Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Brew with A View

Choosing a hidden gem in Cincinnati for my Livin’ In the Cin mission was a fun adventure! I asked my Facebook readers for suggestions for a restaurant that was historic but also had outside dining. I received 29 suggestions, with multiple votes for some of the Cincinnati favorites. However, I decided to go a different route and combine the past with the present with visits to the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company and the Moerlein Lager House.

My husband, son and I went to the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company at 1621 Moore Street and enjoyed a visit to the taproom. Our beer meister Dave served us up some cold beer. I chose an Exposition Vienna Lager, my husband had a Hudepohl Classic Porter and our son had a root beer (he is only 9). Dave then gave us a look at the brewing room and a bit of history about Christian Moerlein, the man and the brewery and its return to Cincinnati. 

Christian Moerlein was born in Truppach, Bavaria in 1818 and immigrated to the United States in 1841. He settled in Cincinnati and worked as a blacksmith for a time. He saw the need for a German style beer in the neighborhood he lived, Over-the-Rhine and established a brewery on Elm Street in 1853. Moerlein passed away in 1897 but his brewery became the 13th largest in the nation prior to Prohibition. However, the Eighteenth Amendment caused many breweries to shut down, including The Christian Moerlein Brewing Company. While the main brewery building no longer stands, other buildings remain. In 1981, Christian Moerlein Select Lager was reintroduced to Cincinnati at the leading edge of the craft beer movement. Then in 2004, Greg Hardman purchased the Christian Moerlein brand and it has been his mission ever since to bring it back to its home.

Hardman chose the former Kaufmann Brewery/Husman’s Potato Chip plant on Moore Street for its home because of the extensive underground lagering cellars which could be made available for tours. He honors the memory of the Kaufmann Brewery by displaying the blue prints and maps which are amazing to see. The tap room is located in the old malt house as seen on the map below. We learned so much about the old and new brewing processes from our tour.
1891 Sanborn Map - Source

To compare the old and the new and enjoy some outside dining, we went for lunch at the Moerlein Lager House, located at 115 Joe Nuxhall Way. We were treated to a visit with brew master Richard Dube who thoroughly explained the brewing process. Be sure to take a tour on a weekend visit but you must book your tickets on-line. We chose to eat out on the second level deck, with views of the Ohio River. It was a beautiful July day with low humidity and lunch was amazing. I had a Helles Bierwurst with a glass Vienna Lager, my husband had the Cuban Sandwich with a glass of Barbarossa Double Dark Lager and our son had the BBQ Burger with a root beer (do you see a trend here?).

Be sure to check out the past and present with visits to the tap room at the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company and the Moerlein Lager House and enjoy the return to Cincinnati’s brewing heritage!

Livin’ in the Cin is the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network’s (RTN) new initiative that taps into and creates a movement of passionate Cincinnati USA advocates. The goal is to generate awareness and excitement about the region and broaden residents’ perceptions of the area from a place they live to a place they should rave about to family and friends as a visitor destination.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Then and Now: Fourth Street - East from Race

Then and now pictures are some of my favorites and it seem favorites of my Facebook followers as well! So here is Fourth Street, looking east from Race Street.
Circa 1907
Click on link above to view larger image.
Google Streetview, May 2011
Enjoy the following maps to see the changes to this block of Fourth Street between Race and Vine from 1887 until 2013.
1887 Sanborn Maps - Source

1891 Sanborn Maps - Source

1904-1930 Sanborn Maps - Source

1950 Sanborn Maps - Source

2013 CAGIS - Source
The following photos are the buildings that once stood and some that still stand on Fourth Street.
Northeast corner of Fourth and Race
Northeast corner of Fourth and Race, after 1916
Third National Bank
18 W 4th
Notice the Gidding-Jenny Building without the Rookwood detail
Gidding-Jenny, now TJ Maxx
10-12 W 4th
The Rookwood Pottery detail was added in 1907
German National Bank
Northwest corner of Fourth and Vine

St. Nicholas Hote
Southeast corner of Fourth and Race
Demolished before 1914. The existing building at this corner was built in 1916.
McAplin Department Store
Before its expansion into the Aeolian Piano building to the right
Chamber of Commerce Building
Southwest corner of Fourth and Vine
Destroyed by fire in 1911
Union Central Building
aka, Central Trust Building and PNC Tower
Built in 1913
Replaced the Chamber of Commerce Building

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Odeon - Cincinnati College of Music

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has a wonderful Virtual Library full of resources. They posted on their Facebook page this picture of The Odeon and it led me to search more about this building and others on the former College of Music campus.
Advertisement from the 1899 Williams' City Directory
Many know that the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music is world-renowned for its programs in music, theater, dance and e-media. However, its history goes back to a time when the College and the Conservatory were two separate schools of music. The College of Music was founded on Octover 14. 1878 by a stock company and managers of the Music Hall Association. The college's first home was Dexter Hall, located within Music Hall (now the Corbett Tower). Within three years, the college built their own campus right next door and a covered bridge was installed to connect the new buildings to Music Hall.
1887 Sanborn Map of College of Music and Music Hall - Source
1887 Sanborn Map - Close-up of College of Music buildings
In October 1884, the Odeon was constructed and it was one of the first music schools to have its own concert hall. It was four-stories tall and contained an auditorium with 1,500 seats and an organ, classrooms and practice rooms. A renovation occurred just three years later in 1887. The description from the Cincinnati Enquirer, August 28, 1887 follows:
As one enters from Elm street the vestibule is on the right, but the Grant street or southern entrance is on the left and this had been beautified in harmony with the rest and is intended for the chief entrance. The gateway is garnished with brilliant pillars of mottled gold. As you pass through the gates the mail hall lies on the left, in front are the staircases in oak and ebony, while to the right above and below are found the elegant waiting and smoking rooms of the Odeon. These are among the most unique and exquisite features of the hall, being as perfectly and elegantly fitted up with curtains, hardwood floors, easy chairs, rugs, &c., as if they were in some private mansions. The drop-curtain has been retouched and much brightened, while the walls of the corridors are richly stained with Egyptian yellow, having a dado of chocolate and a border of gold and red. The boxes are transformed, and seem like glimpses of some Oriental palace; from their glistening brass railings depend rich curtains of olive and blue, producing on the whole an effect of magnificence and splendor. 
Original Floor Plan of The Odeon
Cincinnati Enquirer; May 11, 1884; pg. 11
1891 Sanborn Map of College of Music and Music Hall - Source
1891 Sanborn Map - Close-up of College of Music buildings
The Lyceum, a smaller hall with 400 seats, was constructed in 1889, facing Grant Street. In 1902, a dormitory funded by J.E. Schmidlapp in honor of his wife was constructed facing Elm Street. On September 5, 1902, tragedy struck the campus when the Odeon and the Lyceum caught fire and were destroyed. The cause was assumed to be electrical wiring running under the stage of the Odeon. The fire was so large that damage was also caused to Music Hall, breaking windows in the roof of the South Wing and causing some of the rafters to catch fire. Heroic efforts by firefighters saved the building from further damage.
The Odeon after the fire
Cincinnati Enquirer; Sep 5, 1902: pg. 7
Plans were made immediately to rebuild the Odeon. The new hall was completed by November, 1903, but this building had a smaller auditorium of only 700 seats but was made of fire-proof construction. The balcony, constructed of concrete, was the largest ever poured at that time. Here is a description of the "new" Odeon from Cincinnati, the Queen City; 1788-1912, Vol. 2:
Another acceptable reason for the unique place the college occupies among other American schools of music is the fact that it was, until recent years, the only one possessing its own concert hall and theater. This auditorium, listed among the representative theaters of Cincinnati, is called the Odeon, and is a modern building in every respect, being constructed of brick and concrete, and is absolutely fireproof. The Odeon has a seating capacity of 700, and is equipped with large, comfortable, ball-bearing chairs, and provided with ample exits. On the stage is another magnificent new two-manual Moeller pipe organ with electric pneumatic action, while the acoustics of the hall are unsurpassed. The stage is 60 feet in breadth, and so thoroughly equipped with different sets of scenery and appliances as to make possible professional performances by the departments of opera, and of elocution and acting.
1904-1930 Sanborn Map of College of Music and Music Hall - Source
1904-1930 Sanborn Map - Close-up of College of Music buildings
In 1921, another dormitory was built, funded by Mrs. Frederick Alms and in 1927, an administration building was added, facing the new Central Parkway. In 1955, the College of Music and the Conservatory of Music merged after attendance at the Conservatory had dropped. The College-Conservatory joined the University of Cincinnati as its fourteenth college in 1962.

The following photos from are a wonderful look at these buildings, which all except one, are no longer with us.
The Odeon
The Lyceum

Old College Building at Left
Administration Building at Right
Facing Central Parkway
Schmidlapp Dormitory