In an attempt to bring order to chaos, Dr. Know illuminates the history of our not-very-regular grid of streets in this answer from the September 2012 issue.
Why do Cincinnati’s downtown numbered streets end at 15th Street in Over-the-Rhine, but pick up again at 64th Street in Elmwood Place? Did they run out of people to name streets after? Are there really 49 streets between the two?—Counting and CuriousDear Counting:The Doctor directs you to the Cincinnati ethno-cultural-topographic map with which you are most comfortable and asks you to look at the situation. The orderly street grid that the Romans invented for their army camps and which 19th-century Chicago and New York took to their municipal bosoms never stood a chance in a city that was cobbled together in a valley tortured by rivers, freshets, swamps, bogs, fens, and wadis. Somebody, perhaps a schoolteacher, estimated where a numbered grid—if a numbered grid could have been imposed—would have picked up had it been continued all the way to Elmwood Place and Carthage. Although if you count, you will, the Doctor expects, find more than 49 streets between Over-the-Rhine and Elmwood Place. And there are tons of deserving Cincinnatians (e.g. Roy Rogers and Harriet Beecher Stowe) without even an alley to their name. If you’re looking for a nomenclature cause, why don’t you agitate for the restoration of the Abigail and Woodward street names to the Pendleton reaches of 12th and 13th Streets. It would take some of the sting out of having moved the Woodward school name away from the Woodwards’ graves on Broadway.
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