Aug 3, 2023 ADVOCACY UPDATE
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.
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.
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.
- To write a letter of support for the historic landmark designation to the Mayor and Council contact the City Council by email: CityCouncil@cincinnati-oh.gov and clerkofcouncil@cincinnati-oh.
- You can also find their individual information here. (https://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/council/contact-us/)
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.
Contact Lindsey Armor 513.246.2043