Downtown Cincinnati – Then and Now: 1968-2015 Mashups

Perhaps “Then and Now” photos have been overdone among the historical photography crowd. But the chance to take such documentary images and look at them side-by-side with images from today is irresistible.

Last year we set out on a journey to match the 1968 Hamilton County Auditors Office photos with the modern day Google Streetviews. With renewed interest in the photographs found three years ago resulting from a Cincinnati Magazine article, we thought we would go ahead and prematurely publish a work-in-progress labor of love.

We thought we would be struck by how much changed and the architectural gems we had lost to the big-block/big-box development that resulted from the 1964 Plan for Downtown Cincinnati. No doubt there is much that has changed and there were some terrible decisions made. Notable individual structures were caught in the crossfire between developers and less valued buildings when entire blocks were razed. However, we actually were also encouraged by how much was preserved.

What are your thoughts? Is downtown better off? Were the super-blocks necessary?

We will continue to update this page – it’s taken a while already, as evidenced by the 2015 photos being on the left in some comparisons – but in the meantime here are the results in no particular order. If you have suggestions on how we can improve this project or a taxonomy to the comparisons, or if you spot mistakes, we’d love to hear them.

Proctor & Gamble Commons

NWC Fifth and Broadway 2

344 East Fifth Street

NEC Fifth and Walnut

NEC Fifth and Sycamore

556 Sycamore Street

516 Broadway

NWC Fifth and Broadway

538 Broadway
NEC Fifth and Broadway

Fifth and Race Site

SWC Sixth and Race

NWC Fifth and Race

The Library

872 Vine Street

812 Vine Street

NEC Eighth and Vine

 Perri’s Pancakes

201 East Fifth Street

475 Main Street


NWC Seventh and Walnut
Somebody demolished the Schubert for this?!

722 Vine Street
Another Race Street architectural murder scene. The Capitol Theater.

Various Scenes

NEC Sixth and Central

NEC Sixth and Elm 2

NEC Sixth and Elm

NEC Sixth and Plum

NEC Third and Broadway

NWC Fourth and Main 405 Main Street

NWC Fourth and Race

NWC Seventh and Vine

NWC Sixth and Race
What was so wrong with the original that it was flattened and rebuilt almost exactly alike, yet with no soul?

NEC Fifth and Race

NEC Seventh and Race

SEC Eighth and Vine
This (and most of Vine from Seventh to Eighth) is one of the few “missing teeth” for Vine Street from Third to Central.

NEC Seventh and Vine

SEC Seventh and Race


SWC Garfield and Vine
How high profile sites and low-value structures like this survive while the wrecking ball is in its backswing on treasures like The Dennison is a mystery.


SWC Perry and Plum

SWC Seventh and Plum

The Convention Center

NWC Fifth and Elm

SWC Sixth and Elm

It’s just as non-descript as it was nearly 50 years ago, despite Artworks worthy efforts. The phone booth should have been kept as a wayward novelty. It may have attracted at least one curious soul.

NEC Fifth and Plum

13 West Fourth Street

14 Garfield Place
We love this collection of buildings on Garfield Place.

15 East Seventh Street
A preserved section of Seventh Street. Handsome!

103 West Fourth Street

NEC Fifth and Elm

112 East Fifth Street

120 East Third Street

152 East Fourth Street
Preserved and better in 2015. It IS possible!

200 East Third Street

211 East Court Street

219 East Fourth Street

NEC Fifth and Main

221 East Fifth Street
Interestingly, it looks like “BAR” was removed to create what Google Maps lists as Paulding Alley.

230 East Third Street

254 East Ninth Street

278 East Fifth Street
The old Cincinnati Greyhound Station.

298 East Third Street

300 East Ninth Street

300 Main Street

302 Walnut Street

304 Main Street

310 Main Street

327 West Fourth Street

359 Sycamore Street

381 West Fifth Street

426 Elm Street
The 2017 and 2019 streetviews will be much different as well.

427 Race Street
Land has been cleared for the forthcoming hotel in the 1968 photo.

535 Central Avenue

610 Race Street
Downtown Cincinnati’s long-awaited Kroger. Oh, wait…

629 Main Street

722 Vine Street 2
These were all demolished and nothing has replaced them…on Vine Street of all places.

864 Vine Street

902 Main Street

914 Main Street

958 Sycamore Street

1000 Sycamore Street

1030 Sycamore Street 2

1030 Sycamore Street

Court and East Cheapside is Ninth and West Cheapside

East 9th and West Cheapside

Garfield Place


Derby Days: 11 Songs About Kentucky

The Commonwealth of Kentucky.  A curious study in American affection.  Our 15th state.  Why has such a diminutive domain buried in the middle of our vast continent captured such a unique place in the American psyche?  Maybe it’s Kentucky’s distinction as a Commonwealth, one that only four other states have.  (Can you name the other three without wikihelp?)  Maybe it’s the natural beauty.  Or maybe it’s just the name Kentucky whose sound hearkens a reverence for time-honored traditions and cherished heritage.  A taste of the old South without all the baggage.

Kentucky is about horse racing, bourbon, bluegrass and college basketball.  The state even has its own genre of music.  We’ll get to that music thing in a bit.

Naturally, states like California, New York, Texas, and Florida have a distinct advantage with cities that have global cachet, offer warm winters, and beach vacations.

One thing that can be easily argued?  Kentucky definitely plays above its “flyover status” when it comes to musical adulation. Here are our Top 11 songs about (or that at least mention) Kentucky.

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Goodbye to the Drawbridge Inn: Heyday Expansion

Part II: Time for Expansion

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the complex enjoyed popularity.  Its English-inspired Tudor architecture and decor appealed to the theme hungry masses of the day.  Its convenience and visibility to the interstate appealed to the now well-trained American traveler.  A steady stream of airport travelers helped fill guest rooms. A host of meeting rooms, restaurants, lounges, and a coffee shop, ensured that the complex had activity 24 hours a day.

rowntowner crossbow ad 1972
Above: A 1972 ad for The Crossbow. Credit: Cincinnati Magazine

The success meant that the complex had become Northern Kentucky’s de facto convention center finding a market in smaller events.  It was time to grow to meet demand.

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Goodbye to the Drawbridge Inn: The Early Days

Drawbridge Inn Demolition - May 2014

A fixture in Northern Kentucky for over 40 years, the Drawbridge Inn was home for a night (or more) for millions of travelers and guests.  When it opened in 1970, the hotel was a true regional attraction.  In the years between, the hotel sat as a beacon for northbound and southbound travelers on I-71/75.  A measure that you were either nearing Cincinnati or that you had truly ventured across the doorstep to the South.  Its conference spaces hosted weddings, reunions, business conferences, cheerleading meets, church rallies, and holiday feasts.  Its restaurants and nightclubs hosted countless dinners and celebrations.  It served as Northern Kentucky’s de facto convention center until the turn of the century when conventions shifted to the publicly supported downtown Covington facility.  Today, we present the first in a three part series taking one last look at what was and what is.

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Queen and Crescent: Cincinnati, New Orleans, and Texas Pacific Railway

We are not the experts on rail history.  We can’t even claim to know very much about Cincinnati rail history.  Several well done sites have virtually complete histories.  Sites like Cincinnati Transit Historical Association, Ronny Salerno’s Queen City Discovery, Jake Mecklenborg’s Cincinnati-Transit, West2k  and our favorite, Jeffrey Jacucyk’s Cincinnati Traction History are all wonderful resources maintained by able enthusiasts.  But when we happened upon a cache of fascinating photos from early last century, we wanted to make our little contribution to the storytelling.  Ladies and gentlemen, the Queen and Crescent Freight Depot.

Queen And Crescent Freight Depot - Cincinnati, OH
A 1914 view of the depot.  Here we are looking at the NWC of Vine and Front Streets.

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