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Hub + Weber

Jim Guthrie has worked at Hub + Weber for over 30 years and is excited to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. The company began in 1973 when Bill Hub opened the doors as William Hub Architects in Covington, Kentucky and hired Gene Weber as the first employee. While the company now calls an office on Pete Rose Way home to their 10 employees, they are still a community-centered business who values a fun work culture and offers a variety of services from design to planning to construction. 

Hub + Weber is the architecture firm responsible for the adaptive reuse of Hotel Covington in 2012. The Historic Tax Credit project had significant historic features and once housed Coppins Department Store. One of the earliest concrete frames in Kentucky, the building at 638 Madison Ave has a ground floor that slopes 18 inches from front to back. Since they wanted to return the first floor to the city as a mercantile area or community space for restaurants and events, they had to get creative in creating bar seating and window bench seating at varying heights so that visitors wouldn’t be impacted by the slope. 

“Historic tax credits played a big part in making this project a success. Plus, it’s so important to preserve our building stock to maintain building diversity and have a more textured pallet.” – Jim Guthrie 

Another challenge was the adjacent building. It was torn out to make a courtyard enclosed by a “glass jewel box”, but the facade, once a wedding mall, needed to be saved to preserve the historic streetscape. Extending 10 feet deep, the facade had three bays all constructed with different materials since it was originally built out of leftover supplies. Ready for a creative challenge, staff at Hub + Weber rebuilt the facade to stabilize the interior structure so the streetscape still retains its historical design integrity.

Guthrie notes, “That it’s not just the ornate buildings that need to be saved. Warehouse structures have great potential because they provide contrast between modern and historic buildings. We need to continue to find ways to allow development to happen around the historic structures, so that our city’s fabric continues to include 150 year old buildings alongside 10 year old buildings. This mix creates a tapestry that weaves together the old and the new adding a unique continuity throughout our region. He adds, “Plus the materials used then were better and simply last longer!”

Hub + Weber is passionate about working and playing hard. For nearly 10 years, they hosted a competitive badminton tournament for friends and clients, and they even have a ‘happy wall’ full of photos that inspire positivity. When it comes to their work, they especially value projects that can be appreciated by the community. In particular, communities that don’t have ready access to design. 

“We hope to help neighborhoods control their own narrative,” Guthrie explains. “First asking, does this development serve the community beyond its economic growth? Does the community want this as part of their street? Will the community be patrons (not just workers) here and experience this development as an amenity?”  

It’s clear that after 50 years and perspectives from both sides of the river, Hub + Weber continue to have an impact on our built environment that inspires us all. 

Meet Eric Smyth of Smyth & Field

Meet Eric Smyth, the guy behind multiple historic renovations in the West End of Cincinnati. As half of the Smyth & Field duo, Eric works from the dream, design, and deliverable phase of creating a forever home for his clients. Here is why he caught the eye of Cincinnati Preservation.

The 1870 house at 1015 Dayton Street was Smyth & Field’s first historic project in the West End back in 2017. He notes, “I fell in love with the craftsmanship and architecture immediately, and I’ve been hooked on historic ever since.”




On this project, Smyth & Field removed the entire back wall on the first floor to extend the tiny kitchen into the existing covered porch area. They harvested and reclaimed the hardwood flooring on the 3rd floor, to tooth in the existing flooring on the 1st floor kitchen area. Patching in with new pine would never finish the same and would be obvious. Their approach gave a uniform look that makes it impossible to tell where the work has been done.





Smyth is passionate about the high level of design detail when it comes to historic buildings. He also enjoys the challenge of how to make them energy efficient today. He explains, “We are so blessed to have one of the largest collections of Italianate architecture in the country, and I consider myself lucky to be part of the preservation of that collection.”

Inspired by every detail, they ensure that everything from the historic hinges and knobs remain to keep the original charm. They re-use original doors and trim, and also source 1800’s doors with the same profile for new openings and doorways. Also, custom millwork is sourced to exactly match the profile of the original trim molding. Whether a new doorway or wall was added, you’ll never notice it’s not original from the 1800’s.

On this house, the HVAC system presented some challenges. They avoided any duct chases by removing the center chimney on all three floors to run duct work up to the second floor. Thinking back, Eric adds
“We didn’t want to disturb the gorgeous plaster crown molding on the first floor by running a chase right through it, so we had to think outside of the box. The homeowner was very pleased to save all plaster crown. We framed and drywalled that chase and re-installed the original mantle so it looks like it was always there. It doesn’t have a firebox anymore, but it looks great.”
During this process, they found some treasures behind the mantle and in the walls. Business cards of the previous owner, Davis and Sons Carriage Company and newspapers from 1921 advertising the Cincinnati Wheel Company, among others!
Eric’s favorite building in the West End is 824 Dayton Street. He explains, “The stone work is incredible… even the box gutters there are stone!”
You can learn more about Smyth & Field and see their recent projects here.


See Dr. Bruce Stephenson as the keynote speaker at the 28th Annual Fall Forum on Friday, October 13th at Noon in the Hilton Netherland Plaza.


Q. Why Planning?
A. Stephenson grew up off the eastern Florida coast on Merritt Island near the floodplain of St. Johns River. When the wetland soils dried out due to droughts, the peat-like material caught fire eight feet below the surface. This natural disaster became the topic of Stephenson’s high school science project which led him to discover that many environmental problems, such as the one he was witnessing in his own backyard, were exacerbated by bad urban planning. Later he would grow up to be one of the nation’s leading planners, taking vast inspiration from early planner John Nolen. Nolen is, of course, the Cincinnati icon who created the plan for Mary Emery’s Village of Mariemont in 1923, among many others.

“As I started drafting plans I realized, John Nolen has already made these plans… 100 years ago!”
-Bruce Stephenson

Stephenson receiving the John Nolan Medal in 2020

Q. What is New Urbanism?
A. It all started in 1993 in Seaside, Florida with a town so picturesque it was the backdrop for The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey. What was once seen as merely 80 acres of sand and scrub was turned into the world’s first New Urbanist town. The neo-classical plan put homes closer together to protect the natural resources. The plan proved itself in 1995 when a Category 3 hurricane left no damage in its wake. This is thanks to the Urban Plan which built behind the dune system, elevated all buildings 1-2 feet off ground, kept all native landscaping and included building codes requiring tin roofs. Similarly to Mariemont in Ohio, Seaside designed by Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk is very walkable and community focused. 

“New Urbanism is a planning and development approach based on the principles of how cities and towns had been built for the last several centuries: walkable blocks and streets, housing and shopping in close proximity, and accessible public spaces. In other words: New Urbanism focuses on human-scaled urban design.” –Congress for the New Urbanism 

Q. How long will it take?
A. New Urbanism is a long-term investment. Plans typically have a 25 year time frame, yet are often priceless. For example, Central Park took 25 years to come to fruition and there is no argument that it was well worth the wait. Planners set out to resolve economic tears in the social fabric spurred by diversity to create a space designed to bring all people together regardless of their backgrounds. 

Another example from Bruce’s work directly can be seen in the Park plans for Portland and Seattle which specifically included saving the creeks and wetlands rather than developing them. Thus, preventing the city from flooding during heavy rains. The important role these plans play will not only impact our future, but primarily our children’s future.

Stephenson in the Portland’s Pearl Magazine in 2016

Q. Looking Forward – Is there Hope?
A. New Urbanist principles are sustainability and racial equity rooted in pedestrian-oriented design. Stephenson points out some good news among these two monumental challenges. There is a huge opportunity to make money! 

Imagine living in a place where you could walk to get all your basic needs. Because at least one third of the population is saying “Sign me up,” this makes the most valuable real estate in the country urban places where people can walk to get their groceries.

Q. What is your favorite planned community?
A. In his living room, Stephenson has an image of the original town square in Mariemont which includes a fountain, church, residential and commercial properties all built very thoughtfully 100 years ago. 

“It’s the most beautiful work of civic art in the country.”  -Bruce Stephenson

Beyond the US, Pienza is at the top of Stephenson’s list. First mentioned in documents dating back to the 9th century, Pienza, Italy was designed as the “touchstone of Renaissance urbanism” and built to embody the humanist vision of the “ideal town”. Pienza was the birthplace of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, who would become Pope Pius II. After he became Pope, Piccolomini had the entire village rebuilt to serve as a retreat from Rome. In 1996, UNESCO declared the town a World Heritage Site, and in 2004 the entire valley,  the Val d’Orcia, was included on the list of UNESCO’s World Cultural Landscapes.

Old Town Square, Mariemont

About Dr. Bruce Stephenson
Bruce Stephenson is dedicated to the art of city planning.  A Rollins professor and consultant, he is a recipient of the John Nolen Medal, the 1000 Friends of Florida Better Community Award, and the Graham Frey Civic Award, and his biography, John Nolen, Landscape Architect and City Planner, won the JB Jackson book award. Serving on the Orlando Sustainability Task Force and the Pearl District (Portland) Planning & Transportation Committee inspired his most recent book, Portland’s Good Life: Sustainability and Hope in an American City. Currently, Stephenson is working on a new book, The Clansman and the City Plan: Thomas Dixon, John Nolen and the Birth of a New Nation.

Learn more about Bruce Stephenson, his work and publications at Living New Urbanism.


Mariemont Preservation Foundation

Cincinnati Preservation Association is excited to partner with Mariemont Preservation Foundation on the 28th annual Fall Forum.

The mission of the Mariemont Preservation Foundation founded in 1980 is to preserve, protect and promote the integrity and character of Mariemont. The Foundation’s goals include

  • Preserve & Protect
  • Promote, Advocate and Educate
  • Community Outreach

History of Mariemont
Mary Emery (seen above) was the initiator, benefactor and visionary who founded the Village of Mariemont in 1923. Appalled by the unsanitary housing conditions in downtown Cincinnati, she used her vast fortune to create a “national exemplar”, which would be planned in every detail to provide its residents with a high quality of life. Mrs. Emery and Charles Livingood, her business manager, hired John Nolen, an internationally known town planner. He developed the plan for the Village of Mariemont, which was named after Mary Emery’s summer home in Rhode Island. The result of Mary Emery’s amazing vision and John Nolen’s careful planning was a village with a real sense of community.


Explore MPF’s archives and learn about the rich history of Mariemont by perusing their collection of Fort Ancient artifacts, Mariemont photographs, history books and more.
They are open to the public on Saturdays from 9:00 to 12 noon at 3919 Plainville Rd.

Other hours by appointment.

“There’s not a lot of places like Mariemont. I grew up here, moved away, and ultimately came back to raise my family here. The generational sense of community, green spaces and walkability is hard to find anywhere else.”
– Paul Mace, President of MPF

Big Wins for MPF and Historic Preservation
  • On March 29, 2007, the entire Village of Mariemont obtained National Historic Landmark status with the National Park Service. Thanks to founding member of MPF, Millard F. Rogers Jr., for submitting the application found here.
  • On June 30, 2022, MPF accomplished the long-term goal of purchasing the Eliphalet Ferris House located at 3905 Plainville Rd in Mariemont (seen below). Built in 1802 with an addition in 1812 it is the oldest brick building in Hamilton County still standing at its original location. Mary Emery’s vision was to use the house as a Mariemont Museum, and MPF will realize this dream as part of their work in the future! The Ferris House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 29, 1975.
  • With a Tree City USA national recognition, Mariemont’s canopy is about 100 years old. Many of the original trees were purchased from George Washington’s Estate, Mount Vernon by John Nolan. MPF helps fund the trees in the village as an important aspect of the original urban plan.
  • MPF’s active educational programming partners with schools, visitors and local businesses to provide docent-led tours, community events and opportunities to learn about Mariemont’s earliest inhabitants including Late Fort Ancient Native Americans.


Honored Traditions 
With over 15 parks spanning over 50 acres throughout the Village, public green space was intentionally designed by John Nolen over 100 years ago. Notably, the village’s Mary M. Emery Memorial Carillon is located in the 1929 Bell Tower at Dogwood Park. A carillon is a pitched percussion instrument that is played with a keyboard and consists of at least 23 bells that are cast in bronze, hung in fixed suspension, and tuned in chromatic order so that they can be sounded harmoniously together. It originally housed 23 bells but was expanded to 49 bells covering four octaves ranging in weight from 19 to 4800 pounds in 1969. Free carillon concerts can be heard every Sunday at 2 pm during the summer months where listeners can enjoy the internationally recognized qualities of this instrument which uses no electrical assistance or amplification!
100 Years
In 2023, the Village celebrated it’s centennial (having been founded on April 23, 1923) with special events, memorabilia and a list of capital improvement projects for park and statuary restoration, rehabilitation of the historic street lights and installation of an updated gateway signage package. Learn more here.
Get Involved
To learn more about the special history of one of our country’s first urban planned communities or to get involved, become a member of and connect with MPF here.

Our Historic Steps and Alleys

Did you know Cincinnati has nearly 1,000 walkable public corridors? 
That includes over 500 alleys and 399 public stairs! Cincinnati is actually the 4th leading city for public stairways likely trailing Pittsburgh, San Francisco Seattle and LA.
Many of our alleys and stairs are unmarked either due to missing signage or they have never received signs at all despite the fact that most of them do have names.
Part of our local Historic Fabric
These important spaces are historic and need our help to protect them. It’s important to have proper signage for safety, ease of navigation, neighborhood culture/history and to maintain a sense of place.
“Cincinnati is lucky to have a living museum in public space ,” says Christian Huelsman, Founding Executive Director of Spring In Our Steps (SIOS) and CPA Policy Researcher. He continues, “For the past 12 years, SIOS has been committed to bringing a brighter future to the city’s most neglected public corridors – such as public alleys & stairways – through cleanup, programming, advocacy, and preservation. We promote and improve the pedestrian experience in Cincinnati, focusing upon stairways and alleyways to reconnect communities to its greatest cultural assets.”
Why Historic?
The City of Cincinnati defines an alley by any public right-of-way that is narrower than 21 feet, and OTR has the largest collection of brick street paving in the region.
Pitt Alley & Wendell Alley
Historic Street Surfaces
  • Pitt Alley (seen above) located on the top part of Vine Street in the Hollister Triangle might have the oldest intact street surface paved with limestone. Dating back to the 1850s or early 1860’s, it pre dates bowlders (aka cobblestone). The Alley is still in good condition and is also the steepest alley in the city!
  • In the 1860’s the move from limestone to cobblestone occurred. Cobblestone Alleys like the one seen above on Corn Alley in the West End were built with river stones dredged from river and stream beds (popular which were superior to limestone. Peete Alley, between Mount Auburn and Over-the-Rhine, is a great example that was fully restored by SIOS in 2023.
  • The 1880’s brought Granite Block as seen on Colby Alley in the Mohawk area of Over-the-Rhine.
  • Brick became popular in the early 1890’s. The Alley Act of 1895 put into motion paving alleys with vitrified brick first laid on Main Avenue in Avondale which later became Reading Rd. See Catlin Alley in Prospect Hill for Huelsman’s favorite example, although brick alleys are certainly abundant throughout Cincinnati.
  • Finally, a variation of granite block paving callled Durax was used around 1912 before concrete and asphalt took over.  Durax blocks are half blocks or cubes oriented into a fanned pattern, then the joints were filled with coal tar. These can best be seen at Tiernan Alley just east of Central Avenue and north of Findlay Street.
Historic Steps

The Main Street stairs (above) are comprised of 354 steps with a rich history. The stairs:

  • are located at the site of the very first incline railway in Cincinnati
  • are the first concrete public stairway in the city
  • have the most risers of any Cincinnati stairway
  • were built in 1908, and was the longest concrete stairway in the US at that time
  • remain the longest stairs in Cincnnati to this day.
The Main Street stairs currently have no historic marker.
Recent Wins
SiOS has worked with community and institutional partners, in cooperation with DOTE, to get gateway signage at a total of 16 public stairways. They can be found on both sides of Vine Street Hill, from the Ohio Avenue Steps to the Main Street Steps. In Mount Auburn, SiOS will have successfully leveraged the reopening of the Wendell Alley Steps, as a result of a community petition and garnering support from the community council. It had been closed via community petition in 1995, and it is likely the first public stairway in Cincinnati to reopen after having been closed by petition. Prior to its reopening, work will commence in October-November 2023 to improve the connecting alleys to the stairs.
Learn more and get involved with Spring in our Steps at or on Instagram / Facebook / Twitter

John Hauck House is Now Open

Thank You to our members for an amazing ribbon cutting at the John Hauck House on August 29, 2023. You made the space come alive!

  • The Preservation Library & Resource Room in memory of Michael Ibold Wilger is open by appointment
  • Restoration work on the main house is complete
  • Our offices are set up
  • And we are continually inspired to carry out our mission from this 1870’s historic building every single day

Thank you to the John Hauck Foundation & Frederick Hauck Fund for making this all possible.





Hands-On Preservation Classes Have Begun

Congrats to the first students at the Covington Academy of Heritage Trades!

After an economic analysis of trade school graduates job market in the region, the Enzweiler Building Institute saw how people with preservation specialty skills were needed in the restoration market. So, a few months ago the Covington Academy of Heritage Trades launched an 11 track curriculum including focus areas on masonry, wood windows, box gutters, plaster and more!

Students include a mix of professionals already working in the field as well as those looking to launch new part-time ventures. As such, classes are designed to accommodate schedules of working folks. With introductory workshops and scholarship available, the school aims to make the program as accessible as possible.

One student, Joe Cunningham is General Manager at True Masonry. He came to add historic renovation services to the new construction work they already provide. He was amazed at the hand mixed mortar. Instructor Bob Yapp even seeps cigar butts to color the mixture to match the period!

Leased for $1 by the city of Covington, the 3 story single family mansion from the 1870’s or 80’s is located at 1515 Madison Avenue, Covington.

Vicki Berling of Enzweiler Building Institute (the heritage trade school’s parent company) founded in 1967 is the first school created by a chapter of national association of home builders.

Bob Yapp demonstrates the day’s project.

Layers of history inside 1515 Madison Avenue

Mortar is hand made and mixed, matching ingredients to that of the time period.

The school has seven years to complete the restoration of this building through hands-on classes.

About Bob
Bob Yapp, National Preservation expert designed the school’s curriculum

Bob Yapp has been involved in the restoration and rehabilitation of over 160 historic properties. He also hosted the national, weekly PBS program, “About Your House with Bob Yapp”. The 52 show series was co-sponsored by National Trust for Historic Preservation. Additionally, he has authored two preservation books and helped establish and taught at numerous preservation trades programs around the country.

CPA Presents to Cincinnati City Council

CPA Executive Director, Beth Johnson, presented at Cincinnati City Council on January 31, 2023 about the importance of Historic Preservation.

Watch her 20 minute section by skipping to the 2 hour marker on the recording.

She informed council members that Historic Preservation is beneficial to our city because:

  • it retains our unique CULTURE and makes this an interesting and vibrant place to be
  • it is more SUSTAINABLE and ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than building new by keeping construction materials out of our landfills, reusing the embodied energy exerted in the initial build, and reducing demolition pollution
  • it’s smart INVESTMENT that creates local jobs, tax credits that attract development and brings heritage tourism
  • it creates HOUSING STABILITY in housing value and in population through popular historic district designations
  • promotes AFFORDABLE HOUSING by rehabilitating abandoned buildings like old schools, libraries or hotels for adaptive reuse
  • it tells our past and present STORIES around what it means to be a resident, business or visitor of Greater Cincinnati
Also noted is the importance to celebrate Cincinnati’s status as a national leader in preservation and maintain this status as we continue to grow.

Special thanks to Councilmember Jeff Cramerding for hosting CPA at the Equitable Growth and Housing Committee.

ADVOCACY ALERT: Help save historic canal building

The Canal Building, located at Central Parkway and Magnolia Street in OTR, is a pre-Civil War historic building, one of the last examples of commercial Erie Canal structures in Cincinnati. The building is a contributing building to both the National Register of Historic Places and the Over-the-Rhine Historic District.

For the past two years, a group of neighbors has been fighting a proposed demolition of the building by a developer and its partner, the longtime owner of the building, Downtown Property Management. This development group seeks to construct a hotel and claims the historic property must be demolished as it is economically infeasible to reuse the building. They claimed this while the building was being used as an office and had been used as an office prior to the historic district being in place. Early on in the case before the Historic Conservation Board, Cincinnati Preservation Association supported the legal fees with a $2,000 donation. While the Historic Conservation Board (HCB) UNANIMOUSLY rejected the demolition request, the developer appealed the decision to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) which overturned the Historic Conservation Board’s Decision. The ZBA based its decision on its opinion that lack of profitability for a business is an economic hardship for the building. The ZBA’s review should have been limited to whether or not the Historic Conservation Board made any errors on how they made their decision, not to decide that case anew and second guess the Historic Conservation Board. 

If the Zoning Board of Appeals’ decision stands, anyone will be free to demolish a historic building merely by showing that he or she has not realized a profit since owning it and purposely not investing in its upkeep other than for the bare minimum code compliance. On appeal, the Court is being asked to reverse the Zoning Board of Appeals’ misguided decision and restore the carefully calibrated balance between public and private interests that the City of Cincinnati’s Historic Preservation Ordinance creates. 

This case has a great legal significance for historic preservation in Cincinnati and Ohio. As CPA works to support the case we are also asking our members and historic preservation advocates to help support the neighbors that are leading the fight and give to their legal fund so they can continue their fight.

Learn More and Donate to Help Save the Canal Building

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