The Plaza & Hilton Hotels



  Constructed by the Starrett Investing Company as part of the Carew Tower complex in 1930-1931, the Netherland Plaza portion opened on 1/28/31. When built this complex was the largest of its type in the United States. The Netherland Plaza is located at 5th and Race and begun with 800 rooms. Starrett opened the hotel as the St. Nicholas Plaza named after the old hotel that had stood on the corner of 4th and Race, but was sued by the Hotel Sinton claiming they had ownership of that name. The hotel actually opened without a name for the first month. Finally since Starrett had already bought and paid for all the silverware, china, linen, stationary, and other furnishings with the St. N. P. monogram on them, it was decided to call the establishment Starrett's Netherland Plaza. The first card below was in use for the first few months until the second card could be designed and printed. At this time the hotel contained seven restaurants and twenty-six private dining rooms. There was a wedding chapel next to one of the ballrooms.
  Some of the notables that stayed here were: Presidents Truman and Eisenhower, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (appropriate), Eleanor Roosevelt (she refused to leave until the hotel allowed her to pay her bill), Bing Crosby (his fans almost started a riot). Winston Churchill requested the plans for the yellow-tiled bathroom in his suite, he wanted to reproduce it in one of his homes.

St Nicholas Plaza.jpg (244841 bytes)                Netherland Plaza Hotel-6vert.jpg (99127 bytes)
St. Nicholas Plaza                  Netherland Plaza  


Netherland Plaza-BW.jpg (315196 bytes)        Netherland Plaza Hotel-1 vert.jpg (135543 bytes)        Netherland Plaza-ad.jpg (110529 bytes)        Netherland Plaza Hotel-2vert.jpg (139099 bytes)        Netherland Plaza-ae.jpg (121646 bytes)


Netherland Plaza-aa.jpg (124436 bytes)         Netherland Plaza Hotel-3 vert.jpg (126702 bytes)        Netherland Plaza-ab.jpg (144632 bytes)        Netherland Plaza Hotel-5 vert.jpg (122671 bytes)


Netherland Plaza-ac.jpg (130745 bytes)            Netherland Plaza Hotel-4 vert.jpg (120562 bytes)
    Carew Tower                Netherland Plaza
The Publishers made this card into a dual purpose item.


                                                                                                                Not a postcard
Pavillon Caprice-s1.jpg (269949 bytes)        Netherland Plaza Hotel-7 horz.jpg (96466 bytes)                Doris Day Netherland Plaza-1938.jpg (573182 bytes)
      Two Versions Of  Caprice Pavillon                                                Doris Day

   The last image above was taken in 1938. Doris Day is seen with Jerry Doherty and the Duke Schumann Band at the Caprice Pavillon.


Netherland Plaza Hotel-8 horz.jpg (113586 bytes)
Hall of Mirrors


                                                                                        Not a postcard
Netherland Plaza Hotel-9horz.jpg (111038 bytes)        Netherland Plaza-Continentale.jpg (328506 bytes)        Neth.Plaza's Restaurant Continentale-1940s.jpg (465260 bytes)
Restaurant Continentale


Room Service 1.jpg (928678 bytes)    Room Service 2.jpg (758489 bytes)Room Service 3.jpg (1223249 bytes)    Room Service 4.jpg (795943 bytes)

   The above item is a room service menu for the Netherland Plaza. The front cover advertises the Restaurant Continentale, the inside is the room service menu, and the back side tells about some of the services offered by the hotel. It is dated Friday, June 20, 1941.  In the 1940s the Restaurant Continentale even had an ice rink. Some of the other dining areas of the hotel, over the years, have been The Frontier Room, Arcadia Tea Room, the Coffee Shop, the Rotisserie Grill, the Luncheonette.



    In the 1930's the hotel put out a 10" x 13", 36 page, pamphlet filled with photographs of the new hotel complex. The images below are just some of the photographs in this brochure.

Plaza-stairway entrance.jpg (1623456 bytes)    Plaza-registration area.jpg (1417288 bytes)    Plaza-lobby corridor.jpg (1293957 bytes)    Plaza-lobby lounge.jpg (637002 bytes)    Neth.Plaza's Grand Hall in 1951.jpg (511127 bytes)
Entrance stairway             Registration area                                              Lobby                                                      1951 photo    


Plaza-stairs to mezzanine.jpg (635484 bytes)    Plaza-mezzanine.jpg (1219534 bytes)
Stairs to 4th floor                    Mezzanine              


   The next image is a floor plan for the fourth floor. This floor contained two exhibition halls, the Hall of Mirrors (the third floor held the foyer for the Hall and this was reached using the stairs above.) The Hall of Mirrors could be combined with the two Exhibition Halls plus the Mezzanine could be combined when dining facilities for upwards of 2,000 guests was required. There were also 9 passenger elevators available. There were 3 freight elevators connected to the South Exhibition Hall. Also on this floor was the Pavillon Caprice, the Plaza's famous supper club able to seat 1,000 people. The Pavillon Bar was said to be the finest in the Midwest. There were also many private dining rooms, some of which could be adjusted according to need (Gothic & Louis XVI rooms.)

Plaza-floor plan.jpg (449793 bytes)
Fourth Floor


NP-Arcade 1.jpg (1055159 bytes)        NP-Arcade 2.jpg (462377 bytes)        Plaza-arcade barber shop.jpg (1200031 bytes)        Xmas Carolers in Arcade early 50s.jpg (431234 bytes)
                                            Arcade                                                        Arcade Barbershop      50s shot of Xmas. carolers
                                                                                                                                                       in arcade


Plaza-Hall of mirrors.jpg (1205421 bytes)        Np-Hall of Mirrors 2.jpg (412108 bytes)        Plaza-pavillon caprice.jpg (1078778 bytes)        Plaza-pavillon bar.jpg (495645 bytes)
                               Hall of Mirrors                                         Pavillon Caprice                Pavillon Bar


Plaza-entrance continentale.jpg (539389 bytes)        Plaza-restaurant continentale.jpg (1343840 bytes)        Plaza-frontier room.jpg (863384 bytes)        Plaza-Cocktail terrace.jpg (375367 bytes)
        Entrance               Restaurant Continentale            Frontier Room                Cocktail Terrace       


Plaza-1 of 5 kitchens.jpg (1304202 bytes)        Np-Auxiliary Kitchen.jpg (443031 bytes)        NP-Pantry.jpg (341387 bytes)
     Main Kitchen             1 of the Auxiliary kitchens                    Pantry Room     


Plaza-laundry.jpg (1237692 bytes)        Plaza-dry cleaning area.jpg (492835 bytes)        Np-Linen Room.jpg (330048 bytes)
Laundry                                 Dry Cleaning                              Linen Room


Plaza-coffee shop.jpg (1103950 bytes)    NP-Coffee Shop 2.jpg (362535 bytes)        NP-Exhibit Hall.jpg (725291 bytes)    Plaza-exhibition hall.jpg (998875 bytes)
Coffee Shop                                                            Exhibition Halls 


Plaza-telephone exchange.jpg (408233 bytes)        NP-Corridor of Periods-Meeting Rooms.jpg (1076605 bytes)        NP-Meeting Room.jpg (403192 bytes)        Plaza-radio control room.jpg (340643 bytes)
     Telephone Exchange          Corridor to Meeting Rooms            Meeting Room                  Room where all radios    
                                                                                                                                                            were connected to.


Netherland Plaza Metalwork-ca. 1930.jpg (228923 bytes)        NP-Mezzanine Beauty Salon.jpg (430499 bytes)        Plaza-freight elevator on 4th floor.jpg (309482 bytes)
   Metalwork              Mezzanine Beauty                   Freight Elevator       


NP-Hall to Rooms.jpg (405501 bytes)        Plaza-twin bedroom.jpg (677724 bytes)        Plaza-suite.jpg (995363 bytes)        Plaza-studio apartment.jpg (950221 bytes)
Hall to Rooms                      Twin Bedroom                                   Suite                                      Studio Suite     

   PRICES: Single rooms-$3.00 to $10.00; Double rooms-$5.50 to $12.00; Twin-$6.00 to $10.00; Suites-$11.00 per day and up; Presidential Suite consisting of 2 bed rooms, living room, dining room and kitchenette-no price given; Studio Suite consisting of parlor and 4 bed rooms-no price given.


Netherland Coffee Shop Menu 1.jpg (874227 bytes)    Netherland Coffee Shop Menu 2.jpg (892849 bytes)
Coffee Shop Menu


Netherland Plaza entrance to central lobby.jpg (747945 bytes)        Netherland Plaza murals 1982-83.jpg (369219 bytes)        Netherland Plaza Apollo Mural.jpg (312607 bytes)        Netherland Plaza Palm Court.jpg (386309 bytes)
Entrance to lobby                        Murals                         Ceiling mural of Apollo                  Palm Court           

   The hotel is now known as the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. The lobby seen in the brochure above has been converted into the hotel's main fine dining room, The Orchids at Palm Court. The Restaurant Continentale, one floor above The Palm Court, is now called the Continental Ballroom. The 3 images above are obviously newer photographs of three of the great views of this building. 


Card showing
The Netherland Plaza
Netherland-Terrace Plaza Hotel.jpg (87137 bytes)
The Terrace Plaza



   As you can see from the above card both hotels were managed by the same corporation. At the time that card was produced John G. Horsman was the general manager for both operations.
   Constructed in 1948 the 10 floors of this hotel at 15 West Sixth Street sat on top of 7 floors of office and retail space and on the 8th floor a combination meeting and dining area, part of which was outside. It had a roof garden and restaurant on the 18th floor. It was considered the world's most modern hotel. Pneumatic tubes took dinner checks from the dining room to the credit clerk and back again. Rooms were painted to correspond to their geographic location. Sofas were transformed into beds at a push of a button. The eighth floor terrace would change from an outdoor dining area and garden in the summer to an ice skating rink in the winter. The fully-automated elevators were among the first in the nation.
   Alexander Calder created one of his famous abstract mobiles, "20 Leaves and a Apple" for the Lobby. Spanish artist Joan Miro painted a 30' mural for the circular rooftop Gourmet Restaurant. Romanian Saul Steinberg was asked to capture scenes of Cincinnati in a 80' "Mural of Cincinnati" for the tiered Skyline Restaurant. These art works were removed when the hotel was sold to the Hilton Hotel Corp. and donated to the Cincinnati Art Museum. The Miro Mural was shipped to the Intermuseum Conservation Association in Cleveland in April of 2008, it along with the Steinberg mural that was already in Cleveland, were sent to be restored thanks to $135,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts' Save America's Treasures program. The Steinberg had already been conserved and was on display in the summer of 2007. It is now in storage. The Miro has also been restored and is now hanging, outside the Terrace Cafe, at the Cincinnati Art Museum where the final conservation work will be done. The Calder Mobile, also, now hangs outside the Terrace Cafe, which was opened in 2003.
   The 600,000-square-foot building has been mostly vacant ever since the 256-room Terrace Hotel closed in October 2008. Today a few retailers occupy only the ground level of the 20-story building. Preservationists are submitting the building to the National Register of Historic places and are trying to find an alternate way to use the structure, such as apartments plus a smaller hotel, turning the old 20th floor Gourmet Room into a nightclub. Other possibilities include a movie theater in the windowless part of the structure, it could also be used as a parking lot or department store.

Not a postcard
Terrace Plaza Hotel.jpg (780952 bytes)


Terrace Plaza vert-1.jpg (104339 bytes)            Terrace Plaza vert-2.jpg (111254 bytes)            Terrace Plaza-ad.jpg (93474 bytes)            Terrace Plaza-ac.jpg (113935 bytes)            Terrace Plaza vert-3.jpg (115594 bytes)


Terrace Plaza horz-1.jpg (107209 bytes)        Carew Tower looking North new-1.jpg (116724 bytes)                            Terrace Plaza 2.jpg (87880 bytes)
                                                                                                                                    not a postcard


Terrace Plaza horz-2.jpg (106573 bytes)    Miro Mural.jpg (303655 bytes)    Terrace Plaza-aa.jpg (85094 bytes)        Terrace Plaza-ab.jpg (85783 bytes)
            Gourmet Restaurant                                          The Miro Mural                        Calder's  Mobile

Terrace Plaza Mural.jpg (200584 bytes)
Mural At Museum


Terrace Plaza horz-3.jpg (110598 bytes)                Terrace Plaza.jpg (72615 bytes)    Saul Steinberg working on mural.jpg (143744 bytes)    Saul Steinberg posing in front of his mural.jpg (151331 bytes)
Skyline Dining Room                                                     These are not postcards                

   The last two images above show Saul Steinberg working on, and posing in front of, his mural.


Terrace Park Folder (2).jpg (423454 bytes)    Terrace Park Folder (3).jpg (959427 bytes)    Terrace Park Folder (4).jpg (292622 bytes)    Terrace Park Folder (5).jpg (421327 bytes)    Terrace Park Folder.jpg (663216 bytes)

   These images are from a small pamphlet about the Terrace Plaza Hotel, in the second image you can see the connection to the Netherland Plaza Hotel.



Both of the above hotels were sold to the Hilton hotel chain in 1956.

Netherland Hilton Hotel-1-vert.jpg (90436 bytes)        Netherland Hilton-aa.jpg (84792 bytes)        Hilton-FDI.jpg (247469 bytes)        Terrace Hilton-aa.jpg (68202 bytes)        Terrace Hilton-vert-1.jpg (102726 bytes)

   The center card above is a very unusual way to use a postcard. Someone has used this card to display the First Day of Issue of the 8 cent Pharmacy stamp issued on November 10, 1972. Why they would use a Netherland Hilton postcard for this stamp, I have no idea. (unless there was a pharmacy convention held there that year?).



Terrace Hilton-horz-1.jpg (122326 bytes)                  Hilton-Landmarks.jpg (859413 bytes)                  Terrace Hilton-horz-2.jpg (92659 bytes)
Kasbah Cocktail Lounge             Landmarks seen from Hilton                          Joe's Bar             


Terrace Hilton Skyline Ballroom.jpg (203901 bytes)
Skyline Ballroom



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