
I was really excited about the part of the tour where we were going to go inside a crypt beneath St. Francis Seraph Church.
Our guide shared history about the church in the courtyard before we went inside.
The inside of the church is absolutely beautiful!
The crypt is located directly underneath the altar.
This is just something that you don’t get to do everyday.
The bodies were formerly in an Irish cemetery. There are 100 in a mass grave under the altar and 38 of them were identified.
The tour’s final destination was the lager tunnels located underneath the Christian Moerlein taproom.
Cincinnati doubled the national average for beer consumption during pre prohibition times.
The Christian Moerlein Taproom is held in the former John Koffman Brewery that was in operation until the early 1900’s. The steps led us to the Koffman lager tunnels. These tunnels were dug out by hand in the 1860’s.
3/4 of the barrels produced in Cincinnati never went more than I mile from the brewery.
The temperature in the lager tunnels stayed around 55 degrees all year. Lager ferments around 40 degrees so they would run chilled water in copper pipes along the ceiling to bring down the temperature even more.
We really enjoyed the tour. We learned so much and our tour guide Craig did a great job.
The tour lasts between 90 minutes to 2 hours and cost $20 per person.
You can find out more about the Queen City Underground Tour from the American Legacy Tour website.
Tours begin at 1332 Vine Street Cincinnati OH, 45202
Disclosure: I was given complimentary tours for review purposes. All opinions are my own.