Signed copies of Fading Ads of Cincinnati now available. Order here.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The End of The Cincinnati North Hotel


North of the city, a massive and abandoned hotel is finally coming down. Once a familiar structure on the suburban skyline, it finally had its date with the wrecking ball.



- The interior of one of the hotel's restaurants as seen during its abandoned state years ago.

I appreciate all of the people who take time out of their lives to read the posts here on QC/D. Seriously, it really means a lot. Sometimes it can be hard to gauge if the posts/articles are reaching anyone when all you have to go on is browsing data and blog metrics. I don't get too caught up in those, but it can often be nice to know that someone's paying attention. Sometimes, that kind of affirmation shows itself in other ways, such as the past week. I've had several people send in emails, facebook messages, and tweets letting me know that the hotel off of Route 4 in Springdale was being torn down. I appreciated these notifications, because it meant that all of these people remembered an article published here over seven years ago.

That article was the story of The Cincinnati North Hotel: once a Best Western, previously a Ramada, and a Sheraton before that. The massive 10-story lodging establishment opened in 1981 and closed in 2008. It then spent the next nine years abandoned before finally being knocked down this week.

- When the hotel was abandoned, several of the rooms seemed like all they were waiting for was a housekeeper to come by.

In 2010, I published an article that showed our exploration of the hotel and went over its history. I was ready to do a followup in the summer of 2016 when I first heard that the City of Springdale had finally decided to fund the building's demolition, the former property owners no longer around. One day after work, I stopped by to snap some photos as a crane appeared in the parking lot and an excavator tore down the front entrance.

Then everything stopped.

The crane went away, so did the excavator. A fence still stood around the property, but it seemed the building's life had been granted a reprieve. I came to find out later that this was allegedly due to the discovery of asbestos. Apparently an abatement occurred and then last week, the emails and notifications started rolling in. So nearly a year later, the end of the hotel was finally at hand. An imposing structure just off of the highway and once a fixture on the suburban landscape is now gone.

The following photographs highlight how the hotel looked in the summer of 2016 compared to its demolition in May 2017.

- 2016

The Cincinnati North was the final name of the business and it was located just off of Route 4 and I-275.

- 2017

- 2016

Throughout its life, the hotel featured several restaurants/bars as well as an indoor swimming pool, workout facility, and convention/banquet hall.

- 2017

- 2016

Located at the bottom of a hill near a suburban neighborhood, the hotel was once an imposing structure seen in the distance from nearby homes.

- 2017

- 2016

At some point, a mold problem caused management to shut down the upper floors of the massive hotel. Not that this seemed to be a problem, the parking lot always looked empty in the final years.

- 2017

- 2016

The land on which the hotel sits once featured several pay fishing lakes. One of those lakes still exists behind it.

- 2017

I spent one night here and it wasn't as a normal guest, rather as a documentarian of the forgotten built landscape. I did have a few other memories though from when the hotel was active: going to a sad, poorly attended guitar show and enjoying a family meal here as a young kid (where I fell off of a chair, hit my head, and had my parents clean the blood off in one of the bathrooms).

Those memories are pretty insignificant though compared to some of the ones shared by people in the comments section of the 2010 article. Here's some of the highlights from people who had a more personal and direct experience with this place when it was active:

Great place for a wedding reception:
"Great pics of a once great place! We had our wedding reception there and it was a blast. After closing the bar down afterward I couldn't tell you (remember) what it looked like upstairs, thanks for jogging my memory. While it's a shame what happened to it, it was probably over due. It was dated and kinda felt like the hotel in "The Shining" in it's later years." 

Singles Night: 
"Back in the mid 80's myself and a friend used to hang out at the bar in the Sheraton. The bar was called Sheri's and it was adjacent to the restaurant. Some nights there was a live band others a DJ. One night a week they had singles night. On singles night they would get a name tag and if someone wanted to send you a message they could. The message was on those light bars that scrolled and everybody could see it. 
The hotel was the biggest in the area and had convention facilities. The larger manufactures in Hamilton would hold conventions and seminars at the hotel. I remember Batesville Casket was there once as well as a robotics seminar from Hamilton Tool. Unfortunately the hotel rooms were too expensive for many of the seminar goers so they would stay at cheaper hotels in the area. Sheraton messed up overcharging for the rooms and the convention trade dwindled.   
Thanks for the memory." 

Former Place of Employment:
"I worked there from 1994 to 1996; first front desk, then night audit, then assistant controller. It was still a Sheraton. It wasn't long after I left that it was sold and became a Ramada. It seemed that after the sale of the property it went downhill. It was still a fairly nice place when I worked there. We had many contracts with local companies in which they had excellent rates for their employees/traveling guests. Additionally, some of the Bengels used to stay there from time to time, and I remember the UC football team staying there prior to one of there games. Marty Stuart (Country Music artist/Grand Ol Opry member) stayed, as well as famed mime (if there is such a thing) Marcel Marceau. But by far, my most memorable encounter came with a former member of Alice in Chains who stayed there about 3 times and would come in during night audit hours.   
Good times, good place to work for a little while. Hate to see it in such bad shape. The very tip top of the hotel houses a huge storage space. I spent 3 days hauling bankers boxes full of files and folios (pre-computerization) up there.   
Great pics"

- The wrecking ball at rest when demolition stopped for the weekend.



After Sheraton left the property, the hotel seemed to flow into a steady decline under the Ramada and Best Western monikers before becoming the independently owned Cincinnati North Hotel that was uniformly panned on lodging review sites. With the once massive building now reduced to nothing more than a pile of ruble, I'm not sure what's coming to the site next. This wasn't a historical structure, nor was there any demand to see something so massive and so empty revitalized. Whatever comes next will more than likely be better.

Adios, Cincinnati North.

Thanks to all the QC/D readers who alerted me to the building's demolition and who have kept up with this site over the years. I truly appreciate it.

You can check out the original article about this place here.

Also, @JClishe has contributed some awesome drone photos of the demoliton. See them in the followup post here.



17 comments:

  1. Great stuff-I used to deliver pizza for Papa John's in the area. In 1998, Cincy hosted the World Disc Golf Championship and this was the 'host hotel'. Never forget delivering to the hotel and seeing the banquet rooms filled with vendors, demonstrations, etc. Had no idea disc golf was such a legit sport. I've now been playing competitively (off and on) for 14 years and my aspirations all started that day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome how you got connected to disc golf through this hotel. Any idea where the rounds were actually played?

      Delete
  2. As always, I enjoy reading this site on a frequent basis. Brings back ALOT of old memories in Greater Cincinnati to places that will be gone forever. Please, continue the great work!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I drove past it in February and noticed it solely because you wrote about it so long ago. Was totally unaware they were ripping it down. The photo of it being ripped down against the suburban backdrop on the hill is so, so incredible. It's the begrudging acknowledgement of mistakes of cheap building and poor planning in suburban areas like West Chester.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen. Such a massive structure, yet it had such a short life.

      Delete
  5. Great photos! It's so important to document these things before they get demolished - thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I visited the hotel when it was a Sheraton. I was part of a paid consumer product study. We had to take a shower with the a new "liquid soap". The company doing the study had reserved a block of rooms for the participants to use. I'll never forget the experience...or the hotel. Thanks for your commitment to documenting the ever-changing built environment. It's truly appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading, Susan. Was the soap, or the hotel for that matter, any good?

      Delete
  7. Great stuff! QCD never seems to disappoint!

    I first stumbled onto your site in late 2014 when I was trying to find information on the ex-Holiday Inn/ex-Days Inn in Lafayette, Indiana (also featured here). Somehow the Cincinnati North hotel came up and I was hooked on this blog from the moment I started reading! I wish I would have had the opportunity to visit here, but your write-up on the place is an acceptable substitute :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha thanks so much, I'm glad. I'll try to keep not disappointing for a little while longer.

      Delete
  8. I've been reading up on this blog for a few years now, I'm originally from Cincinnati and I find declining businesses and other places in the area to be fascinating. I just want to let you know how much I appreciate the time and effort you put into these posts. I do believe they're great quality and I really enjoy reading each of them. Keep up the great work, and remember, there are more people paying attention than you think. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sarah, thanks so much for the kind words. Really means a lot. Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  9. I went to two large events at this hotel back when it was a Sheraton. I don't remember the year for the first, but the second would have been around 2001. The first was a meeting of users of a particular medical software package, the second was a large regional annual meeting for Weight Watchers where they roll out the program for the next year to the employees early. We were a group of predominately women, hundreds of us. They had to create more restrooms on the event floor and repurposed the men's rooms into makeshift ladies rooms. They made the men's rooms more presentable by putting potted plants in all the urinals!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hahah this is a great memory. Thanks for sharing!

      Delete