Like all of Greater Cincinnati, Price Hill was once part of the Symmes Purchase. John Cleves Symmes, a congressman from New Jersey, heard about the virgin land along the Ohio River from Ben Stites, who passed through the area while trying to recover stolen horses. Symmes immediately bought a million acres at sixty-nine cents per acre. He ran ads in newspapers, praising the virtues and glories of the Ohio land. Stites was rewarded with a grant of ten thousand acres, He built a small settlement in 1788 near what is now Lunken Airport. He called the settlement Columbia, and the new settlers tore apart their rafts to build temporary shelters.
In 1789, Israel Ludlow arrived and started building the town of Losantiville ("city across from the Licking River") west of the village of Columbia. Symmes himself landed near North Bend and decided it was the perfect spot for his city. Unfortunately, the military decided to build a military post called Fort Washington near Losantiville. Governor Arthur St. Clair renamed the city to Cincinnati, in honor of the Revolutionary War Officer's Society of Cincinnatus. The other smaller settlements along the river could not compete with the security of a military fort, and Cincinnati grew to be the largest city in the area.
The Treaty of Greenville was signed in 1795 and the Native Americans moved west. Without the treat of attack, Cincinnati prospered. New people arrived by flatboat every day. With the advent of the steamboat, the Ohio River became one of the most important avenues of transportation, and Cincinnati became an important port. The city grew rapidly, and by 1815 there were 6,000 residents in the basin on the Ohio River. Hospitals, schools, and public buildings appeared, along with businesses and factories. By 1828, there were 20,000 people living here. There was a stagecoach to Cleveland, steam engine factories, a sugar refinery, paper mills, and a lot of printing plants. Cincinnati became a world-renowned printing center, a distinction she held for more than a century.