3 Union Terminal murals moving downtown Saturday

Posted at 4:59 PM, Dec 14, 2015
and last updated 2016-04-01 06:16:40-04

CINCINNATI -- The first three of nine massive murals originally from a train concourse at Union Terminal are making a big move downtown from the airport Saturday morning.

They will be installed at the Duke Energy Convention Center -- but not facing indoors, where some might have expected.

Instead, the murals will be mounted on an exterior wall of the building along Central Avenue. That means anyone walking or driving nearby will be able to see them, day or night, but they'll still be protected behind glass.

The nine murals will be on display along Central Avenue. Image courtesy City of Cincinnati

The process of moving the murals, currently located at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, will last from 6 a.m. until roughly 8 p.m. and involve the closure of Central Avenue, between Fifth and Sixth streets.

“These great murals are coming home to Cincinnati,” said Mayor John Cranley in a statement. “I’m excited that these important pieces of artwork will once again be on public display for everyone to see and enjoy.”

The three murals that will be transported Saturday are Cincinnati Milling Machining, E. Khan’s & Sons, and Procter & Gamble. Subsequent deliveries will occur in coordination with staff at CVG to accommodate the construction schedule at the airport. A formal unveiling ceremony will take place once all murals have been delivered.

Each mural weighs eight tons and depicts the laborers inside Cincinnati manufacturing companies, including Procter & Gamble, Baldwin Piano and Crosley Broadcasting. Artist Winold Reiss created the massive glass-tile mosaics for Union Terminal in the early 1930s, and they were moved to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1973, when portions of the Queensgate icon were demolished.

But now, two airport terminals housing the murals are being demolished, too. The Kenton County Airport Board voted in May 2015 to pay O'Rourke Wrecking Company about $2 million to protect, pack, crate and transport the murals to the convention center.

On Dec. 14, 2015, Cincinnati City Council's Budget and Finance Committee voted to front $750,000 to unload and mount the murals on the convention center's western wall; the money will be paid back from Hamilton County's hotel/motel tax over five years.