The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, originally Cincinnati Union Terminal, is a mixed-use complex in the Queensgate neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. Once a major passenger train station, it went into sharp decline during the postwar decline of railroad travel. Most of the building was converted to other uses, and now houses museums, theaters, a library, and a symphonic pipe organ, as well as special travelling exhibitions. Since 1991, it has been used as a train station once again.
Cincinnati Museum Center
at Union Terminal
Exterior view of the Cincinnati Museum Center
|Location||1301 Western Avenue|
|Owned by||City of Cincinnati|
|Platforms||1 side platform|
|Passengers (2017)||11,382 8.8%|
Cincinnati Union Terminal
|Location||1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio|
|Area||287 acres (116 ha)|
|Architect||Fellheimer & Wagner|
|Architectural style||Art Deco|
|NRHP reference #||72001018|
|Added to NRHP||October 31, 1972|
|Designated NHL||May 5, 1977|
Cincinnati was a major center of railroad traffic in the late 19th and early 20th century, especially as an interchange point between railroads serving the Northeastern and Midwestern states with railroads serving the South. However, intercity passenger traffic was split among no fewer than five stations in Downtown Cincinnati, requiring the many travelers who changed between railroads to navigate local transit themselves. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad, which operated through sleepers with other railroads, was forced to split its operations between two stations.
Proposals to construct a union station began as early as the 1890s, and a committee of railroad executives formed in 1912 to begin formal studies on the subject. A final agreement for a union station among the seven railroads that served Cincinnati and the city itself was not achieved until 1928, after intense lobbying and negotiations, led by Philip Carey Company president George Crabbs. The seven railroads: the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad; Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway; Louisville and Nashville Railroad; Norfolk and Western Railway; Pennsylvania Railroad; and the Southern Railway, selected a site for their new station in the West End, near the Mill Creek.
The principal architects of the massive building were Alfred T. Fellheimer and Steward Wagner, with architects Paul Philippe Cret and Roland Wank brought in as design consultants; Cret is often credited as the building's architect, as he was responsible for the building's signature Art Deco style. The Rotunda features the largest semi-dome in the western hemisphere, measuring 180 feet (55 m) wide and 106 feet (32 m) high.
Maxfield Keck was commissioned to make bas-relief carvings for the front of the building. Visible on the exterior, they represent Transportation (South Tower) and Commerce (North tower).
German-American artist Winold Reiss was commissioned to design and create two 22-foot (6.7 m) high by 110 foot (33.5 m)-long color mosaic murals depicting the history of Cincinnati for the rotunda, two murals for the baggage lobby, two murals for the departing and arriving train boards, 16 smaller murals for the train concourse representing local industries, and the large world map mural located at the rear of the concourse. Reiss spent roughly two years in the design and creation of the murals. The 16 industry murals chosen for the railroad concourse include:
Fourteen of the murals located in the train concourse were removed in 1972 when the concourse building was demolished, and were placed on display at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport at a cost of $1 million.
The two Rookwood Pottery murals were kept at Union Terminal. They were relocated to the Machine Tool Gallery in the Cincinnati History Museum. The murals for the arriving and departing trains were moved by the entrance to the Cincinnati Historical Library.
Changes at the airport projected demolition of Terminals 1 and 2; nine Reiss murals were relocated from there to the Duke Energy Convention Center downtown, where they were mounted outside. Five Reiss murals have been kept in the main terminal at the airport.
Pierre Bourdelle, son of renowned French sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, also created commissioned artwork for the terminal. He painted a jungle-themed mural for the women's lounge, and works for the men's lounge, baggage checking area, meeting spaces, and the executive offices. All of his artwork, which was all recently restored, is available for public view by free tours.
The Union Terminal Company was created to build the terminal, railroad lines in and out, and other related transportation improvements. Construction in 1928 began with the regrading of the east flood plain of the Mill Creek to a point nearly level with the surrounding city, a massive effort that required 5.5 million cubic yards of landfill. Other improvements included the construction of grade separated viaducts over the Mill Creek and the railroad approaches to Union Terminal. The new viaducts the Union Terminal Company created to cross the Mill Creek valley ranged from the well built, like the Western Hills Viaduct, to the more hastily constructed and shabby, like the Waldvogel Viaduct.
Construction on the terminal building itself began in 1931, with Cincinnati mayor Russell Wilson laying the mortar for the cornerstone. Construction was finished ahead of schedule. The terminal was put into emergency operation on March 19, 1933, because of flooding of the Ohio River and the need for emergency supplies and workers. The official opening of the station was on March 31, 1933. The total cost of the project was $41.5 million.
During its heyday as a passenger rail facility, Cincinnati Union Terminal had a capacity of 216 trains per day, 108 in and 108 out. Three concentric lanes of traffic were included in the design of the building, underneath the main rotunda of the building: one for taxis, one for buses, and one (although never used) for streetcars. However, the time period in which the terminal was built was one of decline for train travel. By 1939, local newspapers were already describing the station as a white elephant. While it had a brief revival in the 1940s, because of World War II, it declined in use through the 1950s into the 1960s, as passengers had taken to affordable individual automobiles.
Extensive restructuring took place in the railroad industry in mid-century. After the creation of Amtrak in 1971, to preserve some passenger services, train service at Cincinnati Union Terminal was reduced to two trains a day, the George Washington and the James Whitcomb Riley. The next year Amtrak abandoned Cincinnati Union Terminal and opened a smaller station elsewhere in the city on October 29, 1972.
|Name||Operators||Year begun||Year discontinued|
|Carolina Special||Southern Railway||1911||1968|
|Cavalier||N & W||1928||1966|
|Cincinnati Limited||PRR, PC||1920||1971|
|Cincinnatian||B & O||1947||1971|
|Fast Flying Virginian||C & O||1889||1968|
|Flamingo||L & N||1925||1968|
|George Washington||C & O, Amtrak||1932||1974|
|Great Lakes Limited||B & O||1929||1950|
|Humming Bird||L & N||1947||1968|
|James Whitcomb Riley||NYC, PC, Amtrak||1941||1977|
|Metropolitan Special||B & O||1919||1971|
|National Limited||B & O||1916||1971|
|Ohio State Limited||NYC, PC||1924||1967|
|Pan-American||L & N||1921||1971|
|Pocahontas||N & W||1926||1971|
|Ponce de Leon||SOU||1924||1968|
|Powhatan Arrow||N & W||1946||1969|
|South Wind||L & N||1940||1971|
|Southland||L & N, PRR||1915||1957|
|Sportsman||C & O||1930||1971|
|Union||N & W, PRR||1933||1960|
The Cincinnati Science Center operated in Union Terminal from 1968 to 1970 on the south side of the main concourse. The Science Center closed after two years due to financial difficulties.
After Amtrak abandoned the station, Southern Railway purchased some of the land to use for its own expanded freight operations in its Gest Street yard. The Southern planned on removing the 450-foot (140 m) long passenger train concourse to allow additional height for its piggyback operations.
On May 15, 1973 the Cincinnati City Council's Urban Development and Planning Committee voted 3–1 in favor of designating Union Terminal for preservation as a historic landmark, preventing Southern Railway from destroying the entire building. In 1974, the Southern Railway tore down most of the train concourse. Before this, the city removed the fourteen Reiss mosaic murals depicting important Cincinnati industries; Besl Transfer Company transported and installed them at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The world map mural was not removed, and was destroyed.
Several plans were floated for reuse of the building in the 1970s, including a plan to locate a Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority transit hub and the School for Creative and Performing Arts in the building, but these did not materialize.
In 1978, Columbus, Ohio real estate development group the Joseph Skilken Organization converted the terminal into a shopping mall known as the "Land of OZ". This was proposed to be a family entertainment and shopping complex, to include a shopping area, roller skating rink, bowling alleys, and restaurants. Skilken invested upwards of $20 million in renovations preparing the terminal in an effort to revitalize the complex and help downtown Cincinnati.
On August 4, 1980, after 23 months of conversion construction, the mall had its Grand Opening, with 40 tenants. The complex drew on average 7,900 visitors per day and it had a high of 54 shops or vendors. The recession of the early 1980s caused the project to fall on hard times. In 1981 the first tenant moved out and by 1982 the number of tenants had fallen to 21. Also in August 1982, the Cincinnati Museum of Health, Science and Industry opened in the terminal. The OZ project officially closed in 1984. However, Loehmann's, a clothing store located in the rotunda, remained open until 1985. For several years, a weekend flea market was held on the passenger drop off ramps that ran under the rotunda.
The terminal lay empty for the next decade or so. In May 1986 the voters of Hamilton County passed a bond levy to save the terminal from destruction and to transform it into the Cincinnati Museum Center. Former Cincinnati mayor Jerry Springer was one of the major proponents of saving the building and transforming it into a museum. It was opened in 1990 and now provides a home to six organizations:
The renovations also allowed Amtrak to restore service to Union Terminal via the thrice-weekly Cardinal on July 29, 1991. Of the seven Ohio stations served by Amtrak, Cincinnati was the third busiest in FY2010, boarding or disembarking an average of approximately 40 passengers daily. The Cardinal almost always passes through Cincinnati in overnight hours.
The Cincinnati Railroad Club occupies "Tower A" above the station, offers public access to the space, and serves as a museum for the former rail yard and station's innovative interlocking system of remote-controlled track switches.
The renovations included the installation of a 1920s-vintage symphonic pipe organ in the Rotunda. The E.M. Skinner instrument combines four manuals and nearly five thousand pipes in a highly reverberant acoustic, prompting concert performers to describe the Museum Center organ as one of the finest in the world.
In June 2014 the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Union Terminal as one of the 11 most endangered historic places in the country due to deterioration.
From late 2016 until 2018, most of the museum was shut down in order to complete a much needed $228 million structural renovation throughout the entire building, in addition to restoring a number of rooms original to the building. Due to the flat roofs on large portions of the building, water damage has caused rotting to the roofs and walls. Original plans called for leaving the Duke Energy Children's Museum and the Cincinnati History Museum open, but it was decided to shutter the entire building after the water damage proved to be more extensive than previously thought. The renovation was necessary in order to save the building from collapsing. During the closure, items located in the museum were stored in The Geier Center, which is the museum's storage facility, and in various traveling exhibits across the country. Amtrak services moved to a temporary annex on Kenner Street, just north of Union Terminal.
In late April, 2018, Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson announced the de-staffing of 15 Amtrak stations across the system, effective July 1st, 2018. Cincinnati was included in the service cuts. The two ticketing agents were replaced by a part-time "caretaker" contractor who will assist passengers overnight. With the removal of staff, passengers boarding or detraining in Cincinnati are no longer be able to purchase tickets in person or check baggage. In addition, unaccompanied minors will no longer be able to board or disembark in Cincinnati. Proponents of the cuts cite low passenger count (fewer than 40 passengers per day in 2017) and the fact that only 1 in 10 passengers buy their tickets at the window. The low passenger count was blamed on the relocated boarding area. Local proponents of rail travel expressed hope that Amtrak would restore staffing to Cincinnati once construction on Union Terminal is complete.
The museum had its grand reopening on November 17, 2018. According to spokesman Cody Hefner, it restored the building to its original look.
In the 1970s animated series Super Friends, the imposing headquarters of the Justice League, the Hall of Justice, was modeled after Union Terminal. The show's producer, Hanna-Barbera, was at the time owned by Cincinnati-based Taft Broadcasting.
In 2016, a four-night crossover event, "Invasion!", which linked The CW network's four DC Comics-related live-action TV series - Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and DC's Legends of Tomorrow - featured digitally-modified footage of Union Terminal as a hangar owned by Barry Allen/The Flash, meant to evoke the Hall of Justice from Super Friends.
The Cincinnati Car Company or Cincinnati Car Corporation was a subsidiary of the Ohio Traction Company. It designed and constructed interurban cars, streetcars (trams) and (in smaller scale) buses. It was founded in 1902 in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1928, it bought the Versare Car Company.
The company was among the first to make lightweight cars. Its chief engineer Thomas Elliot designed the curved-side car, a lightweight model that used curved steel plates (not conventional flat steel plates) in body construction. Instead of the floor, the side plates and side sills bore the bulk of the weight load. Longitudinal floor supports were no longer needed, which made the cars lighter than conventional cars. The first cars of this type were sold in 1922. For instance, the Red Devil weighted only 22 short tons (19.6 long tons; 20.0 t). Curved-side cars were also called "Balanced Lightweight Cars".In 1929, the company designed new lightweight partially aluminum low profile high-speed coaches for the electrified Cincinnati and Lake Erie Railroad interurban that operated between Cincinnati, Dayton, and Toledo. Twenty were purchased, painted bright red, and called Red Devils by the C&LE. These interurban cars, whose open country speed could reach 90 mph (140 km/h), were a forerunner of today's high-speed trains. Both the carbodies and new design small wheel low ridingtrucks were well adapted for high-speed running on light rail rough track. In 1939, the C&LE abandoned operation, and the Red Devils were sold to the CRANDIC interurban in Iowa and to the Lehigh Valley Transit in Pennsylvania. They continued to operate successfully and well into the 1950s.Cincinnati Car Company ceased operations in 1938, but several of its original streetcars are preserved, for instance at the Saskatchewan Railway Museum, Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal and the Seashore Trolley Museum.Cincinnati History Museum
The Cincinnati History Museum is an urban history museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. It opened in 1990 at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal.
The museum features the recreated Cincinnati Public Landing from the mid 1860s and an exhibit covering Cincinnati's role in World War II. Cincinnati In Motion is a scale model representation of Downtown Cincinnati in the 1940s featuring working streetcars.Cinergy
Cinergy Corp. ( SIN-ər-jee) was an energy company based in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, from 1994 to 2006. Its name is a play on the words "synergy" and "Cincinnati".Duke Energy Children's Museum
The Duke Energy Children's Museum, formerly the Cinergy Children's Museum, is a museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the United States. It is one of the museums comprising the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. Opened in 1998, the museum was moved from historic Longworth Hall near downtown Cincinnati location following the Ohio River Valley Flood of March 1997 that inundated it.This children's museum features several interactive exhibits with educational value. Most are sponsored by companies that receive name and logo placement in the exhibits themselves, including Banfield Pet Hospital and Kroger. The museum is named for its main sponsor, Duke Energy.
Exhibits include a child-sized town with shops and a veterinary clinic, and a farm-inspired playground for preschool-aged children and younger. Older children can engage in active play with equipment such as rope bridges, a climbing wall, an interactive machine with pedal-operated parts, and a tree house. Rooms include animal exhibits and arts and crafts activities. Temporary programs are introduced periodically.
2014 saw the opening of a new aquarium with a collection of fish and turtles.Families receiving government benefits such as food assistance may receive discounted admission.Galeamopus
Galeamopus is a genus of herbivorous diplodocid sauropod dinosaurs. It contains two known species: Galeamopus hayi, known from the Late Jurassic lower Morrison Formation (Kimmeridgian age, about 155 million years ago) of Wyoming, United States, and Galeamopus pabsti, known from the Late Jurassic fossils from Wyoming and Colorado. The type species is known from one of the most well preserved diplodocid fossils, a nearly complete skeleton with associated skull.Helen Chatfield Black
Helen Black (1924 - June 8, 2018) was an American naturalist and conservationist from the Greater Cincinnati area.Laurel Homes Historic District
Laurel Homes Historic District is a registered historic district in Cincinnati, Ohio, listed in the National Register of Historic Places on May 19, 1987. It contained 29 contributing buildings.
All but three of the historic low-income public housing projects was razed between 2000-02 to make way for new condominiums.List of baseball parks in Cincinnati
This is a list of venues used for professional baseball in Cincinnati, Ohio. The information is a compilation of the information contained in the references listed.List of museums in Cincinnati
This is a list of museums in Cincinnati and non-profit and university art galleries.
See also List of museums in Ohio for other museums in Hamilton County, Ohio and the rest of the state.
See also List of museums in Cleveland and List of museums in Columbus, Ohio.Longworth Hall
Longworth Hall is a registered historic building in Cincinnati, Ohio, listed in the National Register on December 29, 1986. Constructed by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1904 as the B & O Freight Terminal, the building was reported to be the largest structure of its type in the world at 5 stories high and 1,277 feet (389 m) long. Camden Yards in Baltimore is a similar structure.Museum Center
Museum Center may refer to:
Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal (originally Cincinnati Union Terminal), a passenger railroad station in the Queensgate neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio
Museum Center at Five Points, a history museum in Cleveland, Tennessee, with exhibits on the history of the local regionQueensgate, Cincinnati
Queensgate is a neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio. It sits in the valley of Downtown Cincinnati and has been dominated by industrial and commercial warehouses for most of its history. Cincinnati's nickname of "Porkopolis" started here with hog slaughtering in the early 19th century.Rotunda (architecture)
A rotunda (from Latin rotundus) is any building with a circular ground plan, and sometimes covered by a dome. It can also refer to a round room within a building (a famous example being within the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.). The Pantheon in Rome is a famous rotunda. A Band Rotunda is a circular bandstand, usually with a dome.S scale
S scale (or S gauge) is a model railroad scale modeled at 1:64 scale, S scale track gauge (space between the rails) is 0.883 in (22.43 mm). S gauge trains are manufactured in both DC and AC powered varieties. S gauge is not to be confused with toy train standard gauge, a large-scale standard for toy trains in the early part of the 20th century.Semi-dome
In architecture, a semi-dome (or half-dome) is a half dome that covers a semi-circular area in a building.Symphonic organ
The symphonic organ is a style of pipe organ that flourished during the first three decades of the 20th century in town halls and other secular public venues, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is a variation of the classical pipe organ – expanded with many pipes imitative of orchestral instruments, and with capabilities for seamlessly increasing and decreasing volume. These expansions are intended to facilitate the expressive performance of Romantic music and orchestral transcriptions. (These are classical orchestral works re-scored for a solo organist, a popular practice before technology allowed orchestras to be widely recorded and broadcast.) The symphonic organ has seen a revival in the US, Europe and Japan, particularly since the 1980s.The leading builders of symphonic organs were Henry Willis & Sons in the UK and Ernest M. Skinner in the US, following the pioneering 19th-century work of Eberhard Friedrich Walcker in Germany and Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in France, and inspiring the organ music of such figures as Edward Elgar, Edwin Lemare, Franz Liszt, and César Franck, respectively. The largest example is the Wanamaker Organ, installed in Philadelphia in 1911 after having been exhibited at the St. Louis World's Fair, and then greatly expanded over two decades. It currently has six manuals, ten divisions, 463 ranks, and 28,677 pipes, all powered by 36 regulators and fans totaling 168 hp. Other important examples around Philadelphia are the Skinner organ at Girard College Chapel (1931), the Curtis Organ at Irvine Auditorium (University of Pennsylvania, 1926), and the Aeolian Company organ at nearby Longwood Gardens (1929). In New Haven, Connecticut, three organbuilders assembled one of the world's largest and finest symphonic organs for Yale University in Woolsey Hall (Newberry Memorial Organ, 1902/1915/1928).Another excellent example of a symphonic organ can be seen and heard at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The magnificent Opus 1206 by Austin Organs, with 81 ranks and 5261 pipes, was first played on February 12, 1925. Its first Civic Organist was the world-renowned Edwin Lemare. Led by the Chattanooga Music Club, the citizens of Chattanooga began the organ's restoration in 1987, and 20 years later, on July 2, 2007, it was re-dedicated at a concert performed by Wanamaker organist Peter Richard Conte. Municipal symphonic organs are still in prominent use in San Diego, California (Spreckels Organ Pavilion, 1914) and in Portland, Maine (Kotzschmar Memorial Organ, 1912), and in 1999 a large 1920s-vintage Skinner was inaugurated in the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal.Transportation in Kentucky
Transportation in Kentucky includes roads, airports, waterways and rail.Whispering gallery
A whispering gallery is usually a circular, hemispherical, elliptical or ellipsoidal enclosure, often beneath a dome or a vault, in which whispers can be heard clearly in other parts of the gallery. Such galleries can also be set up using two parabolic dishes. Sometimes the phenomenon is detected in caves.