Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Ohio Moments


Music Hall dedicated 125 years ago

On April 8, 1878, Cincinnati Music Hall was formally dedicated with the mayor and governor in attendance.

Several bands played and marched up Elm Street to celebrate the event. Construction had begun only a year before and, while it was not yet completed - a north and south wing would be added the following year - it was ready to host the third May Festival on May 14.

Designed by Samuel Hannaford and Edwin Procter, the grandiose Victorian/Gothic confection was a jewel in the crown of the Queen City during her glory days.

Cincinnati was the first American city to gain a reputation as an exhibition town. The Annual Fair of the Ohio Mechanics Institute - the first exposition in the country - was held in the city in 1838. The city also was known for the German singing societies that dotted its neighborhoods.

In 1875, Cincinnatian Reuben R. Springer proposed a hall for music festivals and exhibitions to be built on city property but subsidized by private subscription. In addition to the May Festival - the country's oldest music festival - Music Hall has hosted many historic events.

The Technical School of Cincinnati, predecessor to the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering, was founded at Music Hall in 1886 and called it home until 1901. Over the years Music Hall has been the venue for home shows, air shows, automobile shows, basketball games, tennis and wrestling matches, balls and conventions.

- Rebecca Goodman

Contact Rebecca Goodman at rgoodman@enquirer.com or 768-8361.

Related: Readers share favorite Music Hall moments




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