Hoffman School threatened with demolition


On August 1st, 2023 Cincinnati City Council voted 5 to 4 not to approve CPA’s application for the historic landmark designation of the former Hoffman School located at 3060 Durrell Ave.

Thank you to everyone who took action, volunteering time, energy and resources trying to landmark this architecturally significant and culturally important site of Black History in Evanston.

Thank you to the residents of Evanston, Walnut Hills, East Walnut Hills and the community at large who rallied to have their voices heard so they could have a say in what their own community looks and feels like.

Thank you to the following council members who voted in support of the community’s voice and for historic designation at this meeting: Vice-Mayor Jan-Michele Kearney, Meeka Owens, Mark Jeffreys and Equitable Growth and Zoning committee chair Jeff Cramerding.

Together, your advocacy of our city’s historic structures helps to further educate and stand up for the many benefits historic preservation provides our residents including affordable housing, environmental sustainability, cultural heritage and architectural importance.

Your activism in saving places that matter also makes Cincinnati an attractive and distinct place to live, work, play and stay which contributes to our local economy as well as contributing to the shared past, present and future story of what it means to be in the Queen City.

CPA remains steadfast in our mission, and we are eager to share our strategic plan later in the year that outlines new, proactive approaches toward saving sites and structures in collaboration and partnership with all our neighborhoods in Greater Cincinnati.


Hoffman School
The Evanston Community is facing an attack on their history and their collective community identity. TA developer is planning to demolish the Hoffman School building located at 3060 Durrell Avenue and replace it with a 155 unit multi-family new construction complex rather than reusing the school for new housing, a reuse that has happened with almost a dozen other former schools in the region. Please refer to the end of this post for information on how to get involved in preventing the demolition. The Hoffman  School was built in 1922 and is a Jacobethan Revival design by the city’s most prominent architectural legacy, Hannaford and Sons. This was the firm that brought us icons like Music Hall, City Hall, and the Cincinnati Observatory. This was the firm that changed the landscape of Cincinnati. The building, while breathtakingly beautiful, is not just significant for its architecture, it is also representative of the Progressive Era Design for schools: with schools taking on a more holistic approach to the welfare of the students through physical education, access to light and air, and providing school lunches.

Further, the building has been a central nexus for the larger community for over 100 years. This is the school where the neighborhood children went to a Cincinnati public school until it closed in 2012. Since then, it has continued to operate in various community capacities, most recently as a non-profit school and church. The Evanston community is a diverse neighborhood with a rich history, especially associated with the Black experience. Hoffman School’s population, over its life, has reflected the demographics of the community. The demolition of the school will erase a site associated with the history of Cincinnati’s Black community.

Original detailed iron stair railing in Hoffman School.

Cincinnati Preservation Association works with the Cincinnati community and developers to find creative reuses for our historic buildings. We want to work by partnering with neighborhoods to identify and protect the buildings, that if lost, would irrevocably change the fabric of the neighborhood. With early identification of significant buildings, developers won’t be surprised when demolition is met with community opposition.

Luckily Hoffman School has already been identified numerous times as a building that is significant.

  • February 16, 2023 – Evanston community council voted against the demolition of Hoffman School
  • 2019 – The Evanston Work Plan specifically listed the Hoffman School as an important site where Historic Landmark Status should be considered
  • 2019 -National Register Questionnaire response from the State Historic Preservation Offices determined it was eligible for the National Register
  • 1998 – Cincinnati Public Schools Historic Inventory list it as eligible for the National Register
  • 1978 – Cincinnati Historic Resource Survey list is as a property that greatly contributes to the historic and/or architectural quality of the City of Cincinnati.
  • 1977 – Ohio Historic Inventory Form list it is as National Register Eligible

So, why wasn’t historic landmark designation sought before this. Unfortunately, this is often how the story goes in preservation and it is why, going forward, we need to continue to support neighborhood and city-wide efforts to identify the historic and cultural resources that matter in each neighborhood. Cincinnati Preservation Association needs your support so we can continue to offer the ability to help write historic designations for Evanston and our other neighborhoods. These historic designations will protect our historic buildings from demolition. 


We are asking you to support the historic landmark designation of Hoffman School and Site by writing letters to the City in support of the designation and by coming to public meetings and hearings to verbally show your support.

UPDATE: The Historic Conservation Board voted unanimously to recommend approval of the historic designation for the Hoffman School and Site on May 8th, 2023  

UPDATE: The City Planning Commission voted 6-1 to recommend denial of the historic designation for the Hoffman School and Site on June 2nd, 2023. 

As a result of the Planning Commission’s recommended denial. A super majority at City Council (6 out of the 9 council members) will need to vote for the Historic Landmark Designation on Tuesday August 1, 2023 at 1:00 pm– Equitable Housing and Growth Committee of City Council at City Hall Chambers on the on the 3rd floor of City Hall, 801 Plum Street. Attend in person or and via Zoom. 

Finally, please consider giving to Cincinnati Preservation Association so we can continue to support our neighborhoods as they work to save our shared resources. It’s our collective history, culture and places that make each of our neighborhoods unique and special for visitors and residents alike.


Media Inquiries
Contact Lindsey Armor 513.246.2043

Women’s Role in Historic Preservation

Since the mid-nineteenth century, women have been an important part of the historic preservation movement in the United States. As individuals and groups, as amateurs and professionals, women have worked to protect the country’s historic properties. Most credit the foundation of America’s preservation movement to Ann Pamela Cunningham who was appalled at the state of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Starting in 1853, she began advocating for its preservation. Through a campaign answered by women from across the country the Mt. Version Ladies Association was born and paved the way to the preservation of Washington’s home.

Mount Vernon Ladies Association provided by

However, before Cunningham, women were integral in many other instances of grassroots efforts for saving buildings, documenting history or creating memorials. Notably the creation of a monument in the 1820s for the Battle of Bunker Hill was championed by Sarah Josepha Hale through organized fundraising events. Even before Hale, cultural preservation in both African American and Native American traditions of storytelling has primarily been the role of women. Amachee Ochinee Prowers was an example of a Native cultural mediator who helped to preserve the cultural heritage of her people in what is now the state of Colorado. Mary B. Talbert is just one example of the many African American women who have been integral in the preservation of African American heritage and worked to champion black history as a part of our collective American history.

Mary Burnett Talbert portrait taken in 1916 and featured in the Champion Magazine.

In the 1920’s, Susan Pringle Frost, founded the first community based historic preservation organization, first known Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings which is now known as Preservation Society of Charleston. This organization was instrumental in persuading the City of Charleston to establish the first local zoning ordinance to protect historic resources.

At the Federal Level there were several individual acts dating back to the 1906 Antiquities Act that established focused avenues of preservation; however, in 1966 the establishment of the National Historic Preservation Act was established. This act was a national network and standard of preservation that created professional jobs at both the federal and state level to administer historic preservation initiatives nationwide. One of the early professional preservationists was Nancy Schamu who worked for the Maryland Historical Trust starting in 1969 and is considered a leader in the modern preservation movement.

Women of Miami Purchase Association at Fort Miami Dig Site.
Women of Miami Purchase Association at Fort Miami dig site.

Locally here in Cincinnati, our preservation foundations were also thanks to three civic-minded women. In 1964, Elizabeth Hobson, Martha Phyllis Rowe, and Margo Tytus founded the Miami Purchase Association with an initial focused on saving Fort Miami and quickly expanded to saving historic buildings. Miami Purchase Association, later renamed Cincinnati Preservation Association, was integral to establishing local historic districts and formal government preservation in Cincinnati.

Throughout the history of the preservation movement women have been integral locally and across the nation. Historic preservation is about more than saving windows in an old house or repairing a plaster molding; it’s about preserving any and all aspects of the history of a culture, where possible. Making sure that we honor the contribution of women to our history as well as to saving our history is one way for us to celebrate Women’s History Month.

CPA female-led staff seen at a renovation site in Covington, KY in 2022.
Shannon M. Tubb, Margo Warminski, Lindsey Armor and Beth Johnson

Local Women in Leadership Today

Greater Cincinnati can boast about a large number of female led cultural heritage institutions housed in historic buildings! CPA is proud to be among the many organizations who value preservation in their missions and currently have women at the helm. See some of them listed below:

Friends of Music Hall | Executive Director Mindy Rosen

American Sign Museum | Director Cynthia Kearns

Behringer-Crawford Museum | Executive Director Laurie Risch

Cincinnati Memorial Hall Society | Executive Director of the Cincinnati Memorial Hall Society and Longworth-Anderson Series Cori Wolff

Cincinnati Museum Center | President & CEO Elizabeth Pierce

Cincinnati Observatory | Executive Director Anna Hehman

Cincinnati Preservation Association | Executive Director Beth Johnson

Findlay Market | CEO Cordelia Heaney

Harriet Beecher Stowe House | Executive Director Christina Hartlieb

Over-the-Rhine Museum | Director of Museum Administration Donna Harris

Skirball Museum Cincinnati | Director Abby Schwartz

Taft Museum of Art | Louise Taft Semple President and CEO Rebekah Beaulieu

Greater Milford Area Historical Society | Executive Director Maria J. Keri

Statement on House Bill 45 from CPA Executive Director, Beth Johnson

Click here for information on how to contact your state elected officials about your concerns on House Bill 45 and sample language for your communication

On Friday January 6th Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed budget legislation containing two provisions that both historic preservation and affordable housing advocates urged him to veto. One provision of House Bill 45 prevents property owners from pairing federal low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) with state historic tax credits (HTCs) for the preservation and rehabilitation of historic buildings. This new law prevents future projects from combining those incentives and also applies to properties in development but not placed in service.

Another provision allows county auditors to assess the value of affordable housing properties based on the market rate, rather than their income-based rent ceilings–a change that is expected to lead to higher property tax bills for those properties that can’t afford the added expense. This could potentially cause existing affordable housing projects to be converted to market rate causing residents to be displaced and historic buildings to become vacant.

The above 2 provisions will put Ohio’s affordable and workforce properties at risk: both of being created, and from being able to continue operation. This will reduce availability and exacerbate the severe shortage that Cincinnati already faces. Cincinnati has been a tremendous example of of the positive impact of  using Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Historic Tax Credit together. Both are vital tools to transforming communities and retaining an economically diverse population within changing neighborhoods. Using these tools together are key for equitable development and healthy communities. These are essential tools for Cincinnati to address the dire need for  quality affordable housing for our citizens, while saving and using  Cincinnati’s historic buildings as sustainable and attractive places for affordable housing.

The passing of House Bill 45 prevents this from happening and is an assault on Cincinnati and other communities that leverage their historic buildings for holistic community development. CPA will be working with our partners locally and statewide, as well as the City of Cincinnati, to advocate for  state policy and legislative changes that are vital for Cincinnati to continue to do equitable historic preservation development reusing our historic buildings.

We encourage all of our historic preservation advocates, partners, and members to contact your state elected officials to express your concerns regarding these provisions and to encourage legislation to reverse them.

Language that you can use in your communications is below.  Thank you for being an advocate for historic preservation and affordable housing in your community

“My name is (your first and last name) and I am a (advocate/community member/resident) who resides in your district.

We oppose the provisions in HB 45 that disqualify the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties from Historic Tax Credit eligibility and allow auditors to assess the value of affordable housing based on market rate rather than income-based rent ceilings. These provisions will have a detrimental impact on the redevelopment of vacant historic buildings and continued operation of existing affordable housing in historic buildings within Cincinnati, Hamilton County and our region. We encourage you to provide new legislation and policy that will reverse these provisions.”

To contact Governor Mike DeWine
Governor’s Hotline: (614) 644-4357
Office of the Governor, Mike DeWine
77 S. High Street – 30th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Find your Senate and House district 

To contact Senator Catherine D. Ingram- Senate District 9
Phone: (614) 466-5980
Senate Building
1 Capitol Square
Ground Floor-056
Columbus, Ohio 43215

To contact Senator Louis W Blessing III- Senate District 8
Phone: (614) 466-8068
Senate Building
1 Capitol Square
Ground Floor-041
Columbus, Ohio 43215

To contact Senator Steve Wilson- Senate District 7
Phone: (614) 466-9737
Senate Building
1 Capitol Square
1st Floor- 124
Columbus, Ohio 43215

To contact Representative Dani Issacsohn- House District 24
Phone: (614) 466-5786
77 S. High St
10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

To contact Representative Cecil Thomas- House District 25
Phone: (614) 466-1645
77 S. High St
10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

To contact Representative Sedrick Denson- House District 26
Phone: (614) 466-1308
77 South High Street
10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

To contact Representative Rachel Baker- House District 27
Phone: (614) 644-6886
77 S. High St
10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

To contact Representative Jessica Miranda- House District 28
Phone: (614) 466-8120
77 South High Street
14th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

To contact Representative Cindy Abrams- House District 29
Phone: (614) 466-9091
77 South High Street
13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

To contact Representative Bill Seitz- House District 30
Phone: (614) 466-8258
77 South High Street
13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

Swifton Center to Artisan Village: The Past and Future of Cincinnati Malls Lecture on October 22nd

Ohio’s first auto-oriented (strip) mall, Greenhills Center, was built in 1938 as part of the federal government’s New Deal greenbelt towns project. In 1951, work began on the city’s first modern-style shopping mall, the open air Swifton Center in Bond Hill. The region’s first enclosed shopping center, Kenwood Mall, was built in 1966. Two years later, an open-air mall previously built in 1960 in Springdale was enclosed to create Tri-County Mall. The fascinating stories of these community destinations continue to evolve today.

We will discuss the history and context of 20th century suburban development and commerce in Cincinnati and the need to preserve the cultural importance of these uniquely modern social gathering places. And we will hear about exciting plans for the adaptive use and reinvention of shopping malls as sustainable communities of the future.


  • Beth Johnson, Executive Director of Cincinnati Preservation Association
  • David G. Wallace, CEO of DGW Consultants

Saturday October 22, 2022 at Cohatch Kenwood, 7875 Montgomery Rd Suite 42, Cincinnati, OH 45236

  • 10:00am – Refreshments
  • 10:30am – Presentations
  • 11:45am – Q&A

Presented by Cincinnati Form Follows Function (CF3) in collaboration with Cincinnati Preservation Association (CPA) and with support from COhatch Kenwood, AIA Cincinnati and APA Cincinnati.

Advance registration required

Free and open to the public

For more information, contact CF3 at

This event is part of Docomomo US Tour Day 2022

CPA welcomes Lindsey Armor as Engagement and Development Director

Cincinnati Preservation Association is pleased to welcome Lindsey Armor  as the new CPA Engagement and Development Director. Armor joins CPA from the Cincinnati Waldorf School where she worked for as the Development Director.

“I am thrilled to join CPA as Engagement and Development Director, and I greatly look forward to getting to know and learning from all the members, donors, and volunteers who have built an incredibly valuable organization! Cincinnati is lucky to have such a cherished legacy for preservation, and I am eager to contribute and build on the incredible foundation that’s been laid.”

Lindsey has been dedicated to community building and placemaking in Cincinnati since 2003. Her career began in the art community serving both large scale and grassroots organizations where she focused on bringing creatives and audiences together in meaningful and memorable ways. With a BFA in Theatre & Dance from NKU, she is the co-founder of Pones Inc, a non-profit performance art collective dedicated to art for social change. After retiring from performance, Lindsey studied yoga, mediation, and integrative nutrition and soon began organizing accessible opportunities for communities to connect through health and mindfulness. She is also the co-founder of SPARK, which provides technology free experiences for human connection, and most recently, she served as Development Director at Cincinnati Waldorf School.

While new to the preservation community, Lindsey understands historic homes as she currently lives in an 84 year old home in Cincinnati.

Executive Director, Beth Johnson, stated “Lindsey has been a one woman show doing event planning, development, and communications at the Waldorf School and CPA is excited to have her level of expertise and talent joining our team.”

When not working, Lindsey enjoys camping, dancing, and cooking with her family. 

Preservation in the Park

Join Cincinnati Preservation Association at the Porch in Washington Park to hear about the stories that the historic buildings of Cincinnati tell in our new series called Preservation in the Park.

Grab a drink from the bar, sit back and let us tell you a story. 

First Tuesday of the month at 7pm on the Porch at 1230 Elm Street 

à     August 2, 2022- “The Little Theater That Saved Memorial Hall” by William Bauman

à     September 6, 2022- “Cincinnati Music Hall: Why Details Matter” by Thea Tjepkema

à     October 4, 2022- “Findlay Market: 170 Years” by Corporation for Findlay Market


             Presented by Cincinnati Preservation Association

              Sponsored by 3CDC


Donate to Save First Lutheran Church Bell Tower

We are now at a point where we are confident that we can save the Bell Tower if we can demonstrate that pledges can be converted quickly into donations. With that in mind, we ask that you please convert your pledge into a donation to Cincinnati Preservation Association. We also welcome donations outside of previously pledged commitments.

This is a time sensitive request. Thank you so much for your unwavering belief in this project and, of course, for your financial support!!

Preservation Revolving Fund Team Visit

Thanks to all the groups and individuals who helped make the Revolving Fund Site Visit a success.  We are working on the report and will have more about this new preservation tool soon.

Since its founding in 1964 the Cincinnati Preservation Association (CPA) has been active in the areas of education, advocacy and technical support for the public.  Throughout that time there have been a number of occasions where CPA has provided funding or taken direct action to saved historic structures, neighborhoods and sites.  The organization is seeking to expand its impact by making direct support of rehabilitation an ongoing component of CPA’s work.   The objective of this Revolving Fund Site Visit and Assessment is to provide advice on the most effective operational structure and focus for a revolving fund.

This opportunity to expand the scope of CPA activities is possible because of the preservation successes Cincinnati has experienced in recent years.  Rehabilitation work by many organizations and individuals has transformed the city and in the process transformed the public’s attitude toward our historic buildings.   Over-the-Rhine, a 360 acre National Register Historic District is undergoing revitalization on an unprecedented scale, two National Historic Landmark icons, Union Terminal and Music Hall, are being renovated with strong public support, and historic neighborhoods are now an attractive choice for residents and newcomers.

As extensive as the rehabilitation has been, it has only touched a small proportion of Cincinnati’s historic fabric.  CPA seeks to build upon the public’s emerging enthusiasm for historic buildings and neighborhoods to create a fund that will extend the benefits of revitalization to more locations within the city.

CPA was awarded a grant from The 1772 Foundation to fund an assessment of the current opportunities for RF program and make recommendations for project types or target neighborhoods the RF could most effectively address.  Our visiting team included

 Kathy Kottaridis of Historic Boston, Inc., Clark Schoettle of the Providence Revolving Fund and J. Myrick Howard of Preservation North Carolina.

Revolving fund visit-3

Cincinnati Preservation Collective shared their Focus Buildings list and OTR Adopt outlined their work to take on the buildings in need of new owners.

Revolving fund visit-1

Community Development Corporations identified the type of projects which might benefit from a preservation revolving fund.

The visiting team at work on their recommendations

The visiting team at work on their recommendations

Public presentation of the recommendations at Memorial Hall

Public presentation of the recommendations at Memorial Hall

Dennison Hotel

DSC_0044Update:  The demolition of of the Dennison began in March of 2017.  It is a tradgy to lose this important building at a time when so many of our historic buildings are being renovated.  Cincinnati Preservation Association (CPA) and Cincinnati Preservation Collective CPC) are grateful for the widespread support for our efforts to save the Dennison.    Councilmember Seelbach’s landmark application was a welcome attempt to bring a higher level of protection.

CPA and CPC worked together to save the Dennison by supporting the city regulatory process and by bringing highly qualified developers to the owners for purchase or land lease of the property.  The project was reviewed by many experienced developers.  Their overwhelming opinion was that the building could have been successfully redeveloped as apartments.  The parking lot site is already large enough to construct any development that might be possible.   Preserving important historic buildings has been very good for Cincinnati.  The Dennison can add to the revitalization that is underway.

We urged the owners to delay demolition for three months.  During this time we would request access to the buildings for developers to create development plans and offers to purchase the building or enter into a ground lease.  We believe this approach provides the most benefit to the owners and to the community at large.  Unfortunately this request was not accepted.

The Dennison was a key part of an intact Main Street District

The Dennison was a key part of an intact Main Street District

​Cincinnati Preservation Association           Cincinnati Preservation Collective

posted:  January 1/13/2017