Four Cincinnati buildings to be added to the National Register of Historic Places

Four Cincinnati buildings — the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Building, the First National Bank Building, the Reakirt Building and the former Eastern Hills YMCA — are on the short list to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. The City of Cincinnati already recognizes the four buildings as historic, but now they’re waiting on the national distinction from the National Park Service, which oversees the registry. The final decision is expected in the next three months.
While actual “landmark” designation is typically for buildings like Music Hall and Union Terminal, other buildings can be listed for their importance to American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture.
Brunswick-Balke-Collender Building, 130-132 E. Sixth St., downtown
The six-story commercial building was completed in 1891 for the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co., which is one of the biggest manufacturers of billiards tables, billiard accessories, bar fixtures and bar furniture in the United States.
The building served as the company’s showroom until 1916, and is the only building in Cincinnati today that is associated with the firm. It has local architectural significance as an example of the 1890s Commercial style, with a riveted iron front and huge showroom windows on the second and third floors, as well as Romanesque details throughout.
First National Bank Building (Fourth and Walnut Centre), 105 E. Fourth St., downtown
Completed in 1904, the 19-story building was designed by Chicago architect and planner Daniel Burnham. It was one of Cincinnati’s earliest skyscrapers, and is one of the purest examples of the Chicago Commercial style. Its steel skeleton and masonry curtain walls, neoclassical details and distinctive three-part “Chicago-style” windows are all evident in early Chicago skyscrapers.
Reakirt Building, 126-128 E. Sixth St., downtown
Designed by Cincinnati architect Samuel S. Godley and completed in 1924, the Reakirt Building is an example of the early 20th century Chicago Commercial style. The 10-story, concrete-frame office building has brick curtain walls and limestone details, as well as stone ornamentation, copper cornices and large expanses of glass. It also has some of the best-preserved early 20th century interior features.
Former Eastern Hills YMCA, 1228 E. McMillan St., E. Walnut Hills
Completed in 1930, the former YMCA building served as a branch of the Cincinnati YMCA until 2011. The four-story, red brick building has limestone trim, a slate roof and a Tudor-style interior. It was designed by Cincinnati architect Charles F. Cellarius, who also supervised the architecture of the village of Mariemont from 1924-1941.
Being added to the National Register can help raise community awareness of the buildings, but it doesn’t obligate owners to repair or improve the properties. The listing also doesn’t prevent owners from remodeling, altering, selling or demolishing the buildings. However, owners of long-term tenants of the buildings who rehabilitate them can qualify for federal income tax credits. In Ohio, the state offers a 25 percent income tax credit for historic preservation projects.

Read more articles by Caitlin Koenig.

Caitlin Koenig is a Cincinnati transplant and 2012 grad of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She's the department editor for Soapbox Media and currently lives in Northside with her husband, Andrew, and their three furry children. Follow Caitlin on Twitter at @caite_13.  
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