Over more than two centuries, Cincinnati evolved from a riverside settlement in the wilderness to a major center of business, commerce, and manufacturing. Boasting titles such as "Queen City of the West" and "Porkopolis" (for its many pork-packing plants), Cincinnati never suffered from a lack of self-esteem. Indeed, the city earned its place in the honor roll of American cities as it spread outward from the Ohio River into the surrounding hills. Blessed with good transportation by river, canal, and railroad, Cincinnati grew rapidly, attracting great numbers of native-born Americans and foreign immigrants alike. Drawn by abundant jobs and economic opportunity, Cincinnati's citizens lived in densely developed neighborhoods, walked crowded streets, and worked hard in mills and factories. Early in the city's history, farseeing individuals saw the benefit of creating public parks where the population could enjoy a few hours of recreation among trees, green grass, and gorgeous vistas of the Ohio River Valley. Starting from modest beginnings, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries Cincinnati developed a system of more than 5,000 acres of parks and connecting parkways that would be the envy of cities many times its size.
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