Wednesday, April 27, 2011


This mural was part of the Urban Walls: Cincinnati project that was organized by Carl Solway and Jack Boulton. It was a non-profit community involvement project that was created to cover up the sides of buildings that were exposed as a result of urban renewal. Urban Walls started in 1971 and 10 local artists participated in the event. Its intention was to brighten up a declining urban core.

Located on the side of the Willis Music Building, Allegro is one of just a few remaining murals from the Urban Walls campaign. Allegro was designed by artist Barron Krody and was the winning design featured on posters to promote the campaign.

Corner of West Seventh Street and Baldwin Alley, Downtown

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pioneer Memorial Cemetery

In 1788, Major Benjamin Stites and his group of 26 men and women traveled by boat down the Ohio River and settled near the mouth of the Little Miami River and created the settlement of Columbia. Stites, who purchased 20,000 acres of land, set out to Ohio to create a great city and it was Stites who convinced Colonel John Cleves Symmes to purchase the land that would become the city of Cincinnati.

On the land that was the town of Columbia is the Pioneer Memorial Cemetery. The cemetery was originally the Columbia Baptist Cemetery. On the ground of the cemetery was once the Columbia Baptist Church, the first Protestant church in the Northwest Territory.

Many of the original pioneers of this area are buried here including Major Benjamin Stites as well as William Brown, a Revolutionary War soldier who is one of three soldiers who were awarded the Badge of Military Merit, the predecessor of the Purple Heart from George Washington. Also buried here is Rachel Kibby who was Benjamin Stites’ daughter and the first non-Native American child to set foot in the area.

The cemetery also contains a large column inscribed with the names of the original pioneers and stands as a tribute to those who came before us. The cemetery is located across from Lunken Airport.

Pioneer Memorial Cemetery
333 Wilmer Avenue, Columbia-Tusculum

Monday, April 25, 2011

Vhils Mural

The latest addition of street art comes from urban contemporary artist, Alexandre Farto, who goes by the name Vhils. The Portuguese-born, London based artist is currently doing a residency at BLDG, a gallery in Covington, Kentucky. Vhils uses a variety of methods for his work from walls, metals, billboards, paper, and wood.

This mural is located on the side of Mainstay Rock Bar and is commissioned in conjunction with the Contemporary Art Center’s Keith Haring exhibit. Vhils used chisels and drills on the west side of the building to carve into the plaster exposing the brick underneath to create this image. Vhils work is inspired from photos taken of local people and this work is the image of Tim Dwight, president of Motch Jewelers in Covington.

Vhils Mural
301 West Fifth Street, Downtown

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society Museum

The Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society Museum has an impressive display of the history of law enforcement and artifacts from over 100 law enforcement agencies around the Tri-State area. Among many of the exhibits at the police museum are photos of those who lost their lives in the line of duty, a collection of uniforms from the agencies in the area, weapons used by law enforcement and in murder cases, an old police dispatch unit, a 1965 Harley-Davidson Police motorcycle, and a large collection of badges and shoulder patches from all over the world. There is also an exhibit on the Courthouse riot of 1884 as well as, “Handsome” the first canine of the Cincinnati Police Department. The exterior of the museum is topped off with an ArtWorks mural, which honors the history of law enforcement in the area. Tours are available from many retired and active police officers that volunteer at the museum.

The Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society Museum
959 West Eighth Street, Queensgate

Thursday, April 21, 2011

American Sign Museum

The American Sign Museum was founded in 2005 by Tod Swormstedt, editor and publisher of the trade publication, Sign of the Times. The museum has an impressive display of signs from the 1800’s through the 1970’s. In the museum you will find just about every type of sign from early goldleaf and glass signs, storefronts, metal, wooden, brightly lit neon signs, and hand painted show cards from Las Vegas. The museum has over 200 signs as well as sign making materials and educates visitors on the history of signs and their impact on society, commerce, and the American landscape.

There are some very unique and interesting signs in the museum such as the Shopland Shopping Center Sputnik replica, a bright neon SkyVu Motel sign, and the Frisch’s Big Boy. There is even a sign restoration facility.

Tours are available and you will most likely get a personal tour from the founder himself.

The museum was once located on Essex Place in Walnuts Hills but recently moved to the Oesterlein Machine Company-Fashion Frocks Inc. Complex in Camp Washington. This former parachute factory and historic building gives the museum more space to display all of the signs in their collection.

American Sign Museum
1330 Monmouth Street, Camp Washington

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pendleton Art Center

The Pendleton Art Center was created by the Verdin Company to give artists a space to create and exhibit their work. The building, which was once a warehouse, was converted to studios that are available to artists of all disciplines and there are over 200 artists at this location alone. The center participates in Final Friday and Second Look Saturday where artists open up their studios to the public to display and sell their work. Guided tours are available and there are art centers located in Ashland Kentucky, Rising Sun Indiana, and Middletown Ohio as well.

The 8-floor warehouse was built in 1909 and used by the Krohn-Fecheimer Shoe Company. It later served as the main warehouse for Shillito's Department Store and was purchased in 1991 by The Verdin Company for use as a facility to support local artists.

Pendleton Art Center
1310 Pendleton Street, Pendleton

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Hanke Building

The Hanke Building was constructed in 1876 to serve as the Hanke Department Store founded by Herman Adolph Hanke, who had operated his department stores since 1876. This Renaissance Revival building was designed by local architect Louis Piket and features a Beaux-Arts façade as well as a 3-story atrium. As a result of the Great Depression, the department store closed in 1933.

The great story behind this building is not only the history, but what can be accomplished when a group is dedicated to architectural preservation. In 1995, the Hanke Building was slated for emergency demolition and 3-days before the destruction of the building, the Stough Development Corporation stepped in and saved the building. The building was completely updated and renovated and today serves as retail and offices. The building is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Hanke Building
1128 Main Street, Over The Rhine

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mt. Washington Water Tower

Built in 1933, the Mt. Washington Water Tower is a local landmark that sits on the highest point on the East side of the city and can be seen for miles. The water tower is an Art Deco style tower made of concrete with a beacon on top. In the early days of Mt. Washington, a schoolhouse stood where the water tower is today. The water tower is located directly off from the business district and the Mt. Washington branch of the Cincinnati Public Library stands in the shadow of the tower. Every year at Christmas, the Moeller Knights of Columbus string lights from the top to the bottom of the water tower.

Mt. Washington Water Tower
Beechmont Avenue and Campus Lane, Mt. Washington

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hyde Park Square

Established in 1892, the Hyde Park neighborhood was the creation of Charles & John Kilgour, James E. Mooney, Albert S. Berry, Wallace Burch, Simeon Johnson, John Zumstein, and Thomas B. Youtsey. All real estate investors in the area and became known as the Mornington Syndicate and the area was first known as Mornington. This group of developers established the area for the wealthy of Cincinnati and modeled the neighborhood after the well established Hyde Park in New York and Mornington was changed to Hyde Park. Hyde Park was annexed by the city of Cincinnati in 1903.

In the center of the neighborhood is Hyde Park Square – one of the oldest shopping areas in Cincinnati. The square has many unique specialty shops, art galleries, and restaurants. In the center of the square is a small park which is managed by the park board and the centerpiece of the park is the Kilgour Fountain, which was donated to the people of Hyde Park by Charles Kilgour in 1900. The fountain was created by sculptor Joseph Cronin of Cincinnati and later restored by Eleftherios Karkadoulias, who has also restored the Tyler-Davidson Fountain on Fountain Square.

Through-out the year there are many activities on the square such as a farmers market, the Hyde Park Blast – a run and bike race, and the Hyde Park Square Art Show which is one of the largest one day art shows in the city.

Hyde Park Square
Erie and Observatory between Edwards and Michigan Avenue, Hyde Park

Monday, April 11, 2011

King Records

In 1943, Syd Nathan started King Records using some money he borrowed from his family. King started off as a Country music label and was commonly referred to as a hillbilly label with the slogan, “If it’s a King, it’s a hillbilly” and had popular Country and Bluegrass artists like Reno and Smiley, The Delmore Brothers, and Moon Mullican.

By 1945, Syd Nathan saw that there was a need for an outlet for African-American artists and created the Queen Records label which later became known under the King label. With the addition of R&B to the King Records repertoire, Syd signed artists like Hank Ballard, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, and the most popular artist under the label, James Brown.

With the addition of more artists like local favorite Bob Braun, Petula Clark, Cowboy Copas, The Ink Spots, and the Stanley Brothers (to name a few), King became known for Country, Bluegrass, R&B, Doo-Wop, and Soul and soon became known as, “The King of them all”.

Not only did King act as a recording studio for its artists but their facility was used for mixing, mastering, pressing, and shipping. Syd Nathan employed both whites and blacks at the company making it one of the first integrated companies in Cincinnati.

Syd Nathan passed away in 1968 and King Records was acquired by Starday Records. The label changed hands several times until it was eventually sold to Gusto Records.

In 2008 a marker was placed at the original location of King Records in Evanston to commemorate King’s place in music history.

King Records
1540 Brewster Avenue, Evanston

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Historical Marker: 1749 French Claims to Ohio River Valley

Location: Bicentennial Commons at Sawyer Point

Stops on the Queen City Tour

1. Fountain Square and the Tyler Davidson Fountain
2. Metrobot (R.I.P.)
Addition: John F. Kennedy Plaque
3. Potter Stewart United States Courthouse
4. Two Rectangles Vertical Gyratory II, Variation IV
5. Chiquita Center
6. Cincinnati Masonic Center
7. The Proctor and Gamble Company
Addition: Gateway Sculpture
8. Taft Museum
9. Lytle Park
10. Statue of Abraham Lincoln
Addition: Ft. Washington Monument
11. Fourth Street
12. Literary Club of Cincinnati
13. Guilford School
14. Western-Southern Financial Group
15 University Club
Addition: Queen City Square
16. Queen City Club
17. Christ Church Episcopal
Addition: Federal Reserve Bank
18. Cincinnati Gas & Electric
19. 19th Century Commercial Buildings
20. Dixie Terminal
Addition: Mercantile Library
21. Bartlett Building
21a. Fourth National Bank Building
21b. Fourth & Walnut Center
21c. Tri-State Building
22. ACI Building
23. PNC Tower
24. The former Gidding Store
Addition: The McAlpin
25. Tower Place
Addition: Paul Brown Stadium
26. Cinergy Field (R.I.P.)
Addition: National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Addition: Scripps Center
Addition: Great American Ball Park
Addition: US Bank Arena
Addition: Showboat Majestic
27. John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge
28. Covington Riverfront Development District
Addition: Roebling Murals
Addition: The Ascent
29. Northern Bank of Kentucky
30. Cincinnati Service Center of the United States Internal Revenue Service
31. Clay Wade Bailey Bridge and the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Bridge
Addition: Devou Park
32. Goebel Park
33. MainStrasse Village
34. Mother of God Roman Catholic Church
35. Firehouse No. 1
36. Cathedral Basilica
Addition: The Carnegie Center
Addition: Kenton County Public Library
37. Madison Avenue Business District
38. Odd Fellows Hall
Addition: Lincoln Grant School
Addition: Greenup Street
39. The Ohio Riverside Historic District
40. Shinkle Row
41. Lovell-Graziani House
42. Laidley House
43. Carneal House
44. Fallis-Lovell House
45. Riverside Drive
46. George Rogers Clark Park
47. 124 Garrard Street
48. Ranson House
49. Shinkle House
Addition: Daniel Carter Beard Boyhood Home
50. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
51. Campbell County Court House
52. Lawyer’s Building
53. Campbell Towers (R.I.P.)
Addition: World Peace Bell
Addition: Stained Glass Theatre
54. York Street Historic District
55. Monmouth Street Historic District
56. East Row Historic District
57. General James Taylor House
58. L&N Bridge
59. Posey Flats (R.I.P.)
Addition: Newport on the Levee
Addition: Newport Aquarium
60. Southgate House
61. Taylor-Southgate Bridge
62. The Bicentennial Commons at Sawyer Point
Addition: Daniel Carter Beard Bridge
Addition: Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park
63. Eden Park
64. Pump Station
Addition: Mirror Lake and the Eden Park Gazebo
65. Irwin M. Krohn Conservatory
66. Melan Arch Bridge
67. Twin Lakes Overlook
68. Vietnam Veterans Memorial
69. Water Tower
70. Murray Seasongood Pavilion
71. Cincinnati Art Museum
72. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
73. Pilgrim Presbyterian Church
74. Ida Street Bridge
Addition: Holy Cross-Immaculata Church
Addition: Mt. Adams Business District
Addition: The Monestary
75. Rookwood Pottery
Addition: Highland Towers
76. 800 Broadway Building
Addition: Krippendorf-Dittman Building
Addition: St. Xavier Church
77. Gwynne Building
78. Stanley J. Aronoff Center for the Arts
Addition: Contemporary Arts Center
Addition: “Additional” by Julian Stanczak
Addition: Cincinnati Enquirer Building
79. Cincinnatian Hotel
Addition: John Shillito Company Building
Addition: Cincinnati Athletic Club
80. Cincinnati Bell Telephone Building
81. Covenant First Presbyterian Church
82. William Henry Harrison Monument
83. The Gramercy and The Greenwich
Addition: Doctor’s Building
Addition: James A. Garfield Statue
Addition: St. Louis Church
Addition: Underwriters Salvage Corps
Addition: Cincinnati Public Library
Addition: Cuvier Press Club Building
84. Crosley Square
85. Central Parkway
Addition: The School for Creative & Performing Arts
Addition: Alkemeyer Commercial Buildings
Addition: Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati
Addition: Gateway Quarter
Addition: ArtWorks
Addition: Know Theatre
Addition: Art Academy of Cincinnati
Addition: Germania Building
Addition: Emery Theatre
Addition: Main Street
Addition: Hamilton County Courthouse
Addition: St. Paul’s Church
Addition: Gateway Bell Tower
86. Young Men’s Christian Association Building
87. Hamilton County Memorial Building
88. Washington Park
89. Music Hall
Addition: Findlay Market
Addition: Over The Rhine Brewery District
Addition: Cincinnati Police Memorial
90. Laurel Homes
90a. Lincoln Court (R.I.P.)
Addition: Dayton Street
Addition: Hauck House Museum
Addition: Mayor George Hatch House
91. Cincinnati Job Corps Center
92. The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal
93. St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church and School
94. Chestnut Street Jewish Cemetery
95. Betts House
96. Crosley Telecommunications Center
97. Cincinnati Fire Museum
98. Lloyd Library
99. Cincinnati City Hall
100. Plum Street Temple
101. St. Peter in Chains Cathedral
Addition: Greater Cincinnati Firefighters Memorial Park
102. Dr. Albert B. Sabin Cincinnati Convention Center
103. Carew Tower

The Tour Continues...

We have come to the end of the original Queen City Tour. I hope you enjoyed revisiting this tour as well as some of my additions. Although the original tour was designed as a 2-hour self-guided tour by car, it can be easily maneuvered by walking sections of it or even taking the tour by bike or by bus. Metro and TANK have many stops along the tour route and there are many options for exploring the city! The original tour has not been updated since 1996 but the majority of the tour signs are still up and tour books are still available at the Cincinnati Museum Center gift shop and Fountain News.

With 52 neighborhoods in Cincinnati, there is so much more to see. Moving forward I will explore many of these neighborhoods and the architecture, history, parks, and art along the way.

So, get out and explore the city and enjoy what Cincinnati has to offer!

103. Carew Tower

From its completion in 1930 until the completion of Queen City Square in 2010, Carew Tower was Cincinnati’s tallest building. The 574 feet tall, 49-story building was designed by architects Walter W. Ahlschlager & Associates and Richard Rauh & Associates. The building was named for Joseph T. Carew - founder of the Mabley & Carew department store which was one of the first occupants of the building. The building was conceived as a, “city within a city” with offices, shops, restaurants, and the Omni Netherland Plaza, now known as the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel. The Carew Tower complex became part of Tower Place Mall when it was built in 1991.

The greatest feature of Carew Tower is not its height but the Art Deco style and the well preserved Art Deco details inside and out. There are iron railings, marble floors, rosewood paneling, murals on the wall and ceilings, Rookwood Pottery floral patterns surrounding the entry ways, and sculptures by Rene Paul Chambellen. An entire day could be spent just looking at all of the details.

Another one of the greatest features of Carew Tower is the observation deck. From the top of the building on a clear day you can see for miles upon miles, the entire city, and three states. The views from the observation deck are amazing and something that must be done when visiting downtown.

Carew Tower is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Carew Tower
441 Vine Street, Downtown

Saturday, April 2, 2011

102. Dr. Albert B. Sabin Cincinnati Convention Center

The convention center opened in 1968 as the Dr. Albert B. Sabin Cincinnati Convention Center named after Dr. Albert B. Sabin, developer of the oral polio vaccine. It is now known as the Duke Energy Center and is commonly referred to as the Cincinnati Convention Center.

The convention center contains exhibit halls, meeting and banquet rooms. In 1986 the convention center underwent renovations with the addition of the Albee Theatre façade installed along Fifth Street entrance. In 2006, expansion of the convention center was complete and the convention center now has 750,000 square feet of space. Along with the expansion was the addition of large white rectangles along the Central Avenue side of the building that spell, “Cincinnati” and are illuminated at night. This has become an icon of the city.

Each year the convention center hosts many entertainment events, conferences, and shows including the Boat, Travel & Sports Show, the Home & Garden Show, and the International Wine Festival.

Dr. Albert B. Sabin Cincinnati Convention Center
525 Elm Street, Downtown

Greater Cincinnati Firefighters Memorial Park

The firefighters memorial started back in 1968 with the dedication of the statue, which is the centerpiece of the park. Firefighters Holy Name Society started the memorial with the creation of the statue and obtaining the land for the park. The statue was designed by Irma Suhre and Walter Driesbach and it was modeled after Cincinnati firefighter Al McKinley. The statue was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1968 and the base of the statue has the inscription that reads, "In memory to those dedicated firefighters of the Cincinnati Fire Department who lost their lives in the line of duty."

The memorial and park has undergone a recent renovation with personal pavers surrounding the statue as well as flowerbeds that form the shape of a firefighter’s badge. Each year there is a memorial service on the Wednesday during Fire Prevention week in October at noon.

Greater Cincinnati Firefighters Memorial Park
Corner of Sixth Street and Central Avenue, Downtown