Part 1: An interactive look at Over-the-Rhine's past

Then and Now

The following story is part of a recurring series called "Then and Now," where we compare historic photos from Cincinnati's past to images taken today.

This is PART 1 of 2 in our interactive look at Over-the-Rhine.


CINCINNATI -- Arguably, no neighborhood in Cincinnati has as rich a history as Over-the-Rhine.

A mecca of German-American heritage, Over-the-Rhine’s "golden years" were between 1860 and 1900. But in the years that followed, it lost countless residents to the suburbs. What was once an explosion of culture and energy became one of several declining neighborhoods in the city’s ring of slums.

Many thought Over-the-Rhine would eventually disappear, swallowed up by Cincinnati's growing business district.

But they were wrong.

In 2006, Over-the-Rhine was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of "America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places," and many organizations today are helping to preserve and revitalize it.

In this interactive piece, we examine Over-the-Rhine during the 1920s and 30s and compare it to today to see what has been altered -- and what remains unchanged.

Thanks to preserved photos from the University of Cincinnati's Archives & Rare Books Library, WCPO has opened a window to the past with an enhanced look at historic images.

Each set of photos can be controlled and manipulated with the click of a mouse.

HOW TO USE OUR TOOL: Click and hold the white circular “slider” tool at the center of each photograph. Then move the slider left and right to see “before” and “after.” (Please be patient with longer load times for the interactive photos below. This feature may not be compatible with all versions of Internet Explorer, but works best with browsers like Firefox, Chrome or Safari.)


  Nov. 13, 1926: Corner of Main Street and Central Parkway





Shown here near the corner of Main Street and Central Parkway in 1926 is the eight-story Alms & Doepke building. Founded in 1865 by William F. Doepke, William H. Alms and Frederick H. Alms, the core of the Alms & Doepke Dry Goods Company was erected in 1878 and designed by Samuel Hannaford. The building would later be expanded in 1886, 1890 and 1906. By the late nineteenth century, Alms and Doepke had about 800 people on its payroll and was the region’s leading seller of dry goods. The business closed in 1955 after 90 years of operation. The building was later listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Today, the Hamilton County government owns the commercial building and its rooms are used as offices for Job and Family Services employees.


  July 9, 1932: Dunlap Street north from Findlay Street





The building after the fence (right side of the photo) was furniture maker The Jos Scheid Sons Co. The business Plymetl Products Co. also had an office there. At five stories, the building had an elevator and an attached lumber shed. Today, the words “The Jos Scheid Sons Co.” and “Furniture To You” are still written on the front of the building in faded letters.

Down the road was residential space owned by Rosa Butts, Richard Ronan and Chas Leppia. Across the street from the furniture company was an empty lot and next to that was a large garage with steam heat and electric lights. Down the road a bit was The Rollman & Sons Company, a general store founded by Isaac Rollman. From Vonhausen, Germany, Rollman settled in Cincinnati in 1847 at 21 years old. His sons later took over the business.

To see seven more interactive looks at Over-the-Rhine and nine more when we release PART 2 in this "Then and Now" series, become a WCPO Insider. Look below for more information on how to subscribe.

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