Settled in 1788, the city is located on the north bank of the Ohio River at the Ohio−Kentucky border, near Indiana. The population within city limits was 296,943 according to the 2010 census making it Ohio's third-largest city. According to the 2011 Census Bureau estimate, the Cincinnati metropolitan area had a population of 2,138,038, the 27th most populous Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States and largest in Ohio.
In the early 19th century, Cincinnati was an American boomtown in the heart of the country to rival the larger coastal cities in size and wealth. Because it is the first major American city founded after the American Revolution as well as the first major inland city in the country, Cincinnati is sometimes thought of as the first purely American city. It developed initially without as much European immigration or influence that was taking place at the same time in eastern cities. However, by the end of the 19th century, with the shift from steamboats to railroads, Cincinnati's growth had slowed considerably and the city became surpassed in population by other inland cities, Chicago and St. Louis.
Cincinnati is known for its large collection of historic architecture. Over-the-Rhine, a neighborhood just to the north of Downtown Cincinnati, boasts among the world's largest collections of Italianate architecture, rivaling similar neighborhoods in New York City, Vienna and Munich in size and scope. In the late 1800s, Cincinnati was commonly referred to as 'Paris of America,' mainly due to significant architectural projects, like the Music Hall, the Cincinnatian Hotel, and the Shillito Department Store. Constructed mainly between 1850 and 1900, Over-the-Rhine was the center of life for German immigrants for many years, and is one of the largest historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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