Lost Cincinnati Poster Series


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Award winning poster series to display Cincinnati\'s lost buildings and the reasons behind their demise.

Published in: Spiritual, Business
  • You might try the Cincinnati Historical Society or even the Cincinnati Library. I only have the posters that are 'posted' here. Cheers, Scott
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  • Looking for a poster of Cincinnati`s Fountain Square from the 1940`s.
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Lost Cincinnati Poster Series

  1. 1. 1957 LIBERTY STREET WIDENING Photo by Herb Heise From the Collection of The Cincinnati Museum Center- Cincinnati Historical Society Library When Cincinnati was incorporated as a town in 1802, Liberty Street was the northern limit. The properties beyond were known as the Northern Liberties until they were annexed by the city in 1849. Liberty Street was once a regular city street, only about 50 feet in width. By the late 1950s, the growing volume of automobile traffic demanded a cross-town thoroughfare, and Liberty Street was widened. This 1957 view, looking east from Vine Street, shows the gash left after rows of buildings were removed from the south side of Liberty, the power lines still in place along the original right of way, and the forms in place to pour the new concrete curb. The steeple of the 1868 Salem German Evangelical Reformed Church on Sycamore Street can be seen in the distance near the center. 1870-1966 FOUNTAIN SQUARE From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County ca. The original Fountain Square, designed by architect William Tinsley, was a tree-lined esplanade between Vine and Walnut Streets. The Tyler 1892- Davidson Fountain was cast in Bavaria, donated to the city by Henry Probasco 1950s in honor of his brother-in-law and installed in 1871. For nearly a century the ODD “Genius of Water,” the fountain’s central statue, stood facing east in the center of Fifth Street. FELLOWS By the late 1950s, the esplanade design was considered outmoded and an obstruction to traffic. The 1964 Plan for Downtown Cincinnati envisioned a larger public plaza at the northeast corner of Vine and Fifth Streets. When the new TEMPLE Fountain Square was completed in 1969, the Tyler Davidson Fountain was placed on axis with Fifth Street but rotated 180 degrees to face oncoming traffic from the From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and west. The 1969 renovation by RTKL Associates (of Baltimore) was a landmark in Hamilton County postwar urban planning. However, the square is being reconfigured once again in a renovation designed by Cooper Robertson of New York. Samuel Hannaford & Sons won the 1891 design competition for the Odd Fellows Temple, which was built shortly afterwards at the northwest corner 1893-1993 of Seventh and Elm Streets, adjacent to the First- Covenant Presbyterian Church. The Independent COLUMBIAN SCHOOL Order of the Odd Fellows was a private brotherhood established in England in the 1600s to provide for the From the Collection of The Cincinnati Museum Center- welfare of widows, orphans and invalids. Although Cincinnati Historical Society Library the organization still exists, it is far less widespread because of improved health care, Social Security and This splendid school building once stood at the other welfare programs. northeast corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Harvey Avenue. Completed in 1893, it was named in The building, with its exuberant Queen Anne brick recognition of the 400th anniversary of the landing of and stone exterior, replaced the large Federal- Columbus in America. An outstanding example of the style residence of Judge Jacob Burnet, who built his Romanesque Revival style, the school was one of several famous hotel at the corner of Vine and Third Streets. designed by architect H. E. Siter. Columbian was said to The Odd Fellows Temple was demolished by the be one of the first schools in the Midwest to use forced 1950s and replaced with a parking garage. air heating. By 1950, the building suffered from neglect, age and vandalism. The Board of Education vacated the school in 1979 and sold it to Jewish Hospital in 1982, which used the grounds for parking. It was demolished in 1993, and Jewish Hospital closed its facility here shortly afterward. 1829-1920 1848- MIAMI & ERIE CANAL 1964 From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Completed in 1829, the Miami & Erie Canal connected the Ohio-Mississippi River basin to the Great Lakes system on Lake Erie near Toledo. It was part of the ST. JOSEPH important internal waterways system before the railroad dominated transportation. It linked CATHOLIC CHURCH Cincinnati to sources of raw materials and agricultural goods to the north and west, and spurred development. The canal entered From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Cincinnati along what is today Interstate 75 and followed the path of Central Parkway St. Joseph Parish, on Ezzard Charles Drive at the corner of Linn Street, in downtown. It then turned south along Cincinnati’s West End, was founded in 1847, and the first church building Eggleston Avenue to the river. was completed the following year. Originally a German Catholic church, the congregation has been primarily African American since the 1940s. According to reminiscences, the canal provided picturesque spots to boat, fish and swim The current church was built in 1964-5, after an earlier church on the in the summer and skate in the winter. But by the early site was demolished in 1961 to make way for the widening of Linn 20th century, it had become polluted and obsolete as a means of Street. Designed by Otto Bauer-Nilsen of Gartner Burdick Bauer-Nilsen transportation. In 1920, a subway was begun in the canal bed, but never architects, the church contains many elements, including bells and finished, in part because automobiles were then becoming the dominant means of murals, from the original building. The parish school, rectory and convent, transportation. Central Parkway was built on top and opened with fanfare in 1928. built between 1908 and 1910, remain. The complex provides continuity for the neighborhood, while the surrounding blocks have been repeatedly erased, currently for City West. IMPACT AUTOMOBILE OF THE LOST CINCINNATI: WHY BUILDINGS DIE
  2. 2. 1875-1908 CLIFTON AVENUE HOUSES From the Collection of The Cincinnati Museum Center- Cincinnati Historical Society Library These two little houses at the northwest corner of McMillan and Clifton Avenues--one brick and the other wood-frame--were photographed by brewer Conrad Windisch before being torn down in 1907 to make way for Hughes High School. They were probably built in the 1870s after the Bellevue Incline opened, making Fairview accessible for development. Notice the street was unpaved, there were no sidewalks and the air was filled with overhead cables for the electric streetcars. The Jacobethan-style Hughes High School was built between 1908 and 1911 and designed by J. Walter Stevens of St. Paul, Minnesota, in an unprecedented national competition for a public school. Additions by the local firm of Tietig & Lee were made in 1954. 1854-1982 1860-1930 ALLEN TEMPLE LINCOLN PARK The Allen Temple, which once stood at the corner of Sixth and Broadway, was one of several buildings, along with the Wesley From the Collection of The Public Chapel, the Fenwick Club and the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, that Library of Cincinnati and Hamil- were demolished when Procter & Gamble expanded its head- ton County quarters on Fifth Street in the mid-1980s. The temple was built in 1852 as the second home of Cincinnati’s first Jewish Congre- Lincoln Park was the only gation, Bene Israel. It was designed by Robert A. Love, a little- park in the entire West End known but innovative Cincinnati architect. and one of the most heav- ily used in the city by 1900. The African Methodist Episcopal church, organized in 1824, Created about 1860, it was acquired the building in 1870 and renamed it in honor of Cin- a picturesque landscape cinnati’s first black minister, William Allen. It was the oldest with a lake, wading brook, synagogue and the oldest black church left in Cincinnati at that public baths, a ball field and time. The curving parapet, undulating façade and minarets tennis courts. In winter, as many as 5,000 peo- gave the building an exotic appearance. ple skated on the frozen pond, and during the summer an es- timated 1500 tenement dwellers slept there to escape the hot, stagnant air of their homes. By the 1920s, however, the area around it had declined, 1880-1925 and clearing the park and nearby buildings was seen as an improvement. The park was absorbed into the approach to Union Terminal, just west of I-75, in the 1930s. SCHMIDLAPP MANSION 1831-1982 From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County WESLEY CHAPEL Jacob G. Schmidlapp (1849-1919) made his fortune distilling whiskey business and From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County then turned to banking. The bank he founded is part of what is now Fifth Third Bank, one of the Cincinnati’s largest. Through his Model Homes Company, he also Built in 1831, Wesley Chapel was the oldest remaining religious building in built over 400 attractive and affordable apartments for workers in Norwood, Oakley, Cincinnati when it was torn down for the expansion of Procter & Gamble’s corporate Avondale and Walnut Hills beginning in the 1910s. headquarters. It was an outstanding and rare surviving example of a Greek Revival church. William Henry Harrison’s funeral services were held there in 1841, and John His own home, known as Kirchheim, was built on Grandin Road before 1885 for Quincy Adams delivered a speech on the dedication of the Cincinnati Observatory on a previous owner and remodeled for Schmidlapp in 1895 by Samuel Hannaford & Mount Adams from its pulpit. A stone church built in 1806 previously occupied the Sons. This elite section of Hyde Park was originally considered part of fashionable site. East Walnut Hills. This dour stone mansion was demolished when the Schmidlapp property and several other large estates were subdivided in the early 20th century. CHANGING LAND USES LOST CINCINNATI: WHY BUILDINGS DIE
  3. 3. 1848-1930 1907-1979 GLENDALE FEMALE COLLEGE ROYAL THEATRE From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Located on a 14-acre property on the corner of Sharon and Laurel Avenues, the The Royal Theatre opened in 1907 at 709 Vine Glendale Female College began its existence in 1848 as the Hotel Ritter House. Street, which was considered far uptown at the time. The magnificent Greek Revival structure housed Glendale’s early residents while Nevertheless, it flourished with films, “absolutely their homes were being built. In 1854, a Presbyterian minister bought the flickerless and easy on the eyes.” The façade is a hotel and converted it to a school. Although it was referred to as a college, it fantasy, dominated by a golden female figure with was really a finishing school. The building also served as a meeting place for gigantic butterfly wings, which appeared to move when Glendale residents until Town Hall was built in 1875. they were lit with sparkling lights. According to local theater historian Hank Sykes, the design was probably an By 1900, the Glendale assemblage of parts ordered from a catalogue. College and similar schools faced competition With the opening of an increasing number of suburban from public high schools. theaters after World War II, downtown theaters struggled Because they were to survive. In 1978, the theater owner was found guilty tax-supported, public of pandering obscenity, and the Royal closed the following schools were able to year. The site, at the northwest corner of Vine and Seventh attract better teachers with Streets, is now a parking lot. higher pay and buy better equipment. After decades of financial struggle, the Glendale Female College finally closed CINCINNATI MILACRON 1941-2001 its doors in 1929. It was soon torn down and replaced with houses. ENGINEERING AND SERVICES BUILDING SINTON 1905-1966 (to be obtained) HOTEL The company formerly known as Cincinnati Milacron, From the Collection of The Inc., a world leader in the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County production of machine tools, moved in 1906 to When the Sinton Hotel a new facility in Oakley, opened in 1905 at the with its own foundry, southeast corner of power plant, water plant Fourth and Vine, the and a train station. In local press asserted the early 1940s, the there was no finer plant was enlarged by hotel in the world the Cleveland-based than this French Austin Company, which Renaissance-style standardized factory masterpiece. Its design and construction. The architect, Frank new Engineering and Services Building, Mills Andrews, also de- which housed corporate offices, was a streamlined signed the Hotel McAlpin in New York yet monumental design. and state capitols in Kentucky and Montana. The interior was majestic, with marble, mirrors and a magnificent World War II kept the plant humming, and afterwards the company diversified into Rookwood fountain. chemicals, plastics processing equipment, process control systems and abrasives. In 2000, the company, no longer family-owned, was divided into two companies— Some of the city’s grandest events were held there, attended by Presidents Coolidge, Har- Cincinnati Machine, which was purchased by California-based Unova and moved to ding, Wilson and Taft. Other visitors included General John G. Pershing, William Jennings Kentucky, and Milacron, which focused on plastics and moved to Walnut Hills. Much Bryan, Leo Tolstoy, Thomas A. Edison, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But by the 1940s, the of the plant was demolished in 2001 to make way for a big-box retail shopping center. hotel’s business was declining. The hotel finally closed in 1964, was torn down and re- placed with an office tower. Completed in 1967, the Provident Tower was the first major office building to be constructed downtown in 35 years and the city’s first steel and glass 1885-2003 tower. WALNUT HILLS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County The handsome Gothic Revival Walnut Hills Presbyterian Church, known historically as the First Presbyterian Church, was designed by Samuel Hannaford and dedicated in 1885. In 1918, the congregation claimed over 900 members, but the congregation dwindled over the decades until only 60 members remained in the 1980s. The Presbytery PIATT sold the building at a discount to another Protestant congregation, but this and subsequent church groups 1860-1999 GRANDIN HOUSE were not financially viable. In 1998, the Thompson Hall & Jordan Funeral Home Courtesy of the Cincinnati Preservation Association next door purchased the property to expand its facilities. Although rehabilitation was partially This gracious Hyde Park home was built in 1860 for Hannah Piatt-Grandin, completed, the funds were not found to finish the widow of wealthy merchant and banker Phillip Grandin. For over a century, job. The church was demolished in 2003, with the the house withstood the relentless progress of subdivision and residential exception of the tower, which was purchased and development that transformed surrounding rural estates. will be restored as a cultural heritage site by the Cincinnati Preservation Association. Although the The Piatt-Grandin House was torn down by Summit Country Day School in building was listed in the National Register of Historic 1999 despite great community opposition. The headmaster argued that Places, it was not protected by local designation. the house required $100,000 in repairs and generated a loss for the school of $8,000 a year. A few years later, the property was used to build a new driveway for the school. Weighing the growth of community institutions, such as schools, universities, hospitals, and churches, and the value of preserving historic fabric is often a difficult balancing act. FINANCIAL FACTORS LOST CINCINNATI: WHY BUILDINGS DIE
  4. 4. 1884 COURT HOUSE RIOT From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County In the 1880s, Cincinnati was plagued with gambling, prostitution and crime. Murders were fairly frequent, and people were anxious for justice. Public rage was unleashed in 1884 when William Berner was sentenced to 20 years for killing a horse trader. Although this was the maximum penalty for manslaughter, it was seen as too lenient. A crowd gathered at Music Hall. Inflamed by speeches, the mob marched on the county jail to hang Berner. The sheriff and his forces attempted to contain the crowd, but a three- day riot ensued. Fifty-six people were killed and more than 300 men and boys were wounded in the melee; the jail and court- house burned to the ground. 1911 1866 CHAMBER OF PIKE’S OPERA HOUSE COMMERCE FIRE From the Collection of The Cincinnati Museum Center- Cincinnati Historical Society Library From the Collection of The Cincinnati Museum Center- Cincinnati Historical Society Library After hearing Jenny Lind, “the Swedish Nightingale,” sing, Samuel Pike, a The Chamber of Commerce, completed in 1889, once stood at New York entrepreneur with Cincinnati connections, built an opera house the southwest corner of Fourth and Vine Streets. It replaced for her on Fourth Street. Local boosters bragged that the hall, designed the United States Post Office, which moved to Government in a florid Italianate style by New York architects H. White and John Trim- Square on Fifth Street in the 1880s. The Chamber building ble, was the finest in the West. was designed by Boston architect Henry Hobson Richard- son in the Romanesque style he was famous for. Inside was After a fire in 1866, the building was rebuilt with nearly the same facade, a magnificent multi-story trading room. This monumental but an interior update by I. Rogers & Son. Pike’s Opera House burned stone building looked like it would last forever, but it didn’t again in 1903, but was not rebuilt a second time. By the early 1900s, last long. It was destroyed by fire in 1911, and the Union motion pictures were on the rise and the old theater was outdated. Central Life Insurance Company completed a skyscraper on the site two years later. 1881 MARQUA FACTORY FIRE From the Collection of The Cincinnati Museum Center- Cincinnati Historical Society Library This spectacular fire began at P.J. Marqua’s Sons factory, which made “children’s carriages.” The site, at the corner of Smith and Au- gusta Streets, was in a manufacturing district on the riverfront near where I-75 now crosses. An account in Charles Greve’s 1904 Cen- tennial History of Cincinnati states that the horrendous fire on July 7, 1881 “threatened to lay waste a large section of the city.” About 30 buildings were destroyed, and one man died—a foreman who jumped from the fourth floor of the Marqua building. Among the other build- ings leveled were Resor’s Foundry, maker of “stoves and hollow ware,” and Meader’s Furniture Company, as well as dwellings and warehouses. 1891 A E. BURKHARDT FIRE From the Collection of The Cincinnati Museum Center- Cincinnati Historical Society Library The A. E. Burkhardt Company was an enduring furrier business founded in 1866 by Adam Burkhardt, an orphan and immigrant. On July 9, 1891, fire struck the company’s building at the southeast corner of Fourth and Elm. According to historian Charles Greve, it resulted in a loss of more than a million dollars. “At 10 o’clock came a muffled explosion, which was followed by a tremendous burst of flames which enveloped the entire upper part of the building and crossed both Fourth and Elm Streets. Nevertheless the 1907 business thrived for three generations, closing in 1963, just three years WHITE WATER shy of a century. A new building designed by Samuel Hannaford & Sons was completed at this corner in 1893 for the John Church Company, the world’s leading publisher of sacred music at the time. SHAKER VILLAGE FIRE Courtesy of the Friends of White Water Shaker Village, Inc. The Shakers established a settlement at White Water, in the village of New Haven, in 1824. The last of four Ohio Shaker villages settled in Ohio, the White Water Shaker Village flour- ished during the nineteenth century and disbanded in 1916. The Village was acquired by the Hamilton County Park District in 1989, and is now part of Miami Whitewater Forest. Twenty-two original Shaker buildings still remain. This photograph, published with John P. McLean’s 1904 article in the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Publications, shows the Center Family dwellings, which all burned in a devas- tating fire in 1907. Located on the east side of Oxford Road, they are from left to right, the Girls’ Residence,” the main Center Family Residence, and the Boys’ Residence. FIRE&FURY LOST CINCINNATI: WHY BUILDINGS DIE
  5. 5. SAMUEL ACH JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL 1907-1975 From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County This Collegiate Gothic school building once stood at the southwest corner of Reading Road and Rockdale Avenue. Designed by Edward H. Dornette, who was H. E. Siter’s successor as architect for the Board of Education, it was built about 1907. Notice a portion of the Lincoln & Liberty Monument in the lower left corner of this view. The monument remains and was restored several years ago, but the school is gone. In 1967 the school, then known as Samuel Ach Junior High School, was the scene of a protest meeting. Racial tensions generated by unemployment, dislocation from urban renewal projects, overcrowding and friction with police led to two nights of rioting. The Board of Education voted to close the school in July 1975 after studying the comparative cost of renovation and new construc- tion. To some the decrepit physical conditions at Ach re- quired its replacement, while others argued for preservation. It was subsequently demolished, and the site is a playground for the 1950 South Avondale School adjacent. 1860-1901 COVERED BRIDGE OVER THE MILL CREEK From the Collection of The Cincinnati Museum Center-Cincinnati Historical Society Library Today it is difficult to imagine there was ever a wooden covered bridge anywhere in the city; yet this bridge was one of two that spanned the Mill Creek in Northside (historically known as Cummins- ville). The bridge was built in 1860 along with Spring Grove Avenue as a private venture backed by Ephraim S. Bates and Richard Hopple. With additional investors, they operated a mule-drawn street railway along the avenue. In 1901, the old wooden bridge was demolished and replaced with a new “steel archway,” more “suited to modern purposes.” RIVERFRONT STADIUM Courtesy of the City of Cincinnati, Department of Buildings & Inspections 1970-2002 Completed in 1970 and recently known as Cinergy Field, Riverfront Stadium was reflective of its time. It combined facilities for both baseball and football and helped anchor downtown Cincinnati by its location on the river. It also made good use of the floodplain with its construction on columns and parking decks below. Designed by Heery & Heery of Atlanta, it cost $52 million and seated 52,000. For over 30 years, it was home to the Cincinnati Reds and the Bengals, who both won championships the year it opened. As the new millennium approached; however, the stadium was considered outmod- ed and both teams wanted their own arenas. Riverfront Stadium, was imploded on Decem- ber 29, 2002, and replaced by two new sports arenas—the Bengals Stadium and the Great CROSLEY FIELD 1912-1970 American Ballpark. From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County From 1912 to 1970 Crosley Field, at 1200 Findlay Street and Western Avenue, was the home of the Cincinnati Reds, the first professional baseball team in America. Originally known as Redland Field, it was renamed Crosley Field in CHRIST CHURCH 1835-1955 1934 when the Reds were owned by Cincinnati business man and inventor Powel Crosley, Jr. Baseball devotees From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County count the first night game in 1935 as one of the most no- table events to take place in this ball park. This early Gothic-Revival church, designed by Henry Walter, was built on Fourth Street east of Sycamore in 1835 by one of Cincinnati’s oldest and most prestigious The ball park was remodelled by Harry Hake’s firm during congregations. The interior was redecorated in 1890 by the Tiffany Studio in New the 1930s, but both the city and the club remained dis- York, but 50 years later the décor, particularly the iridescent purple and gold tile, satisfied with the location. The West End was deteriorat- was considered garish. In 1941, the parish decided to replace the old church, find- ing and parking there was difficult. The 1948 Metropolitan ing it worn out, functionally obsolete and unfashionable. Master Plan called for a multi-sports stadium to be built on the riverfront just east of the Suspension Bridge. Twenty The plans for a new building were delayed by World War II and controversy over its years later, ground was broken for Riverfront Stadium and design. An innovative concept by Eliel Saarinen, a proponent of Modern architec- on June 24, 1970, the last game was played at Crosley ture, was rejected in 1949 as too radical. It was not until 1955 that the old church Field. was demolished. The current neo-Gothic building by David Briggs Maxfield was finally completed two years later, and has been renovated several times since. 1867-1990 CINCINNATI WORKHOUSE From the Collection of The Cincinnati Museum Center-Cincinnati Historical Society Library You may remember spying this formidable fortress of a building in Camp Washington while driving by on Interstate 75. Completed in 1867, the Workhouse was a prison established on the principle that criminals could be rehabilitated through work. It was also the first major commis- sion by Samuel Hannaford one of Cincinnati’s most prolific architects, with Edwin Anderson. In 1978 there was a court order to close the Workhouse because of unhealthy conditions and functional obsolescence. A new jail east of the present Hamilton County Courthouse was completed in 1982. For over a decade preservationists attempted to save the Workhouse by listing it in the National Register of Historic Places and searching for new uses for it. But this was not enough to keep it from being demolished in 1990. FUNCTIONAL OBSOLESCENCE LOST CINCINNATI: WHY BUILDINGS DIE
  6. 6. 1811 GREAT NEW MADRID EARTHQUAKES From the Collection of The Cincinnati Museum Center-Cincinnati Historical Society Library On December 16, 1811, just seven years after the Betts House was built, a terrible earthquake struck in the middle of the night. It took only minutes for the shock waves to arrive from their point of origin in New Madrid in southern Missouri. The then 26-year- old Cincinnati physician and scientific observer Daniel Drake wrote this account in his book, Natural and statistical view, or a picture of Cincinnati, published in 1815. ”At 24 minutes past 2 o’clock a.m… the first shock occurred….It was so violent as to agitate the loose furniture of our rooms; open partition doors that were fastened with 1907 falling latches, and throw off the tops of a few chimnies [sic]...” EIGHTH STREET A more severe quake hit Ohio on February 7, 1812, which “…made wider fissures in the brick walls, and produced vertigo and nausea in a greater number of people, than the earthquakes of either the 16th of VIADUCT COLLAPSE December or the 23rd of January.” The Betts House was not immune. The kitchen and chimney on the west side of the house, just completed in 1811, had to be totally dismantled. A new kitchen then was built on From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County the north side of the house. As reported in the Cincinnati Times-Star, “With a roar that might be likened to a broadside of the great battleship Dreadnought, three 1917 sections of the Eight Street viaduct gave way at 7:25 o’clock Sunday morning and, amid the whirl of a dashing mill race current, disappeared EAST SIDE TORNADO into the murky backwater of the Millcreek.” From the Collection of The viaduct fell because the filled earth embankment The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County supporting it was “unable to withstand the pressure of million of tons of water, which had backed in from Mill creek Not two years after the 1915 downburst, a powerful and the Ohio River.” The flood reached a stage of 65 feet. storm leveled six houses and damaged scores of others No one was killed, but the city’s west side was in disarray for in Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout. “Twister Shrieks Death,” the day, without telephone, streetcars or much water. said one headline. The storm was described by a witness as sounding like “hundreds of engines, hissing and roaring through the streets.” Winds roared at 75 miles per hour. The storm struck with terrible force on Linwood Road, Grace, Greist and Delta Avenues and Red Bank Road. Three persons were killed and more than 50 others were seriously injured. Fires caused by gas explosions burned at least six properties. 1997 5835 CROSLIN STREET Courtesy of the City of Cincinnati, Department of Buildings & Inspections This little wood-frame house once stood in the Cincinnati neighborhood of California, near the Cincinnati Water Works. This dwelling was one of 38 properties along the Ohio River that were damaged beyond repair by a flood in March 1997 and 1937 condemned. City Council approved the expenditure of $1.25 million to buy these properties, after which the city would not CH&D allow any “insurable or inhabitable” structures to be built on the land. The house at 5837 Croslin Street was demolished RAILROAD immediately because of structural instability, while others were demolished later. WAREHOUSE COLLAPSE 1915 From the Collection of The Public Library DOWNTOWN DOWNBURST of Cincinnati and Hamilton County The 1937 flood was the worst in Cincinnati’s From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County history, reaching a high water mark of 79.9 feet. Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Cliff Radel Flood waters covered 12 square miles in the city, recently wrote about auctioneer drove 50,000 people from their homes, caused Phyllis Karp’s discovery of post cards three major fires and eight deaths and caused showing the devastation caused by a million of dollars in property damage. storm on July 7, 1915. “On that July night, high winds acted like sledge-hammers The warehouse of the Cincinnati Hamilton & slamming into Greater Cincinnati. Church Dayton Railroad, on the western riverfront steeples fell. A riverboat capsized. A between Fifth and Sixth Streets, was among train derailed. Houses crumbled into piles the buildings lost. Opened in 1851, the CH&D of bricks.” At least 32 people perished, line, heading northward through the Mill including members of Mrs. Karp’s family. Creek Valley, provided the impetus for the early railroad-commuter suburbs, especially Although the storm was described as a Glendale, Hartwell and Wyoming. “cyclone,” in newspapers of the day, it was actually a downburst. According to an expert “A downburst is caused when a mass of dry air goes into the heart of a thunderstorm. This sends a shaft of air into the ground at speeds of at least 120 miles per hour.” Downbursts, which occur most often in the northern half of the country, can cut a path 10 to 20 miles wide and 100 miles long. NATURAL DISASTERS LOST CINCINNATI: WHY BUILDINGS DIE
  7. 7. 1854-1954 CENTRAL AVENUE 1907 HOLY TRINITY COLLAPSE CHURCH From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County From the Collection of The Cincinnati Museum “Death, swift and sure, came to two per- Center-Cincinnati Historical Society Library sons and possibly to three when the front part of the four-story double brick build- Holy Trinity Catholic Church, at 621 West Fifth ing at 625-627 Central Avenue collapsed Street near Mound Street, was demolished in with a roar that could be heard for many 1954, 100 years after it was built, because of squares.” (Cincinnati Post-Times-Star, 9/14, structural failure. “An inspection of the building 1907) The collapse was apparently caused revealed that the… structure had deteriorated by an ill-advised improvement--remov- to such an extent that the cost of repairs would ing a wall to create a single storeroom on be prohibitive.” Along with the building, two mu- the first floor for the building owner’s shoe ral paintings of angels by the renowned artist store. The foundation walls under the cen- Frank Duveneck came crashing down. The paint- ter girder gave way because “they could ings were not on canvas but painted directly on not support the concentrated weight of the walls and impractical to save. the girder that rested on them… thus re- moving the support of the upper floors.” Founded in 1834, Holy Trinity was the first parish The front the building sheared off “almost for German-speaking Catholics west of the Allegh- as completely and smoothly as though enies and the second Catholic Church erected with- the front of the house had been cut off in the city limits. The parish’s first church was de- with a giant knife.” stroyed by fire, and this larger building was dedicated on January 1, 1854. The towering copper-clad steeple was the city’s tallest structure with the exception of the Carew Tower. After most of the German families ca. 1993 moved to the suburbs, Holy Trinity became an African- American parish in 1925. Rather than rebuilding, the par- ish closed in 1958 and the property sold for construction of Interstate 75. 1890-2004 SUMMIT COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL Courtesy of the City of Cincinnati, Department of Buildings & Inspections The collapse of a 30- to 45-foot section of the main building at Summit Country Day School in Hyde Park was front-page news in January 2004. The first, second and third floors collapsed, leaving part of the fourth floor 645-645 ½ WEST and roof hanging above. Designed by noted Philadelphia Catholic architect Edwin F. Durang and built in several MCMICKEN AVENUE stages from 1890 to 1895, the impressive old brick build- ing had stood on Grandin Road for well over a century. Courtesy of the City of Cincinnati, Department of Buildings & Inspections What happened? Excavation for a new building for the Low- er School was too deep and too close to the existing stone This two-family house at 645-645½ West McMicken foundation. The foundation in that area didn’t run as deep Avenue in the neighborhood of Mohawk is an example as the rest of the building, and rain the day before probably of a building that was neglected to the point that it be- caused the ground to freeze and thaw, causing movement. came a public nuisance. Beginning in 1985, the De- Fortunately no one was hurt; the collapse occurred on a Sun- partment of Buildings & Inspections issued orders to day when the building was empty, but the students had to the owner to repair the roof, windows, plaster, flooring, move to temporary quarters off-campus while their classrooms plumbing and wiring--to no avail. The city finally con- were rebuilt. demned and placed it on the “Dead Building List” in 1989. The city demolished it in 1993. A former tenant wrote that before moving to a house across the street in 1944, she lived at 645 West Mc- Micken and it was in bad shape then. “For many years the buildings… have been in terrible condition and no one should have been allowed to live there at all. The buildings are a disgrace to our neighborhood and an eyesore.” There are hundreds of similar examples, particularly in Over-the-Rhine, which re- flect the challenges of preserving older neighborhoods. 1907-2003 1890-2004 EMPIRE THEATER CLIFFORD PRESBYTERIAN CHAPEL The Empire opened in 1907 at 1521 Vine Street with From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County an elegant façade by architects Rapp, Zettel & Rapp. The theater was refaced with an eye-catching modern The Clifford Presbyterian Chapel, which stood at the corner of Vine Street and Martin Luther design after 1940 and closed in the 1960s. After civil unrest King Boulevard in Corryville, was built in 1890 and designed by noted architect H. E. Siter. It in 2001, it was the city’s hope that the Empire Theater would was built for the “domestic help” of the Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church members, who used lead the revitalization of Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine. A for- it while their church building, also by Siter, was being built. The chapel was underwritten by mer Japanese League basketball player LaShawn Pettus Brown industrialist and church trustee Matthew Addy, and named after his son Clifford. obtained a $200,000 city loan to convert the old theater into a night club. But instead, 26-year-old Pettus-Brown disappeared, After standing vacant for many years, the Corryville Economic Development Corporation along with the money. In June 2003 the roof collapsed in a (CEDC) considered rehabilitating it in its effort to revitalize the neighborhood, but an engi- rainstorm. The roof structure was weakened by rot from years neering report cited structural problems that were too extensive and costly to correct. Before of water penetration. demolishing the building in 2004, the CEDC salvaged the stained glass windows for possible reuse. STRUCTURAL FAILURE LOST CINCINNATI: WHY BUILDINGS DIE