I think, I hope, it’s clear from this issue’s cover and 40 pages of hoopla inside that we’re excited to celebrate Cincinnati Magazine’s 50th birthday this month. Fifty years is a notable milestone, and a natural opportunity for reflection.
So our staff and contributors take time in this issue to reflect on how Cincinnati has grown, changed, adapted, morphed, hiccupped, and stumbled along from 1967 to today. The Cincinnati of the late ’60s was certainly a different time and yet, in many ways, wouldn’t be totally unrecognizable today. I was struck reading an introductory column in Cincinnati Magazine’s Volume 1 Issue 1, where hope for a better future mixed with sobering reality, if not quiet anxiety about “Cincinnati at a crossroads.” It’s as apt a description of the city circa 2017 as I could write myself.
“The city, at this particular point in its own growth and development, simply begs for a voice. Cincinnati Magazine will be that voice,” wrote Thomas Stainback, a Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce VP who served as our first Publisher. “It will speak about the city with truth and candor, with excitement, and with the only valid basis for excitement: a reflection on the true reason behind it.” In this issue, Polk Laffoon IV reflects on Cincinnati’s 50-year journey with people who led and witnessed much of our collective history. His story is a bookend of sorts to one he wrote 41 years ago titled “How Provincial Are We, Really?” Again, are things all that different today?
“I think of the little things, so often overlooked, that make life here sparkle: the triangles of flowers planted by the Park Board, the corporately sponsored concerts in the parks, the abundance of bakeries that time has not (yet) abolished,” he wrote in April 1976. “The urban flavor is as raw as Findlay Market and as refined as Graeter’s ice cream.”
The Chamber got out of the magazine business in 1981, and three publishing companies have owned Cincinnati Magazine since, including the current owner, Hour Media. I’m proud to follow such distinguished Editors-in-Chief as Jean Spencer, J. Patrick O’Connor, Laura Pulfer, Kitty Morgan, and Jay Stowe. I hope to build on the contributions they made over these past 50 years. And I plan to continue reflecting on the true reasons behind our excitement about Cincinnati.