Lady Cora Grantham – one of the most-watched characters on television’s Downton Abbey – has Cincinnati to thank for her life of luxury. According to PBS.com, Lady Grantham’s father, Isidore Levinson, made his fortune in Cincinnati during the city’s first economic boom.
Born in 1868, a young Cora would have experienced Cincinnati’s thrilling development until she left for England in 1888.
Here's a look at Cora's Cincinnati - attractions, restaurants and iconic buildings that Cora would have visited as a child between 1868 and 1888 - that visitors today still enjoy.
Fountain Square has been the social hub of the city since 1871, with the Tyler Davidson Fountain as its centerpiece. The fountain still serves as an architectural symbol for Cincinnati. Renovated in 2005, today the Square is the heart of downtown with nearby restaurants, live concerts, dance events and festivals. Photo by 3CDC.
World-famous Graeter' ice cream was founded in Cincinnati in 1870 by Louis Graeter, and the tradition continues to create quality French Pot Ice Cream. Continuously run by the Graeter family, today, there are 17 retail outlets in the city, and the ice cream is available in grocery stores and online.
Originally named “Ohio Grove, the Coney Island of the West,” Coney Island opened on the banks of the Ohio River in 1886 as a small amusement park whose visitors mostly arrived by riverboat. Coney Island still operates as a water park with classic rides, live shows and event space, and is located next to popular outdoor music venue, Riverbend.
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden opened its doors in 1875 as the second zoo in the United States. Today, the Zoo features 500 animal and 3,000 plant species and is home to the largest publicly accessible urban solar array in the country, consisting of 6,400 solar panels that produce 20 percent of the Zoo' needed energy. Photo courtesy of Jay Jageler.
The Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati is home to the first professional baseball team. The Cincinnati Red Stockings, now known as the Cincinnati Reds, were founded in 1869. Cincinnati is also the first city to host a night baseball game under the lights.
The Cincinnatian Hotel
Built in 1882, The Cincinnatian Hotel was designed as a “Grand Hotel” of the 19th century, providing elevators and incandescent lighting to its guests. Originally named the Palace Hotel, this eight-story French Second Empire hotel was the tallest building in Cincinnati. Today, the old-world charm remains with the addition of contemporary luxury.