Thursday, December 23, 2010

Know Theatre

The Know Theatre got its start in 1997 as the Know Theatre Tribe and performed at Gabriel’s Corner Church. As of 2006, The Know Theatre found a new home on Jackson Street. The theatre has received many awards and accolades over the past years for their performances like the Post-Corbett Award in 2003 for their production of Corpus Christi, Acclaim Awards, and a Cincinnati Entertainment Award in 2009-2010 for their production of Angels In America. The Know Theatre also produces the Cincinnati Fringe Festival each year. It is a festival that brings to the city many performers and artists that may not get to be seen on a formal stage.

Know Theatre
1120 Jackson Street, Over The Rhine

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Up to this point if you have spent any time following the tour or if you have simply been driving around town you probably have seen some great murals on the sides of buildings, perhaps a painted pig or two, or even a nicely painted piano sitting in a park waiting to be played. All of these things can be credited to ArtWorks, a non-profit organization in Cincinnati that was founded in 1996. It connects students and artists together to create some amazing works of art. A lot of the street art you see in and around Cincinnati is from up and coming artists learning from professionals.

In the early 2000’s ArtWorks hosted the Big Pig Gig where more than 400 fiberglass pigs were painted with some very unique themes and scattered around town. A lot of the pigs were auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting ArtWorks and many of the pigs can still be seen in various places around town.

One of ArtWorks recent projects is MuralWorks. MuralWorks started in 2007 and many murals have been painted on buildings throughout the city. Because of this project, the city is more colorful, lively, and is in a sense, a living art exhibit.

Over the past Summer, ArtWorks teamed up with artist Luke Jerram for the, Play Me I’m Yours project. It is a project where local students paint donated pianos and they are placed around town for everyone to play and enjoy.

The latest project from ArtWorks is the Queen City ArtRacks program which creates decorative bike racks for use across town.

ArtWorks always has a lot going on. Aside from these projects ArtWorks partners with organizations like the Cincinnati Art Museum to create exhibits and they also host their annual fundraiser, Secret ArtWorks which brings together donated art work from famous and up and coming artists. The paintings are sold to interested buyers and the artists are revealed after the sale. It’s a great way to contribute to ArtWorks while at the same time picking up some nice works of art.

ArtWorks also has a gallery located at 20 E. Central Parkway which is definitely worth checking out.

20 East Central Parkway (with art all around town)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gateway Quarter

Over-The-Rhine was settled by German immigrants back in the mid-19th century. These immigrants created the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood in the image of their homeland and built homes, theatres, churches, and beer gardens to reflect this. The area got its nickname from the time of the Miami & Erie Canal, which reminded them of the Rhine River back home. Stepping out of downtown Cincinnati and over the canal bridge was considering crossing “Over The Rhine”. The name stuck and the community was born.

Sometime in the 20th Century, many families started to migrate out of the city leaving the urban area with a small population. OTR has had its ups and downs over the years with high crime rates, poverty, and even riots but today the area is seeing a rebirth as a quality place to live, work, shop, and eat.

Over-The-Rhine was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 as one of the largest intact urban historic districts in the country and with the largest collection of Italianate architecture in the country. This historic area has been danger and many of the buildings have been demolished but with the hard work of many, a lot of the surviving buildings are being restored to their true beauty making Over-The-Rhine the great neighborhood that it once was.

A prime example of this effort is the area on and around Twelfth and Vine Streets known as the Gateway Quarter. With the collective effort of the city, neighborhood interest groups, and the 3CDC, ongoing work is being done to rehabilitate many of these historic structures and turning them into condos, shops and restaurants, and businesses as part of the Over-The-Rhine Comprehensive Plan. The objective is not only to rehabilitate the historic structures in the neighborhood but to make sure that any new construction and infill fits in with the current landscape of the community. The Gateway Quarter area has grown and is still growing with great living space, restaurants, and shops as well as entertainment. The surrounding buildings have been restored to their former glory and this area of Over-The-Rhine is a, “must visit” area of the city.

Gateway Quarter
Area surrounding Twelfth and Vine Streets, Over The Rhine

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati

The Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati is a non-profit professional Equity theatre which has new regional, world, and off-Broadway premiere productions. The ETC and its actors have received numerous CEA and Acclaim awards and the theatre is a member of ArtsWave. The Ensemble Theatre was founded in 1986 and performed at Memorial Hall until moving into their present location in 1988. This brightly colored building with its tall faux marble columns was home to many different things in the past like a consulate, a bank, and a printing shop. In 2008, ETC announced the renovation of the building next to them to expand the theatre.

Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati
1127 Vine Street, Over The Rhine

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Alkemeyer Commercial Buildings

These two buildings were built between 1879 and 1884 and are located on Court Street near Vine Street. The buildings have been used for a millinery, shops, and apartments and are historically significant for their architecture more than for their use. The Lotze Building is located to the left on 19 Court Street and designed by William Walter for the heirs of inventor Adolphus Lotze. It is an Italianate Style building which is mainly used for apartments today. The other building to the right is a Queen Anne Style building located at 23 Court Street and is used as a clothing store today. Both buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Alkemeyer Commercial Buildings
19-23 W. Court Street, Cincinnati

Friday, December 17, 2010

The School for Creative & Performing Arts

The School for Creative & Performing Arts was founded in 1973 as a magnet arts school for the area. It was first located in the Mt. Adams Public School. The school is known for attracted talented high school kids in the area and even around the world. Only about 20% of the students who apply get accepted to attend. The school focuses on writing, dance, drama, music, theater, and art. In 1975 the school was temporarily located in Roselawn until it moved into Woodward High School in 1976. Up until recently, Woodward was the home for the school.

The Erich Kunzel Center for Arts and Education was completed in 2010 and ready for the new school year. This is a state of the art facility geared around the performing arts.

The school has received national attention over the years and in 2009 the school was featured in the MTV reality series, Taking The Stage. Some of its notable graduates are Sarah Jessica Parker, Carmen Electra, and Nick Lachey.

The School for Creative & Performing Arts
108 West Central Parkway, Over The Rhine

Friday, December 10, 2010

85. Central Parkway

The history of Central Parkway goes back before the time that it was a major paved thoroughfare. In the late 1700’s, Central Parkway was used as a military trail for St. Clair and Wayne and from 1828 to 1920, Central Parkway was part of the Miami & Erie Canal system which stretched from Lake Erie near Toledo down to the Ohio River in Cincinnati. With the end of the canal system the city planned on building a subway system and using the canal route for the subway tunnels. The city received funding for the subway in 1916 but with the start of World War I, construction did not start until 1920. Because of the war and rising inflation, funds ran out and construction stopped in 1927. Today the subway tunnel still exists under Central Parkway.

Central Parkway was dedicated in 1928 as a wide lane street with a wide island in the middle of the street with trees, benches, walkways, and lighting. Over the years with increased automobile traffic, Central Parkway has been widened. In the 1990’s the center islands were restored to what they used to be. Central Parkway serves in a way as a line between the central business district and Over The Rhine.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

84. Crosley Square

What was once an Elks Lodge turned into Crosley Square in 1942. At one time, WLW radio was located in the building where Crosley radios were made. When World War II started, the Crosley radio manufacturing facility became highly classified due to the fact that Crosley was making detonators for the military. The Crosley executives purchased the old Elks Lodge on Ninth and Elm and made it the broadcasting center for the Midwest. With the invention of television, Crosley Square became home to WLWT TV in 1948. Over the years many television and radio shows were done out of this building and many celebrities and important figures went in and out the doors of this building. Many Cincinnati favorites like Ruth Lyons, Paul Dixon, and Bob Braun did their shows from this building and some of the first color television shows were televised from here as well.

The last broadcasts came from Crosley Square in 1999 when WLWT TV moved to their new location Mount Auburn. Since the time of television and radio, the building was purchased by Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy and turned into the Otto Armleder Memorial Education Center – a grade school for inner-city students.

Crosley Square
140 West Ninth Street, Downtown

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cuvier Press Club Building

This social club got its start in 1911 when members of the Cuvier Club (named after naturalist George Cuvier) merged with the Pen and Pencil Club. The club was located on Opera Place until 1938 when they moved to the Fechheimer Mansion on Garfield Place and changed their name to the Cuvier Press Club. This home was designed by Samuel Hannaford and is an Italian Renaissance style home. In 1973, the city purchased the home and used it as a senior center. In 2005, it was purchased by LPK and joined with the Butterfield Senior Center building next door and is used as a meeting facility. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Cuvier Press Club Building
22 Garfield Place, Downtown

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cincinnati Public Library

The Cincinnati Public Library got its start in 1874 at a location on Vine Street between Sixth and Seventh Streets. In 1955, the library opened a new location on the corner of Eighth and Vine Streets. This contemporary building was designed by Woodie Garber and was recognized for its use of open space. In 1982 the library expanded to take up an entire block which encompasses Eighth Street and Vine all the way to Ninth Street and Walnut. With this new building came new features to the library such as a garden, a serpentine brick wall, Venetian glass tiles, and a plaque honoring veterans. In 1997 the North building was completed which expanded the library across Ninth Street. The main branch of the Cincinnati Public Library became one of the largest public library buildings in the United States.

This branch of the library contains a large amount of reading materials as well as audio and video. It also contains a great collection of historic documents and photos of Cincinnati which are available for research. The library also has many permanent exhibits such as sculptures like Louise Nevelson sculpture and the Amelia Valerio Weinberg Memorial Fountain (also known as the “book fountain” shown above). The library is definitely one of the great treasures of Cincinnati.

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
800 Vine Street, Downtown

Monday, December 6, 2010

Underwriters Salvage Corps Building

The Underwriters Salvage Corps was an organization which was formed in 1886 to work with the fire department and fire insurance companies. Its primary purpose was to assist the fire department at the scene of a fire to save people and properties surrounding the fires. Once fire departments became more common and established, the role of the Underwriters Salvage Corps was limited to cleaning up after a fire. The Underwriters Salvage Corps was disbanded in 1959.

This building was the site of Station 1 of the Salvage Corps. It was built in 1897 by William Schuberth and was used to store equipment and as the office for the employees on duty. It is a brick Queen Anne style structure and is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Underwriters Salvage Corps Building
110 East Eighth Street, Downtown

Friday, December 3, 2010

St. Louis Church

The St. Louis parish was founded in 1870 with this church built in 1930. The area that the church is standing on was once the home to St. Ludwig’s Kirche, a Roman Catholic Church for a Campbellite group which was a sect that sought to return to more primitive aspects of Christian teachings. The two groups merged in 1870 to create the parish that stands today.

The church is a Florentine style limestone building and today the church still conducts mass and serves as offices for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

St. Louis Church
29 East Eighth Street, Downtown

Thursday, December 2, 2010

James A. Garfield Statue

James A. Garfield was the 20th President of the United States taking office in 1881 and was assassinated in the same year, 200 days after taking office. President Garfield had the second shortest Presidency in history after President William Henry Harrison who by coincidence has a statue erected in his honor at the opposite end of Piatt Park. Prior to being president, Garfield served as a Major General in the Union army during the Civil War and fought at the Battle of Shiloh. Garfield also served as an Ohio State Senator and a United States Congressman for Ohio.

The Garfield statue is located at the East end of Piatt Park at Garfield Place and Vine Street. The statue was created by Charles Niehaus and unveiled in 1887. At one time, the statue stood in the middle of the intersection of Eighth and Race Street on a taller pedestal but since that time it has been place on a lower pedestal and moved out of the street because it annoyed horse drawn carriage and automobile drivers.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Doctor's Building

Built in 1923 and designed by the Cincinnati firm Tietig and Lee, the Doctor’s Building is a Venetian Gothic Revival Style building constructed mainly of brick, reinforced concrete and terracotta tiles. This building acted as a medical center for Cincinnati and was equipped to provide doctors and dentists with everything they needed. At the time, the building was built on the South end of the park so it could be seen above many of the other buildings in the area. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Doctor’s Building
19 Garfield Place, Downtown