Queen City Subway

>> Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Did you even know Cincinnati had a subway? If the answer is "no," that's quite understandable. The subway never had a single train run through it and never served a single passenger. Planning for the subway began in 1914, with 6 million dollars in bonds being raised initially. The plan was to design a 16 mile loop running through downtown Cincinnati and around its urban core, while connecting it with the suburbs of St. Bernard and Norwood. The idea to construct the subway came from the Miami-Eerie canal. The canal winding through downtown that had once been the main means of travel and shipping for many, was now a stagnant cesspool of standing water and becoming a health hazard. The decision was made to drain the canal, build the subway in it's place, bury the subway and construct a grand street on top of it which is known today as "Central Parkway." Construction of the first phase began in 1920...

The subway exists today as a utility tunnel and a subterranean monument to a forgotten piece of infrastructure that would have changed the landscape of the city from what we know it as today. Two miles of tunnels still exist today beneath Central Parkway, as well as one other short section of tunnels crossing beneath Hopple St. The portals of the Central Parkway tunnels can be seen while drive southbound on I-75 towards downtown, just after passing the Hopple St. exit. I remember passing the portals as a kid, in the car with my dad on our way to a Reds game. He explained to me what they were and my subway curiosity was born. For my birthday one year he purchased a fantastic book called "Cincinnati Subway" by Allen J. Singer.

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