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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: