Mill Creek Valley, Cincinnati, Ohio

Lick Run, which we looked at yesterday, empties into Mill Creek, the industrial spine of Cincinnati. Not surprisingly, it has been heavily modified, altered and polluted by humans over the last two hundred years. There is something sublime about the giant swath of hundreds of miles of railroad tracks that you can see fleetingly while driving over the Western Hills Viaduct, just below the confluence of Lick Run and Mill Creek.

The railyards and interstate that cuts Cincinnati in two is bridged by massive viaducts, and I can’t imagine that before the automobile that people from the two halves of the city interacted much. The Mill Creek Expressway, I-75 rushes down the valley, much like the Jones Falls Expressway in Baltimore, though the former is not so egregious in the crushing of nature. And much like in Baltimore in former mill towns now incorporated into the city, there are neighborhoods such as Camp Washington that remind us of the industry that grew up along the waters of the falls or canal.

And a sort of second street level forms up above the original one, as we view the Cincinnati Union Terminal looming above the thoroughfares below.

Industry dominates, as these warehouses attest.

And of course, massive railroad bridges tower over the riverfront; the C&O Railroad Bridge blocks out the view of the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge.

And for an honorable mention award for bridge most likely to collapse in an earthquake, the Brent Spence Bridge, carrying I-71 over the Ohio River in a double decker design follows to the east.

Then there’s this absurdly long warehouse, the Baltimore and Ohio Freight Station and Storage Warehouse, built in 1904 as what was possibly the longest building in the world at the time.

The utility of the building being so long is obvious if a train pulls up next to the structure, as dozens of cars could be unloaded at the same time. The Cotton Belt Freight Depot in St. Louis was built with the same intention in mind.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jeff Phillips says:

    The famous backdrop beyond right field in Oriole Park at Camden Yards is also a former B&O warehouse.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      Yes! And competed with this warehouse for one of the longest buildings in America at the time.

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