Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Beneath the Facade: A Rare Look Inside the Deteriorating Cincinnati Union Terminal (Part 2)


Photos-Michael Manning



Can you imagine? For over 8 decades, this towering strength of Art Deco beauty has welcomed every traveler inside from the heat and cold. Wherever your destination was, you were left with an indelible impression of a city with a deep and proud cultural heritage. There were seven railroads that provided service to Union Terminal: the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O);The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad (C&O); the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway; the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (L&N); the Norfolk and Western Railway; the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Southern Railway selected a site for their new station in the West End of Cincinnati near the Mill Creek. Santa Fe ceased offering passenger service in 1960 (it's distinctive red and silver "Chiefs" were repainted in the cargo blue and yellow livery). Today, Burlington Northern is merged with Santa Fe (as Burling Northern Santa Fe Railway Company, or BNSF) and Southern Railway (who purchased the Union Terminal's rear freight yard and carried out demolition of the 407 foot-long Concourse to enable piggy-back freight operations), is now amalgamated into Norfolk Southern. Amtrak offers limited train service from Union Terminal.   
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(Michael Manning)
The beautiful massive neon lit clock.
As with my previous post, I'm grateful to CincyWhimsy for sharing these
photos. You can access them by Clicking HERE. Pictured above is a light
bulb that lights up the hour hand.
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(CincyWhimsy)
As you might expect over 83 years, the face of the clock has shattered,
yet stayed intact as it awaits new glass panes it so richly deserves.  
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(CincyWhimsy)
How many millions of travelers and visitors have gazed up at this clock?
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(CincyWhimsy)
Installed in 1931, the original gearing of the clock remains functional.
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"There were master craftsmen. We don't have master craftsmen anymore."
Actor Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980)
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(CincyWhimsy)
Tools, circa 1930 to repair and adjust the clock mechanism.
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(CincyWhimsy)
Engineers use this clock to adjust the hands of the massive clock for accuracy.
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(CincyWhimsy)
As the plaster has fallen away, deep cracks from water damage have broken this retaining wall.
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(CincyWhimsy)
Estimates are that what is left of this wall will last only 12 months, if that long.
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(CincyWhimsy)
A weather-beaten hallway.
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(CincyWhimsy)
Another crumbling wall near an old radiator.
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(CincyWhimsy)
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(CincyWhimsy)
A large section of this ceiling has collapsed, creating a serious safety hazard.
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(CincyWhimsy)
Above and below: This is the external Rotunda support wall with cracks that worsen with rain and snow.
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(CincyWhimsy)
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(CincyWhimsy)
Walls and archways where plaster and support materials underneath are subject now to collapse.
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(CincyWhimsy)
How long will this wall be able to support weight-bearing loads?
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(CincyWhimsy)
The Union Terminal deserves a far better fate. Since 1972, it has received a new lease on life and is a viable going concern. It has given much to society and now it is our turn to repair and maintain it for generations to come.
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(Michael Manning)
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For the uninitiated, here are the members of The Cultural Facilities Task Force listed below. They deserve support to remain involved, and to find a substitute leader, now that Robert A. McDonald has been appointed to his new position as head of The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
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The Cultural Facilities Task Force Members:
Robert A. McDonald -- Proctor & Gamble, Retired Chairman, President and CEO
J. Wickliffe Ach -- Hixson Architects, President & CEO
Hon. Theodore N. Berry Esq.-- Hamilton County Municipal Court, Judge
James E. Evans -- American Financial Group, Director
Scott D. Farmer -- Cintas Corporation, CEO
William Froehle -- Plumbers, Pipefitters & M.E.S. Local 392, Business Agent
Father Michael J. Graham, S.J. -- Xavier University President
Thomas L. Guidugli, Jr. - International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local No. 5
(IATSE), Business Agent
Robert Killins -- The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Program Director, Vibrant Places
S. Craig Lindner -- American Financial Group, Co-Chief Executive Officer/Co President and Director
Timothy J. Maloney -- The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Hale, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation President & CEO
W. Rodney McMullen -- Kroger, CEO
Kathryn E. Merchant -- The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, President & CEO
Keith A. Oliver -- Kroger, VP-Facility Engineering
Mario San Marco -- Eagle Realty Group LLC, President
Robert Sheeran -- Xavier University, VP for Facilities
John I. Silverman -- Midland Atlantic Development, Managing Principal
Murray Sinclaire, Jr. -- Ross, Sinclaire & Associates, LLC, President & CEO
Liza Smitherman -- Jostin Construction, VP Professional Development
Shiloh Turner -- The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Vice President for Community Investment
Kathy Wade -- Learning Through Art, CEO
Bernadette Watson -- Community/Government Affairs, Consultant  
      

6 comments:

P M Prescott said...

Let us hope that they don't let a great building die needlessly.

Stephen Hayes said...

What I wouldn't give to be able to prowl through this wonderful building with someone as knowledgeable as you. Take care.

Michael Manning said...

Stephen: Given the process used to create the murals, I believe you would serve better as MY guide! If you have a chance, Google the Union Terminal and the process Winold Reiss used to create the mosaic murals with colored plaster. This is something I could see you doing! :)

Margie said...

I do hope this remarkable structure is saved ...
Thanks so much for sharing Micheal, good job ....

Michael Manning said...

Thanks, Margie: I have faith in The People of Cincinnati and believe this story may still have a better ending ahead!

Michael Manning said...

P M: As you know, I dislike politics. But if the voters in Cincinnati are not given an opportunity to support the suggestions of the Task Force in November, the two buildings WILL eventually die!