Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nothing Comes Closer to Home

The newest tower on the forefront of the 70s building boom downtown was the Stouffer's Cincinnati Inn. Standing at 5th and Elm, it was the only hotel connected to the new Convention Center, both of which opened for business in 1968.

As popularity grew, Stouffer's had trouble meeting demand - from booming conventions to the Big Red Machine (source) - and hinted about expansion...

...until finally releasing plans to the public, which included a second tower:

In 1975, concept became reality - now 32-stories with 900 rooms and the major draw of the age: a revolving restaurant! 

Presenting the new Stouffer's Cincinnati Towers:

Though, the party had to end at some point, with the Stouffer's hotel brand diminishing in quality in the 1980s.

The property changed hands several times over the following years - Clarion, Regal, Starwood/Sheraton - finally resting with today's owner.

The once grand Stouffer's presence is now curtained by the placid waters of the Millenium:

Still, some say that if you stand quietly in the lobby and close your eyes, you can catch a hint of frozen lasagna wafting through the air...

• A couple images above taken from the incomparable Cincinnati Views. Check it out for a little more info on the Stouffer's buildings.

Timeline history of Stouffer's Restaurants & Hotels.

Some dialogue about the old Stouffer's hotel.

• Review Cincinnati's push for a Millenium makeover.

• Stouffer's recent jump on the chuckwagon here (the vehicle).

• Stouffer's brand in the 90s, complete with emotional sax.

• Fairly unrelated, this Stouffer's ad displays a kitchen eerily similar to the one I grew up with.  Faux brick and wood panel was the thing in the 70s.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Symbol(on) of Cincinnati

Earlier we reviewed a lost concept for Cincinnati's riverfront, which hinted at a towering structure on banks of the Ohio, not unlike that of a local project proposed around that same time: The Symbolon.

The Symbolon was to be a massive structure representative of the city - an idea sparked by the construction of Eero Saarinen's St. Louis Gateway Arch in the 1960s.  From the book Unbuilt Cincinnati:

In the fall of 1961 - the same year that construction finally started on Eero Saarinen's St. Louis Gateway Arch - the Cincinnatus Association announced a competition for a Cincinnati Gateway Monument, or 'Symbolon' - symbolic of "the history, the character of the present city, and its future."
A jury of nationally prominent architects could not find enough merit in any of the 62 entries submitted and therefore declined, in October 1962, to name a winner.
The attention that the competition drew to the Riverfront is credited, though, for helping to pass the urban renewal bond issue in November 1962 and, ironically, for shifting the public interest from a Riverfront historical park to a Riverfront baseball stadium and to a Convention Center within the CBD.

This grand structure never breached the RFP stage, but imagine it had...

Perhaps the most recent representation of the Symbolon concept almost arose again at the turn of this century, only a boat ride away:

• Coming soon: Revisiting the grand revolving restaurants of Cincinnati's past, more Cincinnati Gateway projects, and the unbuilt Millenium Tower of Newport, KY.