Announced today, the Terrace Plaza Hotel at the corner of 6th and Vine Streets in Downtown Cincinnati was included in the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2020 List of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The list brings much-needed attention to buildings around the country that should, in preservationists' eyes, be saved for myriad important reasons.
Many walk by the 20-story former hotel every day without noticing. Vacant since 2008, it was the first post-WWII hotel built in Cincinnati (finished in 1948), and remains an important cultural icon today thanks in large part to ground-breaking architect and designer Natalie de Blois' innovative vision. When it opened its doors, the building featured original works of art by well-known modern artists of the day (which are on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum today), a rooftop restaurant with a five Mobil star restaurant and panoramic views of Downtown, multiple department stores, an 8th floor open-air terrace, and many beautifully furnished hotel rooms.
Though it's difficult to imagine the grandeur from the street today due to decades of changes and neglect, photos from its opening by esteemed photographer Ezra Stoller provide an unprecedented glimpse into its heyday.
The Cincinnati Preservation Association put together an excellent interactive virtual tour that both exhibits Stoller's photography and provides information about Natalie de Blois, present-day efforts to preserve the building, and much more. The tour is best accessed on non-mobile devices, but if you wish to view it on your phone, you need to download the Artsteps app.
If you're still interested in learning more about Cincinnati's modernist marvel, pick up Shawn Patrick Tubbs' book, Cincinnati's Terrace Plaza Hotel: An Icon of American Modernism, from the Public Library or on its website.