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

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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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