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vaticanplum
12-12-2006, 07:43 PM
There is a building in downtown Cincinnati, on Race between 6th and 7th, that I'm quite taken with. I was wondering if anybody knew anything about it. It's across from the old Shilito's department store and has a very ornate white facade with the words "Lyric Piano Company" engraved above the second floor, and an inset balcony on the top floor

A google search for the LPC turned up just two results: a mention in a Northern Illinois university page (the college owns the records of the Wurlitzer Piano Company, which apparently contain the meeting minutes of the Lyric Company from 1909-1937), and this article published in CityBeat in 2002:

http://www.citybeat.com/2002-11-21/blight.shtml

An interesting thing to note here: the article says that Hardee's signed a 99-year lease which is due to expire in 2049. (And seriously, as a side note here, what brainiac thinks it's good business to give a 99-year lease -- a STABILIZED one -- to HARDEE'S? Has to be the least appetizing "food" establishment ever. Does it even still exist?) Anywho, the point is that the Hardee's there, while still bearing a visible sign, is boarded up, so something must have happened since this article. Either the restaurant just closed and Hardee's corporation still owns it (if it still exists) or somebody bought out the lease, as the article mentions being an option at the time. If the latter, I can't see that anything has been done with it, at least from the outside of the building. Still in pretty bad shape, no visible signs of management, and this is with the Shilito's building having been converted into condos.

I'm going to do some more research, but I know we have some city history buffs here so I wanted to see if anybody knew anything about it offhand. It is a really beautiful building, and I am very curious to know whether anything is being done with it, and also what it was. I mean, two google results for this piano company that was still around as recently as sixty years ago? Has anybody heard of it? Anybody got a Lyric piano in a basement somewhere?

If it's for sale, I say we have the world's biggest bake sale and turn it into a sound studio, for historical reverence and to liven Cincinnat's arts community, with maybe a baseball card trading shop on the first floor.

vaticanplum
12-12-2006, 07:57 PM
Hmm. From a little more google searching it appears to have once been a Burger Chef (what the flip is a Burger Chef?), and Burger Chef owned the building until it sold it to Hardee's last year, then just last month Hardee's sold it to a couple for $150,000. Dang, my baseball card sound studio and I just missed it.

I think this picture is of the back of it.

I realize I'm talking to myself.

Chip R
12-12-2006, 08:04 PM
Burger Chef! What, no Jeff? :lol:

Hardee's is still around but I thought they were merging with Carl's Jr. and all the restaurants were gona be Carl's Jr.s but I still see Hardee's around.

Falls City Beer
12-12-2006, 08:07 PM
Hmm. From a little more google searching it appears to have once been a Burger Chef (what the flip is a Burger Chef?), and Burger Chef owned the building until it sold it to Hardee's last year, then just last month Hardee's sold it to a couple for $150,000. Dang, my baseball card sound studio and I just missed it.

I think this picture is of the back of it.

I realize I'm talking to myself.

You don't remember Burger Chef?!!!

Holy crap. The Mariner Platter!!!!!!

RFS62
12-12-2006, 08:07 PM
http://www.freewebs.com/burgerchef/bc&j%20art.JPG

Falls City Beer
12-12-2006, 08:08 PM
Btw, that is an awesome building. I vaguely remember it.

vaticanplum
12-12-2006, 08:09 PM
I find it fitting somehow that I'm looking for architectural/musical/historical information, but everybody jumps all over the freaking Burger Chef.

It was seriously a big thing? What, like a chain?

Falls City Beer
12-12-2006, 08:10 PM
I find it fitting somehow that I'm looking for architectural/musical/historical information, but everybody jumps all over the freaking Burger Chef.

It was seriously a big thing? What, like a chain?

Oh, don't be a pooh!

Yeah kind of a rinky-dink chain in the midwest and midsouth (Tennessee). Defunctus est.

Chip R
12-12-2006, 08:12 PM
I find it fitting somehow that I'm looking for architectural/musical/historical information, but everybody jumps all over the freaking Burger Chef.


:lol: :lol: :lol:

Yachtzee
12-12-2006, 08:13 PM
I find it fitting somehow that I'm looking for architectural/musical/historical information, but everybody jumps all over the freaking Burger Chef.

It was seriously a big thing? What, like a chain?

When I was a kid in Lima, Burger Chef was bigger than McDonalds and Burger King. They had Star Wars posters and Cincinnati Reds stuff!

westofyou
12-12-2006, 08:18 PM
My wifes GS troop went on a field trip to Burger Chef, my friends first job was at the BC.. his first night the manager gave him a salt shaker and told him to kill all the slugs in the parking lot.

http://p.vtourist.com/1314540-Burger_Chef_c_1976-United_States_of_America.jpg

westofyou
12-12-2006, 08:19 PM
http://www.asfarasicantell.com/archives/img/100202_burgerchef.jpg

Falls City Beer
12-12-2006, 08:21 PM
http://www.asfarasicantell.com/archives/img/100202_burgerchef.jpg

:alien:

Falls City Beer
12-12-2006, 08:43 PM
http://webzoom.freewebs.com/burgerchef/a%20%20Themariner.JPG

Falls City Beer
12-12-2006, 08:46 PM
I'm sorry, VP, this has got to be something of a Lisa Simpson moment. Genuine curiosity shot down by lowest common denominator pop culture dreck.

vaticanplum
12-12-2006, 08:47 PM
http://p.vtourist.com/1314540-Burger_Chef_c_1976-United_States_of_America.jpg

I see it, it's a chef's hat. Or a spaceship. Or a house. Or a cupcake.

You know what it is not, though? A piano company.

The fact that that building housed and is apparently best-known for that establishment is just kind of what I enjoy about this city. Its full value of berserkity has yet to really be appreciated on a global scale, I think.

vaticanplum
12-12-2006, 08:49 PM
I'm sorry, VP, this has got to be something of a Lisa Simpson moment. Genuine curiosity shot down by lowest common denominator pop culture dreck.

Hey, it's an education. Luckily, I decided long ago that standards were burdensome.

westofyou
12-12-2006, 08:50 PM
Hey, it's an education. Luckily, I decided long ago that standards were burdensome.

http://thenightwriterblog.powerblogs.com/files/thenightwriterblog-Burger_Chef-small.JPG

Falls City Beer
12-12-2006, 08:52 PM
Hey, it's an education. Luckily, I decided long ago that standards were burdensome.

No, I'm not saying you can't swing the ephemeral stick with the best of 'em, but it's kind of a lowbrow hijacking of your thread.

Out of my own curiosity, have you ever been inside that building? Does it look pretty jacked up? Is that a recent photo?

RANDY IN INDY
12-12-2006, 08:53 PM
My wifes GS troop went on a field trip to Burger Chef, my friends first job was at the BC.. his first night the manager gave him a salt shaker and told him to kill all the slugs in the parking lot.

http://p.vtourist.com/1314540-Burger_Chef_c_1976-United_States_of_America.jpg

That brings back a lot of memories. There was one on 5th Avenue in Huntington, WV in the late 60's/early 70's that looked a lot like that one. I always loved to go there to get a fish sandwich, fries, and coke.

DoogMinAmo
12-12-2006, 09:00 PM
VP,

That is one sweet looking building, I mean really sweet looking. I cant believe I have not noticed it in my searches for downtown renovation projects. There are a couple I happen to have my eye on as well. Dont be disappointed if you think you have missed out on a great building, there are more downtown that could use some attention. However, the window on doing it affordably is closing, downtown is gaining momentum as a development hot bed. All that it really needs now is a grocery, and it will be a viable neighborhood.

vaticanplum
12-12-2006, 09:06 PM
Out of my own curiosity, have you ever been inside that building? Does it look pretty jacked up? Is that a recent photo?

That photo is from the 2002 CityBeat article, so four years old at least. the building looks pretty awful on the first floor. Standard boarded-up nasty decrepit old building. But the facade appears to be in decent shape, not cracked or crumbling. Tomorrow I will explore more, maybe I'll take my camera and see if I can't find the Burger Chef sign in back now that I know it might be there.

This is all part of my effort to explore the parts of Cincinnati that I never have. I'm not sure but my impression of that part of town is that that block or so is right where it kind of starts to get bad. One block south is Macy's and the Hilton; one block north it's kind of deserted. As I mentioned, Shilito's has been converted to condos so I jump to the perhaps idealistic conclusion that people are trying to rejuvenate the neighborhood, and a building like this just seems to be screaming to be bought and redone. That building would cost a fortune in any number of other cities even in its current condition, just on aesthetics and historical value alone.

vaticanplum
12-12-2006, 09:10 PM
VP,

That is one sweet looking building, I mean really sweet looking. I cant believe I have not noticed it in my searches for downtown renovation projects. There are a couple I happen to have my eye on as well. Dont be disappointed if you think you have missed out on a great building, there are more downtown that could use some attention. However, the window on doing it affordably is closing, downtown is gaining momentum as a development hot bed. All that it really needs now is a grocery, and it will be a viable neighborhood.

I would love to hear more about this actually, or be recommended websites or books to read. I'm in no place to buy real estate and I'm not even sure how long I'm going to be in the city. But it really does fascinate me...I was under the impresson until a few months ago that downtown was just deserted and that suburban flight was still predominant. I'm learning that isn't the case quite so much as I thought. Now if only they could do something about that freaking mudpit next to the ballpark.

vaticanplum
12-12-2006, 09:12 PM
http://thenightwriterblog.powerblogs.com/files/thenightwriterblog-Burger_Chef-small.JPG

I kind of think this might be the single greatest post ever.

MrCinatit
12-12-2006, 09:23 PM
Not to continue the out of control mode of this thread, but I could have sworn I had some Burger Chef baseball cards somewhere in my collection, but a quick glance told me "no."
I will have to take a further look when I get off work in the morning.

EDIT:
Google is your friend. So is eBay...I was right, and I DO have these cards (though not as shown):

http://img143.imageshack.us/img143/3410/27451ev9.jpg

I will scan some tomorrow morning, if anyone is interested.

Another edit. I found a site dedicated to Burger Chef memorbillia (http://www.thebawdycloister.com/reliquary/funmeals/index.html)and memories - and, yes, I do remember having a lot of this stuff when I was a kid.

Falls City Beer
12-12-2006, 09:36 PM
Not to continue the out of control mode of this thread, but I could have sworn I had some Burger Chef baseball cards somewhere in my collection, but a quick glance told me "no."
I will have to take a further look when I get off work in the morning.

EDIT:
Google is your friend. So is eBay...I was right, and I DO have these cards (though not as shown):

http://img143.imageshack.us/img143/3410/27451ev9.jpg

I will scan some tomorrow morning, if anyone is interested.

Definitely scan them. I had those cards when I was like 10-12 years old. I no longer do, so I'd love to see them again.

Freakin' Funmeals. They really were fun, in the way grease is occasionally fun.

DoogMinAmo
12-12-2006, 09:50 PM
I would love to hear more about this actually, or be recommended websites or books to read. I'm in no place to buy real estate and I'm not even sure how long I'm going to be in the city. But it really does fascinate me...I was under the impresson until a few months ago that downtown was just deserted and that suburban flight was still predominant. I'm learning that isn't the case quite so much as I thought. Now if only they could do something about that freaking mudpit next to the ballpark.

I wish I had some definite material to hand over to you, but it is through my education and experience that I have gained my information. If I find anything valuable, I will let you know.

Regarding downtown, it is pretty much underground and grass-roots, but I believe a recent census showing a population gain was the first in something like 20 years. Renovation projects big and small and large scale new construction are popping up everywhere now. The best way to get a deal would be to jump on a fringe area, as you mentioned above. It is near the good area, and has a good chance of being absorbed by the good area as it grows, but is stil cheap due to proximity to the less-nice area.

And the less nice areas are definitely being transformed as well. 3CDC's work in OTR is working wonders for improving the neghborhood, but it still does have a way to go. I dream of this historic area one day being vibrant like San Francisco's Russian Hill.

Regarding the Banks, I realize it may sound like more of the same, but just a little more patience as the selected development team refines the numbers and the agreement gets settled, and that will move fast. Developers rarely like to take their time with anything.

You are not alone, I tend to get excited too when I read about this kind of stuff, if you couldn't tell.

Oh, and great website to check out when exploring properties is the Hamilton County Auditor, http://www.hamiltoncountyauditor.org/
it has pictures of most of the properties in the county, as well as recent property history and value.

vaticanplum
12-12-2006, 10:06 PM
Oh, and great website to check out when exploring properties is the Hamilton County Auditor, http://www.hamiltoncountyauditor.org/
it has pictures of most of the properties in the county, as well as recent property history and value.

I recently spent an entire weekend evening on the Hamilton county auditor site. I'm not kidding.

Thanks for all the info. I agree that the city has a lot of potential...but it almost NEEDS this kind of rebirth to benefit itself on a social level though. which is why I'm baffled as to why there seems to be resistance to it. Money, I suppose. And, like I said, there may not be as much resistance as I thought. And I'm probably being simplistic.

cincinnati chili
12-13-2006, 12:20 AM
Trips to Grandma's house in Indianapolis always were preceded by a stop at the Batesville, Indiana Burger Chef.

I think there was one on Calhoun by Univ. of Cincy.

A lot of the old Burger Chefs became Hardees. There might have been some sort of stock for assets deal.

SandyD
12-13-2006, 01:17 AM
Life's lesson: Back in the 60s (in Baton Rouge, LA), we could get ANYTHING WE WANTED as long as it didn't cost more than 45cents. (plus tax.)

For 45 cents, we could get a cheeseburger, fries, soft drink OR a two hamburgers and a soft drink OR a hamburger and a milk shake. If we wanted any more than that, we'd have to pay for it out of our allowance.

On old buildings: there was a small, boarded up store I so wanted to reopen near where I lived in HS. Little neighborhood store you could walk to without having to cross a busy street. Would have been fun ... except I had a little problem with money and who would work there while I was in school.

Roy Tucker
12-13-2006, 08:28 AM
Spring quarter at OSU, I ran out of money and worked at the campus Burger Chef. Cooked up many a Big Shef and Super Shef.

One night a week was family night and we had one guy who was theatre major that dressed up like a fairy princess for the kids. He was a little too into it if you catch my drift wink-wink nudge-nudge.

I wore my Burger Chef uniform when playing softball for the 17th Ave. Cong Rims. Roy patrolled CF in the day when he still had wheels.

--------------------------

I remember that building vp. I used to work downtown Cinci for 4 years (over by City Hall). If the weather was decent, I'd walk the city streets at lunch. I think I walked evey street south of Central Parkway all the way to the river, I-75 (and a little beyond) west, and over to Mt. Adams. You see a lot of interesting stuff. And a lot of weird stuff.

Heath
12-13-2006, 08:34 AM
The Burger Chef that I remember was in Wilmington, just east of downtown on 22. My dad would scarf down Mushroom and Swiss Burgers like he was a man possesed.

I had at least, at LEAST 15-20 of the Burger Chef cards. They're gone.

My family was more of a "Frisch's" than Burger Chef. Even though we weren't the richest people in town, we always paid the extra to be served.

Ltlabner
12-13-2006, 08:40 AM
Actually my first offical job ever was at a Harrdees resturant. It was Burger Chef before then and I have many of the same childhood memories as you do. The best ever was a kids meal contraption that ended up being a big sailing boat. Even had a plastic hull and keel so you plop it in the bathtub.

There are a few Hardees resturants around. Actually, I kind of like their food. It used to be horrible, but now they make these "thick burgers" that are actual hamburgers (read: not paper thin patties) and their fries are decent too. I'm a fan of a mushroom and swiss myself.

PS: THANKS TO WOY FOR THE NEW AVITAR

PPS: Oh yea, nice building VP. :p:

MrCinatit
12-13-2006, 10:27 AM
I spoke before actually looking.
The disks I own are NOT of the Burger Chef order, but of Holiday Inn. However, they contain the exact same pictures as the BC discs...just with a different company icon. Sorry, FCB
Nonetheless, I did scan them.
Up first, we have your Cincinnati Reds, past and present at the time:

http://img246.imageshack.us/img246/9441/diskoneyl7.jpg

And, a collection of HOFers:

http://img246.imageshack.us/img246/3203/disk2fe4.jpg.

Finally, as a "sorry we have hijacked your thread" to VP, I have found a link of potential interest that may or may not have already been gone over:

A 2002 article in a column called "blight of the week (http://www.citybeat.com/2002-11-21/blight.shtml)".

Heath
12-13-2006, 11:08 AM
I spoke before actually looking.
The disks I own are NOT of the Burger Chef order, but of Holiday Inn. However, they contain the exact same pictures as the BC discs...just with a different company icon. Sorry, FCB
Nonetheless, I did scan them.
Up first, we have your Cincinnati Reds, past and present at the time:

http://img246.imageshack.us/img246/9441/diskoneyl7.jpg

And, a collection of HOFers:

http://img246.imageshack.us/img246/3203/disk2fe4.jpg.



I love it when the MLBPA stuck their own deals without MLB approval and they had to airbrush the logos from the hats. As a kid, I'd a pencil or marker and try to "draw" the logos' on the hats.

Marvin Miller would be proud.

Nice cards Mr.Cinatit.

westofyou
12-13-2006, 11:14 AM
I love it when the MLBPA stuck their own deals without MLB approval and they had to airbrush the logos from the hats.

Coke bottle lids were the first IIRC

Johnny Footstool
12-13-2006, 11:24 AM
I spoke before actually looking.
The disks I own are NOT of the Burger Chef order, but of Holiday Inn. However, they contain the exact same pictures as the BC discs...just with a different company icon. Sorry, FCB
Nonetheless, I did scan them.
Up first, we have your Cincinnati Reds, past and present at the time:

And, a collection of HOFers:



FYI, those black and white photos appear to be MLBPA "stock" shots sold for advertising purposes. I have RC cans with those exact same photos of Foster and Bench.

westofyou
12-13-2006, 11:25 AM
FYI, those black and white photos appear to be MLBPA "stock" shots sold for advertising purposes. I have RC cans with those exact same photos of Foster and Bench.

Not only advertising, they are the head shots used in the TSN Baseball Register.

registerthis
12-13-2006, 11:36 AM
VP-

I don't know if the building you're wondering about is listed here, but I've found Emporis to be a great website for information on buildings and skyscrapers. They have a database on every major city in the world. The link to all o fthe bulding listings for Cincinnati is below, perhaps if you scroll through you'll find the building you're wondering about. Hope this is helpful!

http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/ci/bu/sk/li/?id=101314&bt=2&ht=2&sro=1

Roy Tucker
12-13-2006, 11:53 AM
Backside of the building found at http://www.roadfood.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=479&whichpage=29

EDIT: Found with a Google search of "632 race" "cincinnati". Looks like there are some bizjournal references to the property.

http://www.roadfood.com/insider/photos/298.jpg

Heath
12-13-2006, 12:10 PM
Not only advertising, they are the head shots used in the TSN Baseball Register.

I have a 10x14 Black and White Poster of the 1976 Reds and the photos look eeriely familiar with those above.

DoogMinAmo
12-13-2006, 01:29 PM
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061213/NEWS01/312130015

Enquirer article on 2 upscale condo towers proposed next to the purple people bridge on the Cincy side. VP, you are running out of time!!!!

vaticanplum
12-13-2006, 01:53 PM
OMG I just got a tour. Will report back with photos after work.

PS This refers to the building, not a burger establishment.

PPS I loathe anything involving the blocking of river views. Bah!

vaticanplum
12-13-2006, 11:12 PM
First of all, thank you everybody for the architectural-related information provided on this thread. I have much internets surfing to do. Thanks for all of the Burger Chef crap too (very entertaining, really). The one thing for which I'm still really at a loss is anything regarding the Lyric Piano Company itself. The only thing I was able to turn up was an outdated ebay listing for a Lyric piano in the Phillipines, and nobody I've asked seems to remember it. This is going to involve a trip to the library, I think.

So today I walked over the the building to take a couple of pictures (not many, since I am, as I believe I have mentioned, Earth's worst photographer). I tried to study the front a little more closely. Believe it or not, it looks to be in very good shape. It's brick, it's holding up well, it's not even very dirty. That facade is indeed marble, it isn't cracked and in the sunlight it is almost gleamy. The windows are unbelievably gorgeous, entirely intact and seemingly all old, and there are flowers in the flower boxes. When I crossed the street to take a picture from a distance, I noticed that a window was open and there was a worklight on in one of the rooms. i mentioned this earlier, but for anyone who missed it, I found on the auditor's site that Burger Chef sold the building to Hardee's in 2005 (a legal name thing I assume, since the companies seems to be one and the same and the restaurant was long closed by 2005, though that 99-year lease was still in effect), and Hardee's sold the building to a couple in October for $150,000. With the recent purchase, the worklight and the flowers all there despite the fact that nobody's inhabited the building for years, clearly someone's doing something here.

http://static.flickr.com/134/321793836_26afb4f49f.jpg
(I can send anybody a bigger picture of this if you like, because the detail is amazing)

http://static.flickr.com/140/321793841_e64fa596a4.jpg

Then I walked to the back to investigate and see whether the beloved Burger Chef sign is still painted back there. As you can see there is an alleyway running right alongside the building. Behind the building there is a little lot, and behind that, a parking garage, so there's actually a little bustle of activity back there. The first thing I see on my way back is this funny little looking thing that, in my vision of my sound studio/baseball card shop life, is referred to as the "henhouse". I wish I had taken a picture of it in context because it just looks like a little house thing with a roof stuck right in the middle of the wall just behind the facade on the side of the building. It's hard to explain. But awesome. Makes me think the building was added onto at some point, of course, and the henhouse was left there, although I'm baffled given the fact that the facade takes up most of the width of the front of the building. There are also, appropo of nothing, painted awnings above some of the windows, because, you know, awnings were developed for aesthetic purposes only. What is it with Cincinnati and painted buildings? The stairway-and-statue building, the gorilla building. Awes.

http://static.flickr.com/129/321793851_d623725f9f.jpg

http://static.flickr.com/133/321793845_e6a39e55e7.jpg

And then I got to the back, and what do you know: there at the back door is a van with a workman standing by it. So I started talking to him. he was supernice and answered all my questions and let me take pictures. He said that the man who bought it is turning it into apartments on the top two floors (and I didn't pay attention to whether he said "apartments on the top two floors" or "TWO apartments on the top floors", which is bugging me because I'm curious; those top two floors could easily hold more than one apiece). The guy who bought the building is going to live in one of them. The second floor is to be office space, and he hasn't decided what to do with the first floor yet (cough sound studio baseball card shop cough). And I was a little excited when I made my last post; I did not actually get a tour. But I think I could...the reason he didn't let me go in very far today was because they were taking down part of the ceiling just inside the back doorway. "It's going to be a garage..." he told me, and then gave me A Look: "...for his Porsche." :laugh: He said some other things too. I tell you though, the Guy is smart; not all buildings downtown have driveable pavement right behind them, but this one happens to because of the parking garage back there, so Guy can drive straight up to his house, park in his garage, and never pay for parking.

http://static.flickr.com/135/321793850_0a5065fb12.jpg

Since i knew from the auditor's site that the building was sold for only $150,000, and that CityBeat article made it sound like the whole building was falling down, I was very surprised at his answer when I asked what kind of shape the building's in. He said it's in very good shape, structurally sound, good wood floors and all that. He doesn't know how soon it's going to be ready but that's only because there's some indecision about choices and all that. $150,000 for a building that beautiful and it's in good shape. Man, we all missed the boat on that one.

However, the man standing in front of the building next door did offer to sell it to me for the bargain-basement price of $3 million. He also offered me a diamond ring, though, so I take it with a grain of salt.

And so finally, just for you guys, the coup de grace, the moment you've all been waiting for and all those cliches:

http://static.flickr.com/139/321793848_2217f6c571.jpg

But you'd better all get your little tails over there fast or I suspect there will be nothing to see but the wrong side of a Porsche house.

Yachtzee
12-14-2006, 12:42 AM
Thanks for the write-up, vp. Burger Chef jokes aside, you've got me interested in the goings-on of the Lyric Piano Building. Part of me hopes the new owner keeps the Burger Chef art. When I visited Berlin in the mid-90s, they had this cool club called "Obst und Gemuese" (Fruits and Vegetables) in the former East Berlin. It got its name because the building used to be a produce market and the folks who turned it into a club decided to keep the old sign out front.

As far as the Lyric Piano Company itself goes, acccording to this website and Northern Illinois University (http://www.niulib.niu.edu/reghist/RC%20169.htm), it looks like a Lyric Piano Co. was in existence at least from 1909-1937, dissolving in 1937 (look at the listing for Box 1, Roll 2 of Wurlitzer Co. Records Microfilms in the collection inventory). Without looking at the microfilms (or the original documents supposedly donated to the Smithsonian), we can't be sure if it's the Lyric Piano Co. you are looking for. That's the best I got.

remdog
12-14-2006, 02:03 AM
That was a very cool report VP. I really enjoyed it.

It doesn't really relate to the particular building in question but, as I recall, there used to be a walking tour of historic buildings in DT Cincinnati. Seems to me you could pick up a tape and walk it yourself with descriptions and history of the buildings.

Rem

Cyclone792
12-14-2006, 02:16 AM
VP's quest to figure out what in the world her new favorite building was/is got me interested to find out where it's located and how far away it is to some historic baseball locations, namely the site of some of the infamous Black Sox Scandal happenings during the 1919 World Series, which is the same year that VP's new favorite building was actually built.

Here's a very close-up street map of downtown with a key below. The locations of each marker may not be pinned down precisely accurate on the map, but it should be close ...

http://img179.imageshack.us/img179/6191/blacksoxoq2.jpg

KEY

A = vaticanplum's new favorite building.
B = old site of the Sinton Hotel, which is where the White Sox and many of the gamblers stayed during the series.
C = Jimmy Widmeyer's newsstand. Widmeyer caught vibes of the fix from hanging around at the Sinton and told what he knew to Reds Hall of Fame center fielder Edd Roush.
D = Shevlin's Oyster ... Abe Attell hung out here. Attell was a featherweight world champion boxer, and he was a principal in the fix connected to Arnold Rothstein.
E = Hotel Metropole ... Reds players hung out here during that time period, and it was outside this hotel that Widmeyer told Roush what he knew of the fix.

As you can see from the map above, VP's new favorite building is maybe two to four blocks away from all that baseball history. Heck, maybe some Reds players from that era, perhaps that 1919 team, actually bought a piano from the Lyric Piano Company. Who knows, it could have happened.

Other than Redland Field, the Sinton Hotel is where most of the activity took place during the scandal. The White Sox stayed there, many of the gamblers stayed there (Attell stayed in room #708), many of the meetings between gamblers, players, and both players and gamblers took place there. After a Game One Reds victory, White Sox manager Kid Gleason tried taking an early evening walk and was heckled by Reds fans on the sidewalk outside the Sinton Hotel.

Here's an old picture of the old Sinton Hotel on 4th and Vine ...

http://www.hellocincinnati.com/Images/Buildings/5262006Sinton_Hotel_1910.jpg

If I'd had been around in 1919, that would have been the place where I'd have been loud and obnoxious during the nights the White Sox were in town in an effort to keep them awake at night.

Below is the brilliant John Erardi article in the Enquirer from this past summer where he took Reds fans on a tour of downtown to all those above places.


White Sox, meet your ghosts
As the Chicago White Sox hit Cincinnati, some unforgettable history is recalled
BY JOHN ERARDI | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Attention, Chicago White Sox players: When you walk or ride the five blocks to the ballpark today from your hotel at Fifth and Vine, don't peek into any back alleys.

The ghosts of Eddie Cicotte, Lefty Williams, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and the other White Sox players involved in throwing the 1919 World Series might be staring back at you.

If ever a city and a time could haunt a dead ballplayer's afterlife, it would be 1919 Cincinnati.

Today marks the third time the White Sox have visited Cincinnati since 1919. But some recent developments - including a new book about that Series written by Reds star Edd Roush's granddaughter, and a 1919 exhibit at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum - make this weekend's visit by the progeny of Shoeless Joe particularly poignant.

And it got us to thinking ...

How full of 1919 spirits might Cincinnati be?

Full enough that you, the 2005 world champions, might feel as though you're walking through a Stephen King novel as you pass between the Westin Hotel and Great American Ball Park.

There used to be an old hotel on the spot where you are staying.

One of the greatest pitchers of all time boarded here when he was the Reds' manager.

It says so in the 1917 city directory: "Mathewson Christy playing mgr Cincinnati Baseball Club rm 24, 7 E. 5th bds Hotel Alms."

It is Mathewson who blew the whistle on two of his Reds players, Hal Chase and Lee Magee, for allegedly throwing games in 1918. Baseball swept it under the rug for two years.

Experts say that had Baseball listened to Mathewson and suspended Chase and Magee, there might never have been a Black Sox scandal.

Take that, visitors from ChiTown.

It is all right here.

The street grid of Cincinnati from 1919 hardly has changed.

MONEY UNDER THE PILLOW

Are you walking uptown after the game tonight to get a steak, Chisox players?

May we suggest a route?

Turn left out of the players' gate, then make a quick left onto Second Street, go three blocks to Vine, turn right and go two blocks north to Fourth Street.

On the southeast corner of Fourth and Vine is the National City Building.

Used to be the Sinton Hotel.

The old site of the Sinton is within full view of the lights of Great American Ball Park.

The Sinton is where, in effect, eight ballplayers' careers came to an end. The plot to throw the World Series already had been hatched by the time the 1919 White Sox arrived on the morning of Monday, Sept. 30, the day before the opening of the World Series.

But it was underneath a pillow in Room 710 that the road to hell officially began.

That's where White Sox Game 1 starter Eddie Cicotte found the $10,000 he'd been promised by gamblers.

He spent part of the night sewing the $1,000 bills into his suit jacket.

In the lobby of the Sinton, and all across town, there were men waving $1,000 bills in the lobbies. Many were trying to stir up bets on the White Sox. Most of the well-connected gamblers knew the fix was in.

There were meetings among the gamblers and White Sox players at speakeasies (Prohibition was on), meetings in their rooms, meetings in back alleys and confrontations of players by managers.

There were drunken fans stumbling through the lobby of the Sinton after Game 2, repeating a song they'd heard famous baseball writer Ring Lardner sing in a Bellevue roadhouse that night. The song was sung to the same melody as "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles."

The new words: "I'm forever blowing ballgames."

Lardner sang it again to the White Sox players on the train from Cincinnati to Chicago for Game 3.

ON TO THE METROPOLE

Keep traveling north up Vine, past your hotel at Fifth Street, Chisox.

Look to the right, one block east, and see, on the southeast corner of Fifth and Walnut, a place called "Fountain News."

This is where Jimmy Widmeyer's newsstand used to be.

The 38-year-old fight promoter and hustler was a conduit of inside information for Cincinnati's gamblers about the World Series fix. His room at the Sinton was 712, right next to Cicotte's. Widmeyer eavesdropped on the Black Sox.

Continue north on Vine, then turn right on Sixth, and walk past Rock Bottom Brewery.

This is where Shevlin's Oyster and Chop House used to be, where the fight and horse crowd loved to hang out with owner Jimmy Shevlin, the gregarious son of Irish immigrants. Abe Attell, the former world featherweight champion connected to Arnold Rothstein from New York City - both principals in the fix - hung out here.

Now turn left up Walnut.

You are only a block from your $48.95 bone-in filet mignon at Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse, Chisox.

You will see the bright lights of the Aronoff Center for the Arts.

Look to the left.

It is 1919 now.

You are out front of the Metropole Apartments, formerly the Hotel Metropole.

The façade looks exactly as it did in photographs from 1919.

Sure, the inside of the Metropole has gotten a bit long in the tooth since 1919.

But this was one swank joint in 1919. Says so in that same directory where we found Christy Mathewson's name.

"Finest Turkish bath in the state. Rates $1 to $2.50. 'A Home for the Man Away from Home.' 609 to 617 Walnut. Phone Canal 5100."

But the Turkish bath isn't where you're going.

'THE FIX' GETS OUT

Out front of the Metropole is where then-Reds star Edd Roush first learned - on the evening of Oct. 2, 1919, just after the Reds had beaten the White Sox 4-2 for a second straight World Series victory - about "The Fix."

Listen to Roush's words:

"And that night we all hung out at the Metropole Hotel ... We'd congregate there and then we'd get cabs to go down to the station and this fella came over to me and says, 'Roush, come over here. I want to tell you something.' "

This friend was Widmeyer, who had walked the block up to the Metropole, from his newsstand at Fifth and Walnut.

" 'Did you hear about the squabble the White Sox got into last night (at the Sinton Hotel)?' " Widmeyer asked Roush.

"I said, 'No. What kind of squabble?' He said, 'Well, the gamblers got to them and they're throwing the Series to the Cincinnati ball club.'

"He said, 'They were supposed to get so much money last night after the ballgame and the gamblers didn't give it to them and they had a meeting up in (Eddie) Cicotte's room.' And he said (White Sox manager) Kid Gleason found out about it.

"He said he (Gleason) went up there and they had a helluva go-around and he said they didn't get their money so they decided to go out and win if they could."

BANNED FOR LIFE

Roush told author Lawrence Ritter this story in the mid-1960s during an interview for Ritter's book, "The Glory of Their Times."

The audio tape of that interview is part of the exhibit at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.

Roush died in 1988 at age 94. He went to his grave swearing that if the White Sox threw any games to the Reds, that it was only Game 1. The evidence says otherwise.

There is no doubt that even if the other White Sox were trying to win it, White Sox starter Lefty Williams intentionally lost Game 8 (the final game).

Before the game, Williams was threatened with his and his wife's lives by a thug sent by the gamblers. He gave up five first- inning runs and the Reds went on to win 10-5.

Williams also probably threw Game 2, and there isn't much doubt that Cicotte threw Game 1.

They and six other Black Sox were banned from Baseball for life. Among the banned players were left fielder "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and third baseman Buck Weaver.

The man who banned them was commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who attended the 1919 World Series in Cincinnati. He was a federal judge at the time. He was born and raised in Millville, 30 miles north of downtown Cincinnati.

There is no evidence Weaver ever did anything but his best. And current wisdom (see "Burying the Black Sox") is that Jackson might have done the same.

But, yes, Shoeless Joe did know about the fix. He didn't turn in his teammates.

A LINGERING SONG

Pull back from downtown and look at the bigger picture.

Susan Dellinger can see it. Roush's granddaughter has written a new book about the 1919 Series called "Red Legs and Black Sox."

In a chapter edited out of the book, Dellinger describes Roush's route to the park from his home at 2945 Gilbert Ave.

"Soon it was time for Edd to leave for the ballpark. Redland Field was about 3 miles due west from the Gilbert apartments," Dellinger writes. "He'd catch the trolley that went straight down Liberty Street and then he'd walk the three blocks up Dalton and enter the park through the west gate.

"The 'west end' of Cincinnati had always been the poor side of town. ... There were some rough little neighborhoods within walking distance of the field. That was no problem ... because there were no night games and even afternoon double-headers were usually over by 4:30."

And after those games, many of the Reds walked the six blocks to Foss-Schneider Brewery on Freeman Avenue and drank ice-cold draft beer in the cellar and sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

Can you hear it?

As for the Black Sox, they were singing a different tune.

It's still out there, too.

CrackerJack
12-14-2006, 12:03 PM
I loved Burger Chef as a kid in the 70's.