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Pioneer Times 2014

History Through Miniatures

By Kathy Cummings

It had been several years since we had been to the Cincinnati History Museum located in Museum Center. Our original plan was to view the Christmas train display that has been presented since 1946 (See last slide show below) .

But the museum wisely had visitors circle through the main displays before reaching the seasonal display. It was there that we spent most of our time, in the display entitled Cincinnati in Motion. What a great way for a city to remember it’s history than through this miniature display of the city from 1900 through the 1940’s.

There was the bustling riverfront with its paddlewheelers like The Island Queen, famous buildings like Music Hall, and the old Crosley Field, the home to the Cincinnati Reds from 1912 thru 1970. The public landing is there along with the Roebling Suspension Bridge, and even the historic Union Terminal - the very building in which you are standing. Proctor and Gam bell’s Ivorydale plant, Spring Grove Cemetery, the second largest cemetery in the country and the engineering feat - the Incline up to Mt. Adams.

And through this whole display were the trains - the transportation of the era, moving people and goods in a bustling economy.


The Museum Center - originally Union Station- the train station that served Cincinnati from 1933 to 1972. An Art Deco marvel opened in 1933 and streamlined transportation. Before Union Terminal individual train companies each had their own facilities making connecting train travel difficult.


The Island Queen - from the original to it’s many successors transported Cincinnatians from The Public Landing in downtown out to the east side of town where the amusement park “Coney Island” thrilled families for generations.


An overview of the bustling city with it’s bridges and train transportation.


The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge was built in the 1860’s and was formally opened on January 1, 1867. The bridge is still open today and connects Cincinnati with Covington, KY. Roebling later gained more attention for The Brooklyn Bridge which is similar in structure although longer. In reality Roebling died shortly after starting the Brooklyn project and was succeeded by his son Washington Roebling who’s crews finished that project in 1883.


Music Hall - Built in 1878 with private money raised from what is believed to be the nation’s first matching grant fund drive, this classic entertainment venue is considered one of the best and most beautiful concert theaters in the world, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975.


Crosley Field - Home of the Cincinnati Reds from 1912 to 1970.


The second open display was “Cincinnati Goes to War” and was a glimpse back to family life in the 1940’s. A replica house with signs of the times - the all important family radio - and the kitchen so typical of the times with it’s small refrigerator with the motor on top. But most heart rendering was the scene of a messenger coming to deliver the dreaded telegram that so many families received during the World War II years.

Cincinnati Goes to War


See these photos and more in a slideshow from our visit to the The Museum Center.

The Christmas Train Display


In 1946 in partnership with The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, a Christmas Train display was mounted in the lobby of The Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company in Cincinnati. Children and adults gathered each year for the spectacular show. It became an annual part of the Christmas season for families to visit CG&E. The display grew through the late 1940’s especially into the 1950’s and 60’s as each year families flocked to the train display.

In 2011 Duke Energy (formerly CG&E) gifted the train display to the Museum Center so it could be continued to be enjoyed by children of all ages. It is on display from November through early January each year.


See these photos and more in a slideshow from our visit to the The Museum Center.

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