Walking the Steps of Cincinnati: A Guide to the Queen City’s Scenic and Historic Secrets is a wholly delightful book that first appeared in 1998 and returns in a revised edition as the weather invites taking full advantage of its subject matter. Many of Cincinnati’s wealth of hillside steps, originally installed for a population more likely to walk to work or elsewhere than its automobile-bound descendants, still exist and some have been recently renovated. Those descendants who now walk for pleasure and for health could have a fine time exploring the 34 individual walks outlined here.
A labor of love by its original author, the late Mary Anna DuSablon, Connie J. Harrell and John Cicmanec bring the same warmth and pleasure to their updating of Walking the Steps of Cincinnati as did its original author. “Following a walking tour is like being a tourist in a foreign city,” Harrell saysin her preface to the new edition.
The book “serves to educate new generations of their heritage,” she writes and adds that the steps, still a living part of the city, are “a hand-on laboratory of history.”
The original book of 35 walks is trimmed to 34 because the downtown skywalks, originally featured as Walk No. 33, have since closed.
Walk No. 1 is no doubt the best known of the 22 walks the book groups as “The Legendary Staircases.” Seven flights, connecting Saint Gregory Street with Holy Cross-Immaculata Church in Mount Adams, are mounted by hundreds in the annual Good Friday pilgrimage. Climbers receive the earthly reward of spectacular views in any direction. Other walks in this grouping are three in “Price’s Hills,” two in Clifton Heights and two in Walnut Hills, plus others.
The second grouping is called “Memorable Stepways” and includes “Crossing Ohio River Bridges” as well as Sayler Park and Linwood. Clearly, the book mixes the familiar with places known only to the neighborhood. This might be a good summer to see, on foot, a neighborhood other than your own.