My Modern Midwest: Cincinnati Renaissance

Dena Hamlin hasn’t lived in Cincinnati long, but the two are already on a first name basis: she affectionately refers to the city as “Cincy.” Her move to the city in 2013 reinvigorated her passion for photography as she stumbled across the city’s stunning architecture, growing food scene and lively art community. Hamlin lets her explorations of the city guide her photography, capturing modern neighborhoods one moment and a forgotten pocket of the city the next For My Modern Midwest, she set out to capture the renaissance unfolding in her new hometown.

It might look like Greenwich Village, but it’s actually the heart of Cincinnati. The Queen City has been experiencing massive revitalization and gaining the attention of food lovers and the film industry over the past several years. Due to the city’s resemblance to New York, filmmakers have flocked to Cincinnati to shoot.

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The Great American Tower at Queen City Square is Cincinnati’s newest skyscraper. At 665 feet, it is the third tallest building in Ohio and the tallest in Cincinnati.

Comic lovers will recognize this building as the inspiration for The Hall of Justice. The Super Friends cartoonist modeled the comic hall after the Union Terminal’s iconic art deco design. Originally a train station built in 1928, Union Terminal now houses three museums. The city of Cincinnati just passed a measure to help restore this landmark open for generations to come.

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The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge is my favorite landmark in Cincinnati. When construction finished in 1866, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. And if it looks vaguely familiar, it’s because it was the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge!

Just across the river from Cincinnati, in the state of Kentucky, are the cities of Newport and Covington. They have great architecture of their own, as well as awesome views of Cincinnati.

A gorgeous view of Cincinnati from Covington, Kentucky, along the Ohio River. I love to come down here to shoot the Roebling Bridge and watch the sun set over the city.

Findlay Market is the place to be on the weekends. Located in the center of the Over-The-Rhine district, you can find anything and everything here: from gelato to pho, and spices to gyros. It is the oldest continually operating farmers market in Ohio!

Pendelton is a part of the Over-The-Rhine district, which is home to the largest collection of Italianate architecture in the country with 943 buildings. The district is at the heart of the renaissance in Cincinnati and is the fastest developing neighborhood in the city. It’s my favorite place to take picture. You can walk from newly-renovated buildings to beautifully decayed buildings; I appreciate the beauty of both.

One of the things I love most about Cincinnati is the incredible signs. They are everywhere! This li’l gem is my favorite in town. The Imperial is a great building, in major need of repair, but I like her just the way she is.

Adding to the growth in Cincinnati is The Banks. Running alongside the Ohio River, you can find Paul Brown Stadium, The Reds’ Stadium, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, a plethora of restaurants and one of my favorite places to hang out, Smale Park. There is nothing quite like a stroll along The Banks in the summertime.