Unbuilt Cincinnati: Fountain Square and Government Square

Fountain Square 1956 Proposal - Source: Kentucky Times-Star

Fountain Square 1956 Proposal

Cincinnati‘s Fountain Square has had a fair share of reinvention over the years.  So too, have the surrounding blocks.  Along with it were many proposals that didn’t quite make the cut. PE recently discovered this plan which we had never seen before.  It proposes development for the “north side of Fifth”, which is now the current home of the aforementioned square and the Tyler-Davidson Fountain itself. 

Also shown is the “ultramodern” (ironically, now an archaic expression) vision for the south side of Fifth between Walnut and Main.  It wasn’t until we had read the caption twice that we realized the bottom rendering is the south side of Government Square and not the south side of Fountain Square. 

The upper photo shows a design that maintains the esplanade that existed as Fountain Square until the late 1960’s.  Instead of this plan the block was demolished and the Fifth Third Center (nee DuBois Tower) was constructed on the eastern and northern sections of the block.  What remained of the block was established as the new Fountain Square and became the current-day showplace for the fountain.

At first glance, the lower photo appears to promote preserving  historic structures as bookends.  Most notable is the handsome Tri-State Building that still stands to this day which appears to be depicted on the right.  However, the caption is explicit and unsurprising.  The plan was to raze the buildings.

Today, the northern half of this block is home to the narrow profile of the Tri-State Building’s northern façade, the Mercantile Center’s Fifth Street entrance and an impenetrable “pocket park” that presumably serves as a buffer for the Federal Reserve Bank Building which occupies the southeastern corner of the block.  It’s unclear from the rendering if the development would have extended south to Fourth Street.

Thankfully, some proposals never come to fruition.  If this particular vision would have been followed, the reconfigured Fountain Square as we know it would likely never have been.

Note: You can get plenty more Unbuilt Cincinnati nuggets at Matt Hunter Ross’ Cincinnati Revisited.

Source: Cincinnati/Kentucky Times-Star


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