Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lost & Found

When rummaging through an old box recently, I ran across these prints that I completely forgot I owned. Actually, they're just copies on old card stock, but good images nonetheless - a couple which I haven't seen anywhere else (online). Unfortunately there wasn't any other information on them - no date, location, description - so any corresponding info is through research or reader contributions. If I labeled something incorrectly, or missed something altogether, please let me know.

As always, click on any image to enlarge.
Enjoy.

Delta Queen, Ohio River (undated).

Island Queen at Coney Island, Ohio River (undated).
More info about the steamer here.

Island Queen with onlookers (undated).

Over-the-Rhine (undated).
Not sure where this is exactly, but it reminds me of looking south
on Race Street, with Washington Park on the right.

Mount Adams Incline (1938).
From the top of Mt. Adams, looking west over downtown, "...
this would have been 1938, as the viaduct (Columbia Pkwy) is under construction and nearing completion." (Source.)

Mt. Adams Incline (1908).
From downtown, looking east up at Rookwood Pottery.

Tyler Davidson Fountain (undated). 
Looking east on 5th Street, at the back of the fountain 
(toward Cincinnati's European immigrants' homeland).
More info about the fountain's placement here.

Tyler Davidson Fountain (undated).
Looking west on 5th Street, at the front of the fountain.

Freeman Avenue Streetcar line + Fairview Incline (1898).
Looking north, with the canal at the end of the street
(now Central Parkway) and the Incline in the distance.

Miami & Erie Canal (undated).
Now Central Parkway with abandoned subway tunnels below.
 
Crowds at Eden Park (undated).
Specifically, a band concert at the promenade
on Fulton Avenue (at the park entrance).
Info source [scroll to the bottom of that page
for more pics of the event].

Friday, December 12, 2008

Briol's Vine Street

Vine Street, Downtown Cincinnati (undated).
Photo by Paul Briol (1889-1969).

Source: The Photography of Paul Briol: A Centennial Tribute.

Another interesting photo from a landmark Cincinnati artist, probably from the early 1920s.


This is looking south on Vine, standing between 5th & 6th Street (then Opera Street), showcasing statured architecture from an early pre-Carew Tower era.

Just for reference, the still-standing Union Central Life building is in the background, then the original Carew Building is the one with the clock tower
(at the southwest corner of Fifth & Vine, before they razed the block for the massive Carew Tower complex). The next closest is Rollman's department store (on the northwest corner of Fifth & Vine, the lighter-colored building with the arches), and in the immediate foreground is the old Hotel Havlin.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Unbuilt Cincinnati teaser


 "Crystal Forest" planned for Fountain Square West.
Source: Enquirer article by Tony Lang [8/16/98].

 Canal Reconstruction along Pete Rose Way.
Source: Enquirer article by Tony Lang [8/16/98].

These drawings are just a few from the 1998 CAC show, Unbuilt Cincinnati.

I was in awe of this exhibit, and have since marked it as my favorite of all time - not only for my interest in concept drawings and notated processes, but for the fantastic insubordination of those artists/architects trying to break the mold of the city's modern conservatism. Of course, Cincinnati is no loser in attracting worldly architects and designers, and is probably a forerunner of stylistic architecture for cities of comparable size, but in terms of large scale planning, preservation and/or sale of a thematic model - (1) transportation: the Subway, streetcars, funiculars, (2) neighborhoods: The Banks, etc. - we're living in arid times.

For me, these drawings, and that one exhibit 10 years ago, has kept that twinkle in the eye of Cincinnati sparkling. Realized or not, these visions alone make the unprosperous times bearable.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

1978 Hangover

In remembrance of Cincinnati's once-great beer-making tradition...and the spectacular writing & acting of the 70s.


"Truck", Hudepohl Brewing Co [1978].
Source.




"Lady in Red", Hudepohl Brewing Co [1978].
Source.



• More info on Hudepohl's history here and here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Turkeys of Thansgiving Past

Well, Halloween is over, the Elections have passed, and now it's time to start thinking like retailers and focus on the impending holidays.
 

First off: Thanksgiving...Cincinnati-style:

video
"Turkeys Away", WKRP in Cincinnati (Air date: October 30 1978).
More info here.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Beginning of the...Terminal

 Perspective rendering of the CUT.
Fellheimer & Wagner (1930-31).
Source.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hello from Cincinnati!

...from the noodled concrete urban wasteland of the midwest to you!
  
Postcard (198x).
Source.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Kings Island: An Introduction

The first Kings Island Brochure, cover (1972).
Source.

I've been wanting to post on Kings Island for awhile now, especially after my son's amusement park watershed event this summer, but I'll wait for another day when I can do a full writeup. In a nutshell: Times have changed.

Regarding this brochure cover, it really creates an empathetic feel for the amusement park experience - at least the ones I used to know - which is lent by the illustrated mid-century aesthetic that I tend to drool over; a brightly-colored hand-drawn montage of simple enjoyment. 

The great thing about KI, in the early years at least, is that it was obviously trying to emulate Disney's park model: in general, a main promenade leading to a hub & spoke design, an iconic central structure, themed quadrants, associative popular culture references, a monorail, and corporate sponsorships to keep operating costs in tow.

A beautiful midwestern Disneyland.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The WCET of Lore

video
WCET-TV logo (198x).
Source: Here or here.

A great retro logo + iconic snapshots of the local culture in its heyday.

My heart aches a little every time I watch this. I loved this era, not only for the countless hours of PBS programming that I associated with my younger years, but for bazillions of other reasons.

My wife's heart also aches, but for something completely different. She thinks I need to spend more time in the present...

...and she's so right.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Midnight Mass

"The Midnight Mass" by E.T. Hurley (1911). 
A nice shot of the towering Church of the Immaculate Conception in Mt. Adams.
And what's not to like about Edward: Rookwood decorator, lover of Cincinnati
architecture and landscapes, and pupil of Duveneck - one heck of a life.

I've visited the CAM a thousand times, as far back as I can remember, and of all the works shown, I think this is my favorite. It currently sits in the Cincinnati Wing (2nd floor), positioned perfectly for its notoriety.

Showcasing an incredibly empathetic environment that harkens an era I repetitively like to recall: When the Queen still demanded some respect without being authoritative, all due to the natural progression of her statured denizens thriving in a meaty core.  And it has a nice, subdued palette with thick brush strokes.

The coolest thing about it:
You can almost hear the city's collective Black Lung wheezing.

• Read more about Hurley and this particular painting here, here, and here. And to give this painting its due credit, you have to see it in person... but be warned, it's addictive.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

CUT's Flyer is On Track

CUT 75th Anniversary Gala Express flyer (front).


CUT 75th Anniversary Gala Express flyer (back).
Aw, what the heck - I'll act as promoter and post both sides.

I'm not getting paid by CUT, but I'd happily work there if they paid me enough to do what I love to do. Nevertheless, this ties in with the series earlier this year on my visit to the station's 75th Anniversary Gala events.

Whoever made this: Thanks for eliciting my recurring adoration for the terminal (and its once held mode of travel). Keep up the good work.
 

• Side note: If the rails were still alive and the building upheld its intended purpose, I'd easily live there.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Splintered Reality

Well, it's been about two weeks now since Sunday, Windy Sunday...

In a nutshell: I was assisting my mom's transition to her new Loveland abode, when the truck started a-rockin'. Who wouldn't have thought it was just the plains of suburban Cincinnati contributing to ultra-breezy conditions?

Well, I had second thoughts on the drive to our recently established home in Hyde Park. Not only was the wheel tugging on my sore mitts, the car was sidling up on either lane at will. Leaves and other debris were flowing horizontally through the air like a tropical December, and cops were increasingly noticeable along the freeway comforting toppled carbon mammoths. A surreal experience.

Surprisingly, a flip through the dial gave no indication of anything other than automated Clear Channel playlists. No time for easy listening though.

A phone call reassured that Jack was OK (and in awe of the general movement outside), but Elizabeth noted wild branches repetitively smacking on the the panes to get in. Thankfully, no strangers in the house. No harm done.


Driving down Observatory is where it all began to sink in - street lights out, power lines sprawled across the roadways, and excessive amounts of wood holding the candlestick in the library.
Though, the true villain - in all it's intangible glory - was held in a case where felonious gusts were charged.


Hyde Park, Cincinnati, Ohio.
All photos from September 14-16, 2008.

Trees in the streets of Observatory, Paxton, and Linwood (respectively).


Additionally, during the mayhem (and immediately afterward), I scoped out the 'hood for other instances of disarray... and was appalled. The following are what I consider the worst of the worst from our neck of the woods:

Grandin, Hyde Park.
This was a monster - a lot larger than it looks here.


Linwood, Hyde Park.
The whole top of the tree resting against the house.
And again, photo diminishes the magnanimity.


Observatory, Hyde Park.
Another big one split in half.


Observatory, Hyde Park.
It's hard to comprehend the size of this one from the photos, but it was gigantic.
Fortunately it missed the house, but just barely - some ironwork was damaged at
the top. Nevertheless, it still upset the owners, who were sobbing
in the front yard - and rightly so.


Observatory Entrance to Ault Park, Hyde Park.
A couple of extremes in Ault Park, the second of which was really amazing -
the tree completely uprooted.



Erie, East Hyde Park.
Finally, this one was found by my mother-in-law, and was (in my opinion)
the ultimate damage in this area. The top of the tree obviously caught
the wind like a sail, with the eave of the roof acting as a fulcrum.
This tree was just gargantuan, causing substantial damage, and
I wouldn't be surprised at all if this building is eventually razed.


Over the next day or two, we survived on Busken's and Larosa's, were led by wax torches, slept in plein air (so to speak), and get this: we talked to each other! OK, a bit exaggerated, but only to emphasize the real awakening - the whole of our modernity, our culture, our standards, was extinguished, if not for only a moment, to allow us a glimpse into the past.

Yes, the BP on Madison was open and thriving, and other small sectors eluded closed circuits so we could "endure", but back home it was refreshing - people were out, we were communicating firsthand, and it was quiet. No light, no sound, no power; no noise (audible or visual). It was a welcome translation to a lost time.

Aside: My relative philosophical and complacent attitude to the event was aided by the working order of our gas water heater and stove, and a rest from the
feverishly compounding "IN box" on my electric-driven computer.

It's still not only hard to believe that Cat 1 hurricane-strength winds (50-75mph) came through here, but that wind itself could play such a destructive role commensurate with other more tangible forces of nature or man-made destruction.

This said, uprooting trees from their footings, wreaking havoc with the Duke Energy team, and eating by candlelight, is nothing compared with the devastation experienced on the front lines - Texas and NO - nor should it be. We're lucky, and I'm grateful.

I hope everyone else in Cincy fared as well.


It was reported that roughly 1,000,000 homes were without power in the Cincinnati region. My uncle, who lives in Louisville, was also without power, along with tens of thousands of his neighbors. It took roughly a week to get everyone back online, following Duke's reconnection hierarchy - regions, streets, then individuals.

If events like this, along with the issues of Peak Oil, pollution, rising temperatures, and growing technology, doesn't lead one to believe that every home will be electrically self-sufficient in the future, I don't know what will.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

An Ivory July

Upon visiting family in Fort Thomas earlier this month, I had to stop by a small strip mall in Newport to pick up some cards. Good thing I did, too, since it was a reminder of this little-known national holiday:


Noting the importance of the month, I'm surprised how few people were actually there - especially with the expanded offerings that the Newport Shopping Plaza has to offer:


Ah, Kentucky... Unbridled Spirit!

Note: I've been granted privileges to inflict tough love on the seemingly shallow business endeavors, dated lifestyles, and eroding structures of northern Kentucky, due to the fact that generations of my family grew from bluegrass. Someday I'll elaborate.

• As an aside, the post title refers to (of course) P&G's famous Ivory bar. Upon researching the the soap for an earlier edit of this article, I ran across an interesting piece of their history.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Greetings from Cincinnati!

I thought it'd be appropriate to highlight my return to the local blogosphere by sending an antiquated greeting from the house of one of my old summer jobs, Gibson Greetings. Not a traditional paper card, but a memory of one the many strong brands that sprouted from Cincinnati and eventually spread throughout the country - a bygone era of a once explosive creative industry that the city is now desperately trying to lure back.


The storied Gibson Greeting Card Co. was housed in a massive plant in Amberley Village (Section Road), and was a monster in relieving those of us lacking the right words for various occasions. I call the building a 'plant', because when I used to work there, it felt like you were walking through a factory or warehouse more than how you might envision a creative space.

Because I was an 'art major' (actually, architecture) it was assumed that I was a famous card maker by friends and family - a developer of funny quips and cartoons, entertaining the masses - though in reality, my position on the first floor mindlessly crunching numbers day-in and day-out was a topic that I constantly avoided. It was just a summer job to pay for
my car loan... and my social habits back at school. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see the place from the inside, get the scoop from longtime employees during the company's last days, and pick up a boatload of discounted merchandise.

Anyway, Gibson Greetings really had an interesting history, one that in large part was due to a simple lithography press and the extensive Ohio canals. I won't regurgitate it here, except for this notable beginning:


"Gibson Greeting's history can be traced to 1850, when George Gibson and his family emigrated to the United States from Scotland, where Gibson had operated a lithographic and copperplate engraving business. The family journeyed to the "land of opportunity" with a small French-made lithography press. While Gibson, his wife, and daughters eventually settled in St. Louis, one of Gibson's five sons found work with a canal system that led him to Cincinnati. His three brothers followed and decided they would go into business using the small press. In 1850, the Gibson brothers, Stephen, 34, Robert, 18, George, 14, and Samuel, 12, founded Gibson & Company, Lithographers." Source.

Well, what really sparked the idea for this post was finding Gibson's spread-of-influence in the greeting card realm over 100 years from its inception... at Disneyland. Specifically, I'm a big fan of Kevin Kidney (& Disney), so when one of his posts crossed hairs with Cincinnati history, I knew I had to share.

Disneyland Gibson Greeting Cards illustration (1955).
"Part of an original pencil layout created in 1955 for a full-color newspaper section
presenting some of the 'many delights and wonders that are yours to enjoy at Disneyland.'"

Source. 

It's pretty obvious that Gibson had a strong presence throughout the country at that time, noted as an early investor in the original Disneyland theme park in California, and reiterated in the newspaper article about Disneyland's opening (provided by Kevin):

"...the quaint old charm of the shop itself forms a sharp contrast to the newly-planned modern $3,500,000 home of The Gibson Art Company, 2000 miles away in Cincinnati, Ohio...where hundreds of millions of cards are created each year."

Note: The Gibson Art Company name evolved from the original Gibson & Company, Lithographers, and was a precursor of the Gibson Greeting Card Co., which later became Gibson Greetings, Inc., with an expanded offering of goods.

The following photos reflect the 'quaint old charm' facade of Gibson's Disneyland shop, as the news article suggests...


Gibson's Greeting Card shop & Main Street, Disneyland, CA (1958). 


Gibson's Greeting Card shop, Disneyland, CA (1960).
Interesting description of these photos at the source site.
Source: Stuff from the Park.


Gibson's Greeting Card shop interior, Disneyland, CA (undated).
Promotional photos of rare postcards.
Source: Gorillas Don't Blog.
 

Although I didn't really feel that long-established sense of history when working there in my 20s, it's kind of sad to see a vetrabrae of Cincinnati's once creative backbone seemingly dissolve into thin air (especially for a competing Ohio city). The structure itself has new life, as do many other historic buildings in our town, but without the tradition that our forefathers brought to create this great place.

In spite of this, I'm not saying that I miss trudging into that big box paper mill everyday. And looking back, it's almost amusing to think of Gibson's assets and potential suitors. Nevertheless, my repetitive amplified nostalgia for Cincinnati lore often ignores the fact that, in the end, these sometimes unhappy endings are just a result of the effects of commercialization on society, advances in technology, ever-changing tastes of consumerism, and the transient nature of business as a whole.

Anyway, cheers, Gibson Bros. It was beautiful for awhile.
 

Read more about the Ohio canal system here, and Gibson's later involvement with Disney in this 1984 timeline. More on the late 'Silly Slammers' craze here and here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Auf Wiedersehen

After very little deliberation, I've decided to halt this site indefinitely.

I've enjoyed posting here about my thoughts and reflections of Cincinnati, as well as being part of the local blogging community, but my time has become increasingly limited for activities such as this.

Several posts ago I listed a multitude of topics that I planned to explore, and had grand ideas of fulfilling them all within a short time frame (to the extent that they deserve), but the progression on these topics slowed with their respective problems. Currently, I have about 6 different articles started, but with them all, I've encountered rough spots that require travel, external research, scanning, editing... lots of time.

Overall, the necessities to complete well thought out, informative, and engaging articles, are unnecessary (and possibly detrimental) to the growth of my familial and professional life. I obviously have never had the intention of living-and-dying with this blog, and right now, every minute counts.

I'll leave this site up for awhile with the hope that I might be able to return to it, but for now, consider it vacant. That being said, if anyone should care to comment on past articles, or send me a personal email, I'll surely respond.
Additionally, I'll still be occasionally perusing through (and possibly commenting on) your sites as well.

I appreciate those who have added me to their blogroll, and those who have commented on posts, but don't consider this a total loss unless you come back one day and see that the site no longer exists.

To everyone who contributes to the positivity and progress of Cincinnati:
Keep up the good work!


video

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Neighbor: Visualingual

I usually don't do this, mainly because there are so many great Cincinnati blogs out there already (that I read daily) and focusing attention on just one seems unfair... but... this one has just the right mix of inspirational assets for me to keep reading, keep flipping through the archives, keep wanting more...
it's Maya Drozdz's Visualingual.


Perspectives of Cincinnati public art, from the blog Visualingual.
Ghettopia, Floral Carpet, and the Stanczak Installation.



I'm not sure why I haven't run across it before, since I've had Michael Stout's justforview on my blogroll for some time now - little did I know that he was in cahoots with Maya, forming an interesting all-media design studio, VisuaLingual. As with Mike's, it seems that Maya's blog is a satellite (personal extension) of the interesting material that's being produced at their work site (indicated by the case-changes of the L).




While I have a lot of interests, my ears always perk up when hearing about anything related to construction, architecture, transportation, history, or infographics, and when these issues cross hairs with aspects of Cincinnati, the respective site is almost always guaranteed of increasing its readership. So, as noted in her 'About' section, it's no surprise that I found Maya's site attractive:
My interests include urban life, visual culture, typography, cartography, architecture, interior design, and home decor, and this blog focuses primarily on points of intersection among those areas.


Interesting world art, from the blog Visualingual.Milk Bottles, With Fences, City Plates, and the Cincinnati Gardens.


As much as I love the blogs dedicated to the area's social perspectives, construction efforts, political sparklines, daily events, and personal meanderings, sometimes just trolling down creative avenues is a nice change of pace - especially with the interesting, abstract viewpoints that Maya affords.


Views of OTR Cincinnati, from the blog Visualingual.
Ghost sign, 20-cent payphone, Smitty's, and Twilight.


I'm missing a lot of interesting visuals in this post (such as her textile finds, other artwork, and repetitive postcard-like photos, etc.), so check out Maya's site on your own for more info. Expand your periphery, and support local business - frequent Visualingual and VisuaLingual.


• I think Mike's blog, justforview, requires secondary props here, due to the fact that he's also what makes the studio VisuaLingual tick. He's also switched to a different template, making it much easier on the eyes to read. Check it out.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Topping Out [Part III]

As a wrap-up of our festivities at the CMC/CUT, this final post of the three-part article presents a couple of broad observations from the overarching vantage that we were given...

Union Terminal main lobby (3/31/8).


OBSERVATION I: Directional Elements


The building itself seems to be a guide for it's inhabitants.
There are signs everywhere. I'm not talking about written, overt signage here, but the underlying directional elements embedded within the design of the structure; shapes and patterns relaying not only the
Art Deco aesthetic element of 'echoing' (repetitive Southwestern motifs) but a secondary, utilitarian influence - an abstractly geometric and artistic representation of the mechanized, Industrial Era.



'Echoed' geometric patterns and directional elements.


It's obvious that the designers sought to use materials and develop spaces that would last indefinitely (unlike the current trend of build-and-renovate, or build-and-rebuild) - apparent not only through the quality of construction or use of expensive materials, but the implicit design within all dimensional spaces - through the use of designed traffic patterns, or inlaid mapping.

An ordered balance was given special attention to the construction and design of the Terminal - geometric patterns, echoed shapes, and broad, flat hues. A closer look at any detail, any inlay, any mosaic, will reveal a narrative of transportation, and not just with the overt vehicles of transportation (car, boat, train, and plane). Within this narrative, within the walls, floors, and ceilings, lay guides for behavioral direction.

For example, take the overall shape of the building - a round main body with arms open, extending out from either side, welcoming and inviting visitors. Roads aiming toward the right arm led vehicles through portals, to the interior of the building, and out the left arm - a kind of half-moon flow that needs little signage for comprehension (aside from specific train info for travelers).



The Cincinnati Union Terminal facade.A welcoming presence - similar to a 'husband' pillow?


Additionally, on the interior of the pedestrian concourses, the broad silhouette of the curved structure is conducive to guiding people in the right direction, again, without much written signage needed - enter in the main doors, hit any of the walls of the main lobby (to purchase a ticket), then maintaining that directional force, follow the walls to the central corridor to the trains. Easy.

Okay, so that's a little obvious. Well, if you peer further, the floors in most rooms of the building have patterns that, if followed, will lead to specific
utilitarian areas. For example, in the current Amtrak waiting room [see photo in Part II], broad inlaid stripes wind around and lead to the individual phone stalls, the bathrooms, and the entrance/exit (also, one leads directly into a wall, which used to be the bathroom/showering area - how would I have known to inquire about this without the mapping within the floors?).

None this may not be a surprise to you, or even that interesting, especially those with an architectural or design background - as Louis notably stated "form ever follows function".

And speaking of Sullivan, even though he wasn't the architect, his influences spread heavily throughout era. This building was much more
organic than Sullivan's early-20th cubes, with the interior completely representative of his student's aesthetic, but the "signature element of Sullivan's work is the massive, semi-circular arch" which is obvious at the CUT.



National Farmer's Bank, Owatanna, MN (1908) by Louis Sullivan.A sister Cincinnati Union Terminal facade.
Source: Wikipedia.

Anyway, in today's age of massive signage, electronic overlays, and overly-overt descriptions and rules (the dumbing down of the masses), a smartly designed structure, from its inception to conclusion, is 180˚ from our 'contemporary' culture (i.e. Eisenman's Deconstructivist design for UC's Aronoff inherently confuses its inhabitants).

As much as I like and admire philosophical advancements which break from conventions in the world of architecture, urban planning, and design (especially Deconstruction, which I've studied broadly), the Cincinnati Union Terminal can still teach us a lesson or two about balancing the principles of
functionality, sustainability, and presence, in this current era of unending, yet often misguided and unplanned growth.

OBSERVATION II: Futurism

The structure holds one of my favorite traits: optimistic futurism.
Not only in the project's scope, or its architectural grandeur, or even the unusual interior qualities afforded by it's makers (such as leather interior
settees placed in groups - rather than the normal rows of wooden benches seen in other stations), but as a larger concept driving the ambition of people to create practicality, sustainability, and perfection.



Original Train Concourse and Passenger Waiting Area, interior CUT.This postcard shows the bubble seating and subtle wayfinding elements on the floor.
Source: CincinnatiViews


Upon taking pictures of the murals in the rotunda, I noticed the futuristic city scenes depicted in the tiles, which sparked my interest not only in the artwork, but in the original concept and purpose of the structure as a whole. This was a lavish building constructed as a 'front door' to the city for visitors (coming by rail, obviously) - a magnificent, opulent, modern ideal of transportation infrastructure, and a representation of Cincinnati's optimistic, hospitable, and modern attitude.
For example, within the left-hand mural at the end of the narrative, a futuristic cityscape is represented in typical early-20th century, Art Deco fashion - a series of broad, linear shaped depicting a bustling, condensed, extremely tall metropolis with multiple modes of transportation. In other words, an optimistic, idyllic setting generated by the growth of humankind.


Detail of left (south) mural, Union Terminal main lobby, by Winold Reiss.Made in 1932, this side of the rotunda depicts 'the development of the nation', while the other side (not shown) depicts 'the growth of Cincinnati', with a cityscape at the end of the narrative similar to the one shown above.
Source: City of Cincinnati.


With the section above in particular, what interested me was Reiss' depiction of the modern city in relation to other Futurist art of the time - especially the repeated elements of aqueduct-style rail supports stories aboveground. These motifs are seen repetitively throughout pop culture of the time, but why? Are these paths built so high because they thought it would take people forever to travel up and down the individual mega-structures (to catch trains on the ground floor)? Are they a modern bow the Roman aqueducts that were so modern for that time? Or maybe futuristic 'skywalks' that so eloquently discourage pedestrian street-level traffic and kill the spirit of city life, such as in Cincinnati?



The Aqueducts of Claudius, Rome, and the Skywalks of Cincinnati, Ohio.Maybe referencing the past, but definitely not intending for this kind of future.
Source: Steven Brook and this book.


Well, most likely they are just metaphors the general progress of humankind, commonly felt in the Industrial Age of mechanization (with 'height' being a symbol of this modernization). But whatever the real intent, it's obvious that the future city is almost always foreseen as an ultra-congested, multi-dimensional, and ultra-modal space, which speaks to the main reason for construction of the Terminal - consolidation and convenience. The few examples below parallel Reiss' view of the future city, with transportation being a central element throughout...



Scenes from the film Metropolis (1927) by Fritz Lang.Preliminary artwork followed by two screenshots from the film.



Futuristic urban landscapes depicting transportation on multiple levels.Reminiscent of Fort Washington Way.


More cities of the future with multiple modes of congestion.Another parallel to Reiss' concept in the middle.
Source: Forrest Ackerman.


Concept art for the video game, Superman Returns.A Union Terminal replica (similar to that discussed in the previous post, Super Station).


And what does this have to do with the CUT specifically? Well, I think the ideas in the murals (and other concept art of the time) represent what the builders planned for the future of Cincinnati: a city dedicated to displaying itself positively and prominently to the world, a master of innovation and progress, and a symbol for the future metropolis that would arise from its core, holding vast structures and various, simultaneous transit options for its citizens.

Only recently have we seen the spade hit the soil for some of these qualities to be unearthed. Hopefully, once again, Cincinnati can become the metaphorical 'Queen City of the West' - a city to be emulated for its current assets, as well as its promise of tomorrow.


• Read more about the Union Terminal mosaics at the CMC website here, and research the general history of the building here. Further reference of 1930s-modern style architecture can be found here.