Fountain Square Looking West


  In 1867 Henry Probasco, a leading Cincinnati hardware merchant, offered to the city a fountain in memory of his business partner and brother-in-law Tyler Davidson. The city accepted and agreed to provide perpetual maintenance. The city also decided to construct an esplanade for the fountain. The original plan was to place the fountain on 5th Street between Walnut and Main (now known as government square). It was then decided to build it one block west between Vine and Walnut because it was wider and uncluttered by streetcar tracks. The problem was that this area was the site of the 5th Street Market which had been there since 1827. There were 54 very smelly stalls of firms engaged in the butchering trade. These butchers refused to move. The market consisted of a block long shed supported by brick pillars with about 50 entrances around the perimeter. The steeply pitched shingled roof had a cupola and bell on the west end. This area had been denounced by the Board of Health and most citizens considered it a disgusting place. The city declared it would not renew the leases of the stalls and would not issue new ones. The butchers sought an injunction to prevent their removal with the case going all the way to the Supreme Court of Ohio. They lost their appeal, but they would still not move, demanding a $500 bonus as compensation. At 3:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 4, 1870, City Council voted 25 to 8 to demolish the old market. Taking no chances on delays the butchers might employ, the city had already notified the street cleaning department and the police to have their men ready. They went into immediate action. Ninety men armed with axes, picks, crowbars, and ladders appeared at both ends of the market space. Backed by 50 policemen within 43 minutes they had the roof off, and in 3 hours the market was nothing but rubble. Spectators, wildly cheering as each section came crashing down, carted off the lumber for firewood. The astounded butchers were eventually compensated for the surprise demolition. Each one was paid $500. This added $27,000 to the cost of the fountain.

Fifth Street Market

These are not postcards
5th St. Market.jpg (206450 bytes)         5th Street Market.jpg (497582 bytes)        1870 Fifth Street Market Demolition.jpg (84190 bytes)


5th St. 1859 Lincoln Speech.jpg (447946 bytes)                5th St.-ca. Civil War.jpg (852310 bytes)
Lincoln's campaign speech 1859       One of the earliest known photos   
Compare the artist's sketch with the photograph taken a few years later

  On October 6, 1871 there were at least 20,000, perhaps as many as 50,000 people that had come to see the ceremonies as the fountain was unveiled. The governor of Ohio Rutherford B. Hayes, (later President of the United States), was one of the many speakers. The only thing that marred the gala festivities was caused by one Walter Douglas, a builder (at least that is what he called himself). He was hired to erect the ranks of temporary benches that were to be placed on the sidewalks on the north and south sides of the square, and on the esplanade itself. They were 4 rows high and were to accommodate 4000 people. Their construction left much to be desired, for they were basically nothing more than long unsupported planks propped up and nailed in a very flimsy manner.
  One by one the tiers began collapsing in huge clouds of dust. First the seats on the south side crashed to the ground, and then very shortly after that the ones on the north side did likewise, then the ones seating the members of the city council collapsed. By this time everyone had deserted their seats and so when the last section on the south side fell, there was nobody on it. No one was killed but there were plenty of broken bones. It has been said that the great mass of people who were further away from the festivities and probably could not hear what any of the speakers were saying found all this very amusing. Needless to say Mr. Douglas was never offered another contract from the city. You will find out about the fountain itself on the next page.

Invitation1.jpg (34696 bytes)    Invitation.jpg (83889 bytes)                Fountain Dedication-1.jpg (195540 bytes)    Fountain Dedication-2.jpg (104425 bytes)
1871 Invitation To The Fountain Dedication                            Program & Dedication Ode  


Fountain Unveiling.jpg (76087 bytes)        Fountain Unveiling-2.jpg (1897759 bytes)                   Fountain and Esplanade 1870-71.jpg (782771 bytes)         Fountain in 1872.jpg (366419 bytes)
Fountain Unveiling                                                                        Fountain in 1872

  The main buildings you will see in these cards will be the Carew building in the background. Constructed in 1889 it stood until 1929 when it was razed for the building of the Carew Tower. This structure built by Joseph T Carew was renown for its hydraulic elevators, atrium on the top floor, and spacious offices. In some cards you will not see this building. The only explanation I can come up with is they used a very old photo taken before it was built. I don't think they took it out because the first horizontal card is a real photo. The next card is a colorized version of it. Of course it could have been removed to put more emphasis on the fountain. The first image is a non-postcard photograph of this building.

Carew Building.jpg (1094906 bytes)

  During the era these cards were made you will see the Mabley & Carew building on the right. It occupied the northeast corner of 5th & Vine from  1881 until the Carew tower was finished. They moved into that building and stayed until 1962 when they moved to the former Rollman's building across the street on the northwest corner. You will also, of course, see the Rollman's Building in some of these images. When you get to the next page, (cards looking east), you will see another Mabley & Carew building in the middle of the block on the north side. This was their first store which they opened in 1877 until the larger 5 story building replaced it. By the way in case you were wondering if the Carew who built the Carew Building is the same Carew that is in Mabley & Carew the answer is yes.

Fountain Square-6.jpg (98570 bytes)    Fountain Square-1.jpg (103775 bytes)    Ft Sq-west-12.jpg (94746 bytes)    Fountain Square-2.jpg (98783 bytes)    Ft Sq-west-13.jpg (96047 bytes)    Fountain Square-3.jpg (94013 bytes)    Fountain Square-4.jpg (106477 bytes)


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Fountain Square-15.jpg (106179 bytes)      Fountain Square-18.jpg (149257 bytes)      Ft Sq-west-16.jpg (136948 bytes)      Fountain Square-27.jpg (60786 bytes)      Fountain Square-13.jpg (103659 bytes)


Fountain Square-12.jpg (116867 bytes)    Fountain Square-19.jpg (137895 bytes)    Fountain WB.jpg (291210 bytes)    Fountain Square-17.jpg (138333 bytes)    Fountain Square-16 german.jpg (85716 bytes)
                                                                                                                                                                                                This is a German card


Fountain Square-14.jpg (140548 bytes)      Fountain Square-21.jpg (150693 bytes)      Fountain Square-11.jpg (115248 bytes)      Fountain Square-25.jpg (90809 bytes)      Fountain Square-26.jpg (92050 bytes)


Fountain Square At Night.jpg (294250 bytes)      Fountain Square-20.jpg (121389 bytes)      RPPC 1916 Fountain Sq..jpg (141230 bytes)      Night Scene Ft. Square.jpg (437648 bytes)
        Night Scene                                                                            1916 RPPC View                Another Night Scene


Fountain Square-23.jpg (129896 bytes)
Something to break the monotony


Fountain Sq looking west-night-1.jpg (91168 bytes)    Fountain Square-28.jpg (142026 bytes)    Glen Tracy Fountain Sketch.jpg (420001 bytes)    Fountain Sq looking west-from PO.jpg (114567 bytes)    Fountain in snow.jpg (462905 bytes)
Night version         and          Day version            Glen Tracy Drawing                                                                                    


Ft Sq-west-1.jpg (134946 bytes)


Fountain Sq-n3a.jpg (362097 bytes)    Fountain Sq looking west-newer 1.jpg (151638 bytes)    Ft Sq-west-2.jpg (149582 bytes)    Fountain Sq looking west-newer 2.jpg (119632 bytes)    Fountain Sq looking west-newer 3.jpg (166057 bytes)


Ft Sq-west-4.jpg (143410 bytes)    Fountain Sq looking west-chrome-1.jpg (104783 bytes)    Fountain Sq looking west-chrome-4.jpg (133364 bytes)    Fountain Sq looking west-chrome-2.jpg (119040 bytes)    Fountain Sq looking west-chrome-3.jpg (105000 bytes)


Fountain Sq looking west-chrome-5.jpg (100676 bytes)    Ft Sq-west-7.jpg (98694 bytes)    Ft Sq-west-18.jpg (115106 bytes)    Ft Sq-west-17.jpg (117505 bytes)    Ft Sq-west-8.jpg (100469 bytes)    Fountain Sq looking west-chrome-6.jpg (115316 bytes)


Ft Sq-west-5.jpg (64670 bytes)    Ft Sq-west-9.jpg (51432 bytes)    Fountain night-1a.jpg (83315 bytes)    Fountain night-1b.jpg (79207 bytes)    Ft Sq-west-10.jpg (66911 bytes)    Ft Sq-west-11.jpg (146450 bytes)


                                                                   Not a postcard
Hospitality House.jpg (206723 bytes)                                Ft.Square War Bonds.jpg (182943 bytes)
Hospitality House                                        War Bonds Booth    

   The Cincinnati Hospitality House was created and maintained by the Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was operated by a trained staff, supplemented by volunteer workers. You could buy your WWII War Bonds and other items at this booth set up on the east end of the esplanade.


Combo Image.jpg (385906 bytes)
Fountain/Post Office






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