It’s been a while since I’ve photographed anything of interest in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio – coinciding mainly with my move to Northside. But on a hot evening in May, I ventured down to photograph the new Horseshoe Casino and to walk the streets around the eastern front of downtown, which seems to be more quiet and neglected than other parts of the city center.
I wrote a lengthy article on what Broadway Commons was, could have been and where it is heading today in The Long Road for Broadway Commons.
St. Paul Catholic Church is located at 12th and Spring Streets in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati, Ohio. The brick Romanesque structure, with Doric pilasters and tall, round arched windows in the front, was dedicated on January 20, 1850. The building features a Renaissance tower capped with a Pope’s Mitre cupola roof and gilded cross and stained glass windows from Germany.
The church was deconsecrated in 1974 and was listed to the National Register of Historic Places that same year. It was purchased in 1981 by the Verdin Company as a showroom and museum for bells and clocks.
An unassuming building along Broadway was once home to the Crane-Hawley Company that boasted a large showroom and helped facilitate the sale and installation of thousands of plumbing and heating fixtures throughout the region. I previously covered this structure in Cincinnati’s Crane-Hawley Building.
Construction on the firm’s Cincinnati location in July 1912 and was completed in December 1913 with an estimated cost of $150,000. The new 100,000 square-foot,(2) five-story structure, which contained a full basement and sub-basement and was composed of cast-iron columns and structural iron beams embedded in concrete, with floor slabs of reinforced concrete. All floors were reachable by two stairwells with tin-clad doors and two electric elevators. After numerous spectacular fires in the past with other industrial buildings in the city and across the nation, care was undertaken to make the new building as fireproof as possible – down to fireproof stairwells, fireproof wells for elevators, and elevator doors made of rolling steel shutters.
The plumbing and heating showroom occupied 3,600 square-feet on the second floor, with a 6-foot greenish/gray Rookwood tile wainscoting and gray tile floor. Lighting was provided in the showroom with 400-watt indirect “X-ray” tungsten lamps. The ceilings and walls above the wainscoting were a sand finish, painted in a light tint. The only windows were installed on the street side with opaline glass.
The city sales office was located on the first floor, and contained a Lamson tube system for order slips. The pipe shop occupied 6,000 square-feet in hte basement, and could handle and thread pipe in all sizes up to 18 inches. All 15 machines were direct driven by 220-volt direct current motors. An overhead trolley system, with switches and curves, allowed for the overhead carrying of pipes and fittings from one machine to another, from beginning to end.
I wrote a similar piece for this building titled Cincinnati’s Crane-Hawley Building containing more historical photographs.
The Times-Star Building is one of the best examples of the Art Deco style in the city, yet it remains uncelebrated due to its less-than-prominent location. Designed by the Samuel Hannaford & Sons firm, the 16-story building was built in 1931 with a limestone exterior with an ornate facade. Four pillars on the tower corners, two-hundred above the street, feature representations of patriotism, truth, speed and progress.
The Times-Star was a newspaper founded in 1840 that was later owned by the Taft family. It was merged with the Kentucky Post in 1958.
Today, the property is used by Hamilton County.
But what about that attractive red brick structure at Broadway and East Court Street? The Flatiron Building was constructed in 1902 for the Pittsburg Plate Glass Company but lasted only a year when the building burned on August 3, 1903.
The fire was first reported at 11:45 AM, when Policeman James Mount passed by the building and noticed a small fire burning on the second floor. He raced to a patrol box and sent in a still alarm. But by the time firefighters arrived, an explosion had occurred on the second level that sent flames reaching into the sky. Falling bricks injured three pedestrians. By the time three lines were sent into the building, explosions stemming from the stored barrels of oil and paint began to occur on the south side of the structure on the ground floor. Thankfully, the over 12,000 barrels of turpentine and linseed oil that were stored in an attached iron cellar had not been breached.
The structure was constructed on the principal of “mill construction,” with steel columns and girders but with wooden joists. The building lacked any fire protection. It was noted at the time of the fire that because the pressed brick walls were cracked, that the building may have to be demolished.
The Cincinnati Tribune estimated that the losses topped $300,000. It contained at a minimum $200,000 in stock, while the building was valued at $100,000. Another estimate pegged it at $450,000.
Obviously, the building was rebuilt and hosted the company for a good number of incident-free years. It’s Chicago plant was not so lucky – it was rebuilt three times in all “mill construction.”
813 Broadway, which also fronts Cheapside, was once home to Neil & Smith Electric Tool Co.
The First National Bank Building is located at 830 Main Street and was constructed in 1908 for the Second National Bank. The thirteen-story building was designed by Werner and Adkins. It was later home to the First National Bank.
The Hotel Dennison at 716 Main Street was constructed in 1890 as an ironworks for a carriage manufacturer. The nine-story building was later converted into the Hotel Dennison with 114 units that featured common bathrooms and kitchens.
In March 2011, the Model Group purchased the dilapidated building for $700,000 with the goal of converting the structure into 63 studio apartments for low-income residents. Financing for the $9.6 million development, in the form of a loan, was provided by 3CDC. The Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority also approved of $3.3 million in funding. Model also applied for a 4% tax credit, loans and historic tax credits. The units would feature a kitchen and bathroom with higher quality finishes, with services provided by the not-for-profit Talbert House. The exterior would be restored with new windows and an exterior finished back to its historic appearance. Construction was scheduled to begin in fall 2011.
Queen City Square, completed in 2011, simply cannot be ignored. It’s huge. Some deride this building for its massive stature or for its barely-visible air-conditioning units, but I find that it is a beautiful skyscraper with a clean appearance and a unique crown.
Smale Riverfront Park
A while back, I was walking through Dayton, Kentucky and came across a gorgeous sunset on a warm spring evening, silhouetting Queen City Square and Mt. Adams.