Thursday, August 14, 2008

More to this city than meets the eye.

I have often heard people say that Cincinnati is only considered a major city because it has "major league sports teams." Nothing could be further from the truth, while the Queen City is no Chicago or New York (and is certainly better than Pittsburgh), it is in fact a major city. Facing major city problems, major city crime, and major city progress. As a kid, Cincinnati represented the "major city" you saw on tv or depicted in comic books. The Cincinnati of the 90's was ushered out when they imploded Riverfront Stadium. Since then the city has been on a furious redevelopment sweep and grows every day. It may not be L.A. but Cincinnati is a wonderful place on the banks of the muddy Ohio to spend your time exploring in the hot afternoon with your friends, or to go about in the evening city light with the ones you really care about.

Seicer recently moved from Lexington to Cincinnati, along with him and RJ17, the QCD crew has been making new discoveries around Cincinnati all summer.

-We started out by exploring some abandoned government housing projects awaiting their destruction high above the city's West End. These overgrown, mostly empty buildings, appear as if they were from a scene from "I am Legend" (without the crappy CGI vampire zombies and featuring Seicer as Will Smith). They are fenced off, but the fence has holes everywhere for the copper thieves, the homeless, and the curious. See the collection of photographs here.

The housing projects were pretty much bare with the exception of one crib in one of the upper rooms, we ventured down back towards the city to Price Hill, where we came up the State Ave. viaduct ramp:

In 1995, the Waldvogel Viaduct was named as "the bridge in most need of being replaced in Cincinnati." This former on/off ramp that extended from the viaduct to State Ave. has since been closed, considered too dangerous for motorists to use. Cincinnati infrastructure has always been a headache, from the cramped freeways winding in and out of the hills, to the aging viaducts, and even to the abandoned subways. See the rest of the photos from the abandoned ramp here: ROAD CLOSED: The State Ave. Viaduct Ramp.

However, one of the city's greatest abandoned gems was yet to be seen, after stumbling over the needles, used condoms, and decaying gravel of the viaduct ramp, we ventured to find this beautiful symbol of Roman Catholic architecture:

The congregation of Our Lady of Perpetual Help last attended a service here in 1989, before her school and parish merged with nearby Holy Family. Property owners come and go, as do vandals and copper thieves, we came only to document the history and beauty of this church.

100 years before it closed, Pope Leo XIII gave the church religious icons, bells, and an organ in line with Catholic tradition. Nearly all Holy Relics were moved to Holy Family with the congregation, as is accustom when a Catholic Church is decommissioned.

I attended Catholic School from Kindergarten all the way through High School within the arch diocese of Cincinnati. Despite not being the most religious person in the world, I have great respect for Catholic traditions and art. The church still contains hymnals, collection boxes, stained glass windows, a baptismal font. Adorned on each window are the names of people who donated money to have the windows installed, I wonder how they would feel knowing that the church is now abandoned, if they don't already know.

One of the most beautiful and interesting historic relics in the Queen City. In the day and age of "modern churches" that can be seen on your cable t.v. and giant Jesus' off of the interstate, traditional architecture and religious tradition is becoming a rarity. I hope one day this church an be restored in one way, shape, or form. To see the rest of the photographs check out the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Gallery.

The summer is almost over. I have worked a lot. While churches in Mt. Adams went about their summer festivals of drinking, gambling, and good times (as seen in the title photograph) we uncovered a wonderful example of Cincinnati history. The summer has gone fast, but I have seen and photographed a lot and explored the city with some great people, it has been a great summer. Until next time. . .

- Gordon Bombay

Updates | Sept. 21, 2017:
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help is still standing, still closed. According to one comment below, the organ was saved and moved to another church. The English Woods housing was completely demolished. The Waldvogel Viaduct was completely replaced.


  1. that church is gorgeous, and its encouraging to see its in such good condition. lets hope it stays that way

  2. Luckly the pipe organ was saved. It was moved to Holy Family Church in Price Hill.