The National Sternwheel Monument
The $2.8 million monument was a joint project of the Cincinnati Recreation Commission and the Greater Cincinnati Tall Stacks Commission. It was funded with $2.4 million in state money; the remainder was raised by the Tall Stacks Commission.
The National Sternwheel Monument celebrates the importance of the Steamboat Era to the westward expansion of the country. A thirty-foot diameter, to-scale replica of a sternwheel is supported on two pylons that rest on a platform that overlooks the Public Landing on the Ohio River. On the plaza below the wheel is Whistle Grove a “multisensory interactive instrument” created by Christopher Janney of PhenomenArts Inc. (Lexington, MA). The sculptured environment contains two dozen ten-foot tall, stainless steel columns that resemble smokestacks. As visitors walk past the columns, photo-sensors will trigger sounds such as a calliope, voices of rivermen, or whistles. The photo sensors also set-off steam jets at the top of the columns.