American Legacy Tours - located at 1218 Vine Street in Cincinnati’s historic Over the Rhine (OTR) - has continued to gain popularity, media attention and distinction since their opening in 2008. The company, founded by a small group of friends, offers a diverse range of engaging walking tours through Cincinnati Heritage, legend and folklore. These tours, which are facilitated from well-dressed and well-versed tour guides, indeed “make history engaging and entertaining for everyone,” as their mission statement proudly boasts.
Their newest attraction, the Queen City Ultimate Underground Tour, which opened April 27, 2013, plunges history enthusiasts even deeper into Cincinnati Brewing History. Guided by expert storytelling, this tour explores even more historic locations including the Christian Moerlein bottling plant, the old John Kauffman Brewing Company, St. Paul Church (built 1848) and crypts located under the St. Francis Seraph Roman Catholic Church.
The German Brewing history of Over the Rhine, which once included 23 active breweries in operation, was an “economic engine” that had “an undeniable impact on the city’s economy,” according to local author & historian, Michael D. Morgan. Cincinnati breweries, in addition to their economic impact, would establish deep-rooted social, political and cultural legacies, which in many cases are still visible today if one is able to search in the right places.
Most incredible about the Ultimate Queen City Underground Tour is how it serves a dual purpose - blending history with advocacy at the same time. Tour goers are not only able to walk into old buildings but gain a heightened appreciation for how Historic Preservation and Historic Places in OTR are being reactivated through local efforts from organizations like 3CDC and OTR Adopt.
“Here’s to Cincinnati, the Queen of the West, a dirty old city, yet still nobly blessed. For it’s here that the fine arts and frivolous ‘twine, a veritable Deutschland, just over the Rhine. The warmest greetings from all whom we meet, and a good draught of beer every ten or twelve feet.” - Common 19th/early 20th Century Toast, recited during Ultimate Queen City Underground Tour
Credits: Data linked to sources. Photographs by Geoff Bliss.