Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Downtown you may not notice

Cincinnati Historic Architecture is everywhere. While people look at the 'shiny new buildings " there is a wealth of historic architecture downtown. "Almost every building has a historic marker that tells its story'
What is different about Cincinnati you ask? Well unlike a city like New Orleans , Savannah or Charleston, we do not have people downtown looking at them and as a result we lose out on what could be key source of revenue for the city, Heritage Tourism.
"In many other city's this would be a multi million dollar townhome"

There are no guided Historic walking tours, no carriages taking people about, no promotion at all. The buildings all have historic markers, most are well maintained, but no tourists. Whats up with that? And we wonder WHY there is a budget crisis?

"You do not see many vacant storefronts in Charleston or New Orleans, yet common here"

More photos from my little snapshot tour :


Dan said...

Paul: We do have walking tours to some degree. CPA and ARCHITREKS does walking tours downtown (2 of them) and in OTR (3), Mt. Adams, Clifton, Northside, and Walnut Hills (2) every weekend somewhere at one location on Saturday and Sunday from May thru October. It is all completely volunteer. I totally would love to see more but it is something, not nothing. Promotion of this city's architecture and history though is lacking and an untapped resource. I will be doing a holiday related architecture and history trolley tour on Dec. 5 through ARCHITREKS.

Paul Wilham said...

Thats good to know. If this city actively pronmoted Hertiage tourism they could create jobs. This city could support things like horse drawn tours. Private tour companies could co-op with home owners to conduct house tours. Dayton Steet could support a couple of Museum houses easily.

Our neighborhood is workinga ona self guided historic walking tour brochure. Other neighorhoods need to do the same. These could be in local hotels and places like findlay and fountain square.

Savannah GA created 15,000 jobs through heritage tourism industry.We have a budget shortfall. What does that tell you?

VisuaLingual said...

Wow, you and I must run in entirely different circles in this town, because practically everyone I know here cares deeply about Cincinnati's architecture and manifests that feeling in different ways, whether by rehabbing a building, or working in preservation in some form, or, like my studio, making work that calls attention to and celebrates Cincinnati's rich historical heritage.

Downtown offers horse-drawn carriage rides, and there are walking tours available. You're right that the area has not yet been gentrified to within an inch of its eclectic personality, and there are not very many tourists. Some of us who live down here day to day actually like it that way!

Paul Wilham said...


In 2010 Cincinnati will spend 1.1 Million dollars in CDBG funds to demolish property. The city has a blight=bulldozer mentality. While areas like Betts Longworth are "safe" areas like Price Hill, Fairmount and Avondale and Even OTR are being decimated by bulldozers.

You probably don't have 20 houses on the VBML or demo list around you, I do and every one of them 'could' be restored. These arent limestone townhouses from the 1850's but they are none-the-less historic homes from 1870-1890. There are 3000 properties on that list in this city right now.

If Cincinnati's historic architecture was deemed 'worthy' by the city we would not have the demo problem we have. Every 2-3 weeks 20 or more homes go on the list, our tax base shrinks and you probably wonder why taxes are going up.

You may know that downtown is historic but hardly anyone outside on Cincinnati knows it and more importantly they don't care. People think Zoo and King's island
Not historic architecture.

Because they don't know and as a result don't care, Cincinnati could be Detroit in another 10 years. Unless we put up a real fight, show the value of heritage tourism to the local economy,the jobs it brings, the conventions that we can draw, the city will continue to take that easy Federal money and bulldoze.

I lived in Charleston SC , San Francisco, and Louisville and they understand the value of historic property and historic tourism to the city. Unless we turn the tide in ALL our neighborhoods Cincinnati will become less desirable, business will move away and there won't be a downtown, it will be a ghost town. You probably won't like it them because you won't be able to make a living downtown because there will ne no reason to come to Cincinnati AT ALL!.

You are right we don't travel in the same circles. I don't have time to rest on my laurels, I am too busy spending 20-30 hrs a week trying to save my neighborhood from a bulldozer.

Todd McFarland said...

Easy guys, I think it fair to say most readers of this blog love this city and want it to thrive again.