December 06, 2021

24 Useless Facts About Cincinnati That You Probably Didn't Know

"Useless" is a strong word, but I guess it depends who you're asking.
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The Capitoline Wolf statue in Eden Park was a gift from Benito Mussolini
The Capitoline Wolf statue in Eden Park was a gift from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini — and that’s not even the strangest part. The bronze sculpture depicts a she-wolf nursing two young boys, and it’s every bit as intriguing to witness in person as you would imagine. Intended to honor Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, Roman statesman, farmer and namesake of our dear city, the two thirsty boys represent Romulus and Remus, twins whose story relates to the founding of Rome — in fact, various images of the boys suckling a she-wolf have served as symbols of the Roman people since ancient times. So how did it get here? Mussolini sent it over for a Sons of Italy convention in 1929… sort of: He gave us an exact replica of one in Rome’s Musei Capitolini, but it was switched out for a larger one in 1931. And that is the one that has remained in place ever since. Inscribed with “Il Governatore di Roma alla Citta di Cincinnati 1931 Anno X” — “from the governor of Rome to the city of Cincinnati in 1931 (year 10 of Mussolini’s reign)” — it sits at Twin Lakes, a former quarry that now boasts two lakes and views of the Ohio River. Eden Park, 950 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams.
Hailey Bollinger

The Capitoline Wolf statue in Eden Park was a gift from Benito Mussolini

The Capitoline Wolf statue in Eden Park was a gift from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini — and that’s not even the strangest part. The bronze sculpture depicts a she-wolf nursing two young boys, and it’s every bit as intriguing to witness in person as you would imagine. Intended to honor Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, Roman statesman, farmer and namesake of our dear city, the two thirsty boys represent Romulus and Remus, twins whose story relates to the founding of Rome — in fact, various images of the boys suckling a she-wolf have served as symbols of the Roman people since ancient times. So how did it get here? Mussolini sent it over for a Sons of Italy convention in 1929… sort of: He gave us an exact replica of one in Rome’s Musei Capitolini, but it was switched out for a larger one in 1931. And that is the one that has remained in place ever since. Inscribed with “Il Governatore di Roma alla Citta di Cincinnati 1931 Anno X” — “from the governor of Rome to the city of Cincinnati in 1931 (year 10 of Mussolini’s reign)” — it sits at Twin Lakes, a former quarry that now boasts two lakes and views of the Ohio River. Eden Park, 950 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams.
Cult leader Charles Manson was born in Cincinnati
Charles Manson was born in Cincinnati on Nov. 12, 1934 and lived here off and on in between stints in reform schools before eventually ending up in custody in Utah in 1951 after stealing a car and escaping the Indiana Boys School with three students. Considered illiterate, aggressive and antisocial, a psychiatrist recommended he be sent to a minimum security institution, but a series of violent acts landed him in the Federal Reformatory in Petersburg, Virginia in 1952. He was in prison off and on until 1967, when he was granted an early release and formed the "Mason Family" in California. In 1969, members of the Family executed the Tate-LaBianca murders over a several day killing spree in L.A.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation - California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Cult leader Charles Manson was born in Cincinnati

Charles Manson was born in Cincinnati on Nov. 12, 1934 and lived here off and on in between stints in reform schools before eventually ending up in custody in Utah in 1951 after stealing a car and escaping the Indiana Boys School with three students. Considered illiterate, aggressive and antisocial, a psychiatrist recommended he be sent to a minimum security institution, but a series of violent acts landed him in the Federal Reformatory in Petersburg, Virginia in 1952. He was in prison off and on until 1967, when he was granted an early release and formed the "Mason Family" in California. In 1969, members of the Family executed the Tate-LaBianca murders over a several day killing spree in L.A.
Donald Trump was a property manager at former Cincinnati apartment complex Swifton Village
We would sum this up but the The L.A. Times did an excellent job of it in a 2016 story. According to The L.A. Times, “At a foreclosure auction in 1964, Fred Trump bought Swifton Village, a half-empty complex that was the largest in Cincinnati. Donald Trump was just a high school senior in a military academy, but assumed increasing responsibility in managing the complex through college and business school. In his book The Art of the Deal, Trump described Swifton Village as his ‘first big deal.’ He recounted, in a chapter titled ‘The Cincinnati Kid,’ booting poor, nonpaying tenants who had ‘come down from the hills of Kentucky’ with ‘seven or eight children, almost no possessions."
White House photographer / Wikimedia

Donald Trump was a property manager at former Cincinnati apartment complex Swifton Village

We would sum this up but the The L.A. Times did an excellent job of it in a 2016 story. According to The L.A. Times, “At a foreclosure auction in 1964, Fred Trump bought Swifton Village, a half-empty complex that was the largest in Cincinnati. Donald Trump was just a high school senior in a military academy, but assumed increasing responsibility in managing the complex through college and business school. In his book The Art of the Deal, Trump described Swifton Village as his ‘first big deal.’ He recounted, in a chapter titled ‘The Cincinnati Kid,’ booting poor, nonpaying tenants who had ‘come down from the hills of Kentucky’ with ‘seven or eight children, almost no possessions."
Those lizards you see across the Queen City were brought here from Italy by a vacationer
"Lazarus lizards” have scurried around Cincinnati for over half a century. Originating from Northern Italy, they made their way to the Queen City when a resident who was visiting a city near Milan brought some back and released them in their yard. Now, the lizards can even be found in neighboring states Kentucky and Indiana.
Bjorn S. / Wikimedia

Those lizards you see across the Queen City were brought here from Italy by a vacationer

"Lazarus lizards” have scurried around Cincinnati for over half a century. Originating from Northern Italy, they made their way to the Queen City when a resident who was visiting a city near Milan brought some back and released them in their yard. Now, the lizards can even be found in neighboring states Kentucky and Indiana.
Neil Armstrong taught aeronautical engineering at the University of Cincinnati from 1971-79
The Ohio-born astronaut is well-known for being the first man to walk on the moon. Following his triumphant career at NASA, Armstrong taught aeronautical engineering at the University of Cincinnati for eight years.
NASA / Wikimedia

Neil Armstrong taught aeronautical engineering at the University of Cincinnati from 1971-79

The Ohio-born astronaut is well-known for being the first man to walk on the moon. Following his triumphant career at NASA, Armstrong taught aeronautical engineering at the University of Cincinnati for eight years.
Greater Cincinnati is home to the world’s only ventriloquism museum
Vent Haven is the only museum in the world dedicated to the art of ventriloquism. In addition to more than 900 figures and counting (don’t call them dummies), guests can view a library of vent-centric books, playbills and thousands of photographs. The museum also hosts the international ConVENTion every year for hundreds upon hundreds of ventriloquists. Note: the Vent Haven Museum is currently closed while it undergoes renovations. Visit their website for the latest updates.33 W. Maple Ave., Fort Mitchell.
Hailey Bollinger

Greater Cincinnati is home to the world’s only ventriloquism museum

Vent Haven is the only museum in the world dedicated to the art of ventriloquism. In addition to more than 900 figures and counting (don’t call them dummies), guests can view a library of vent-centric books, playbills and thousands of photographs. The museum also hosts the international ConVENTion every year for hundreds upon hundreds of ventriloquists. Note: the Vent Haven Museum is currently closed while it undergoes renovations. Visit their website for the latest updates.33 W. Maple Ave., Fort Mitchell.
Two Cincinnatians created the Magic 8-Ball
Laura C. Cooper Pruden (1855-1939) was a medium who lived in Price Hill. Her son, Albert Carter, gained interest in mysticism from his mother. He tried to patent an original idea for a toy similar to the Magic 8-Ball but with simple “yes” or “no” answers. He applied for a patent for his Syco-Slate "liquid filled dice agitator" in 1944 (patent number US2452730A). The patent listed Abe Bookman (filed as Buchmann), Julius Mintz and Max E. Levinson as co-filers. Later, Levinson and Bookman ultimately patented the actual Magic 8-Ball as we know it, in its classic round shape with additional answers.
Greeblie / Wikimedia

Two Cincinnatians created the Magic 8-Ball

Laura C. Cooper Pruden (1855-1939) was a medium who lived in Price Hill. Her son, Albert Carter, gained interest in mysticism from his mother. He tried to patent an original idea for a toy similar to the Magic 8-Ball but with simple “yes” or “no” answers. He applied for a patent for his Syco-Slate "liquid filled dice agitator" in 1944 (patent number US2452730A). The patent listed Abe Bookman (filed as Buchmann), Julius Mintz and Max E. Levinson as co-filers. Later, Levinson and Bookman ultimately patented the actual Magic 8-Ball as we know it, in its classic round shape with additional answers.
Before he was huge, Eminem competed in (and lost) a Rap battle at Cincinnati Hip Hop festival Scribble Jam
An important part of the Eminem mythos is his appearances early in his career at Rap battles around the country, including at Cincinnati’s own Scribble Jam, which became an underground Hip Hop haven for fans across the Midwest. The annual event’s celebration of the four branches of Hip Hop — graffiti, dance, MCing and DJing — drew enough buzz in its small-ish debut year in 1996 that it returned bigger and better in 1997 and had drawn the attention and anticipation of fans and artists from around the region and beyond. It ended up being a pivotal moment for the fest and the rapper and sealed Scribble Jam a place in Hip Hop history.
Mika-photography / Wikimedia

Before he was huge, Eminem competed in (and lost) a Rap battle at Cincinnati Hip Hop festival Scribble Jam

An important part of the Eminem mythos is his appearances early in his career at Rap battles around the country, including at Cincinnati’s own Scribble Jam, which became an underground Hip Hop haven for fans across the Midwest. The annual event’s celebration of the four branches of Hip Hop — graffiti, dance, MCing and DJing — drew enough buzz in its small-ish debut year in 1996 that it returned bigger and better in 1997 and had drawn the attention and anticipation of fans and artists from around the region and beyond. It ended up being a pivotal moment for the fest and the rapper and sealed Scribble Jam a place in Hip Hop history.
The inventor of the Pringles can is buried here, in a Pringles can
Fredric Baur, a Cincinnati chemist and the inventor of the Pringles can, died in 2008, after which he was cremated and buried at Arlington Memorial Gardens in an empty can of Original-flavored Pringles. While you can’t see the can itself (it’s in the ground), you can pay your respects to the snack food revolutionary while chomping on some crispy, stacked chips. 2145 Compton Road, Mount Healthy.
FindaGrave.com

The inventor of the Pringles can is buried here, in a Pringles can

Fredric Baur, a Cincinnati chemist and the inventor of the Pringles can, died in 2008, after which he was cremated and buried at Arlington Memorial Gardens in an empty can of Original-flavored Pringles. While you can’t see the can itself (it’s in the ground), you can pay your respects to the snack food revolutionary while chomping on some crispy, stacked chips. 2145 Compton Road, Mount Healthy.
The Cincinnati Reds were the first Major League baseball team to travel by plane
The Cincinnati Reds can claim a lot of firsts: they were the first professional baseball team as the Red Stockings in 1869, they played the first Major League night game (against the Phillies at Crosley Field on May 24, 1935) and (downer) in 1940, Reds catcher Willard Hershberger was the first big league baseball player to commit suicide during the season. Another first? On June 8, 1934, they were also the first major league baseball team to use an airplane to travel from one city to another. They flew to Chicago.
Hailey Bollinger

The Cincinnati Reds were the first Major League baseball team to travel by plane

The Cincinnati Reds can claim a lot of firsts: they were the first professional baseball team as the Red Stockings in 1869, they played the first Major League night game (against the Phillies at Crosley Field on May 24, 1935) and (downer) in 1940, Reds catcher Willard Hershberger was the first big league baseball player to commit suicide during the season. Another first? On June 8, 1934, they were also the first major league baseball team to use an airplane to travel from one city to another. They flew to Chicago.