A Piece Of
Cincy History

Washington Park has a rich heritage as the center of Over-the-Rhine's multigenerational, multiethnic district. To this day, it serves as the epicenter of OTR, and a reflection of the changing neighborhood.

A Piece Of
Cincy History

Washington Park has a rich heritage as the center of Over-the-Rhine's multigenerational, multiethnic district. To this day, it serves as the epicenter of OTR, and a reflection of the changing neighborhood.

The History of Washington Park

The Early Years

Washington Park was acquired by the City of Cincinnati in 1855 and park construction began in the 1860's. 

In its early years, the park played host to a variety of attractions, and included a series of bandstands, walkways lined with benches, fountains, a pond, and even wading and swimming pools. However, as time passed, the park became severely worn down, and its visitors had all but vanished. 

The population in Over-the-Rhine dramatically decreased during Prohibition, as residents lost their jobs and relocated to the suburbs. The once prosperous neighborhood quickly became one of many declining areas in Cincinnati. 

With such a decline in the neighborhood taking place, many of the park's features also began to deteriorate from the time of the Great Depression throughout World War II. The trend continued to the end of the 20th Century.

Renovation and Expansion

In 2008, plans to revitalize the public space began to take shape. A public-private partnership was formed between the City of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Park Board and 3CDC and, before long, a master plan was created for Washington Park's renovation and expansion. Construction on the re-imagined space began in 2011.

The pool, which was rarely used, was removed and the team decided to add a decorative fountain in its place, near the center of the park. Plans also included a 450-space underground parking garage and complete redesign of the park, expanding the space from five to eight acres.

The Park Today

After a $48 million renovation and expansion, Washington Park reopened to the public in July 2012. Thousands of people from throughout the community crowded into the park to celebrate its grand reopening.

Today, Washington Park welcomes millions of individuals each year from all over. The Park, hosts over 500 events annually, including live music, public markets, outdoor fitness classes, children's activities and more. It is a place to relax, a place to play, a place to gather with family and friends, and a place where the community comes together.