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Meet you in the Fountain District: Rebrand aims to bring more people to spots around Fountain Square

Michael E. Keating

Cincinnati and 3CDC are looking to attract people to bars and restaurants in the area of 5th Street and Fountain Square. They're launching a campaign branding the area as the Fountain District.

The name, of course, is a nod to the Tyler Davidson/Genius of Water fountain on Fountain Square.

"The newly named Fountain District seeks to call attention to the significant collection of elevated, uniquely Cincinnati restaurants and bars, thriving arts and entertainment institutions, and active civic spaces in a tight geographic area in the heart of the Central Business District," writes 3CDC in a release.

RELATED: Can you really drink the water at Fountain Square?

The district encompasses 7th through 4th streets from roughly the Convention Center to just east of Main.

map of streets and bars/restaurants around Fountain Square
The Fountain District encompasses roughly two blocks in each direction of Fountain Square.

"Especially since the pandemic, the term 'central business district' does not accurately convey what we have here, because it is so much more than a central business district," says Christy Samad, 3CDC executive vice president of civic and commercial space activation. "We hope that this new brand will encourage people to rediscover the area and see all that it has to offer."

3CDC says a local agency came up with the campaign and local business owners, the Chamber, and other stakeholders were involved in focus groups earlier this year.

About the Tyler Davidson Fountain

Fountain Square's eponymous fountain celebrated 150 years in 2021. The Tyler Davidson Fountain was dedicated on Oct. 6, 1871, bearing the inscription "To the People of Cincinnati."

Businessman Henry Probasco gifted the fountain to the city in honor of his business partner and brother-in-law, Tyler Davidson. It was originally placed in the middle of Fifth Street when the road was then a wide esplanade.

It was re-positioned again in the 2000s and now faces south.

The Genius of Water

The woman atop the fountain is known as the "Genius of Water," or sometimes as "The Lady." The fountain was created in Germany by sculptor August von Kreling, and cast at the Royal Bavarian Bronze Foundry in Munich.

Historian Greg Hand notes the foundry "purchased many old bronze Danish cannons" following a dispute between Prussia and Denmark and "24 tons of this Danish scrap were melted down to create the Tyler Davidson Fountain."

Each of the characters surrounding the fountain represent the practical uses and pleasures of water.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.