Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cincinnati: Forgotten Blocks

Usually, early on a mist filled morning, we drive these two houses on our way to ours.
The two houses sit like royalty, high on the hill. Like a King and Queen overlooking their dominion. Once elegant residences , no doubt the site of people of means. A once elegant Italianate next to a once elegant Second Empire.
These homes have a story to tell and I bet its an interesting one. Most people just pass by, hardly giving them a glance, after all, they are just old houses. We forget that people lived here once, they raised their families, there were births and deaths and celebrations. They may have even been important people, people whom if we just knew were probably significant in the history of this city.

Today, they are surrounded by vacant lots where other elegant houses once stood. You still see signs of neighborhood close by. A church on one end of the block, a corner store on the other end. The houses across the street fared better and that side is still almost intact. A row of elegant victorian dowagers, most "just' a little down on their luck.

There are signs. One or two start to show the signs of a rebirth. Paint once chipped and cracked is smooth and fresh now. And a yard here in there devoid of cars on blocks and yes an occaisinal flower or two.

It's a block and its on the brink. It could go either way. Back to a once elegant neighborhood , minutes from the Bustling city, or, if the city has its way, it will just be more empty space. Space that people will just drive by. What it was, will be no longer, and with each house we eliminate, we eliminate our history, our architectural legacy and if not stopped soon we eliminate our neighborhoods and soon the city itself.

It's not too late to save Cincinnati, we just have to stop the bulldozers, the greed, and yes, the corruption that drives our city and makes this possible. If we do not, soon, there will be no city left to save.

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