I was so disappointed that I wasn’t able to join in on the “Save the Emery” project that happened in late July. Run by Give Back Cincinnati, the project aims to gussy up the somewhat rundown and forgotten Emery Theater contained within the Emery building located at the corner of Central Pkwy. and Walnut. Many people aren’t even aware that when they are going to get coffee from the Emporium there is a beautiful old 1300+ seat theater right in the same building.
There were really two reasons I wanted to get in on this. First of all, I would love to see this theater return to operation. It’s place like these that give a city its character. Older buildings and classic structures like this become a rarity as you move further across the country. In Seattle, for example, buildings were rarely rehabbed due to compliance with earthquake codes. Rather, because I assume it was cheaper, old buildings were torn down to make way for less attractive, hastily built newer structures. Cincinnati has a surplus of these type of old theaters, warehouses, row-houses, store-fronts, etc. Volunteer projects like this, held on a regular basis, are exactly what the city needs. Give Back Cincinnati says they had at least 100 people there lending a hand, proving that many people are as interested in lending a hand in this type of thing.
My second reason for wanting to help was a bit more selfish. I just wanted to get into the place. For years I’ve walked by the entrance, wondering what was beyond those ticket windows. Unfortunately I had something to do that day and couldn’t make it down there. Thankfully, one industrious volunteer spent a portion of his time taking beautiful pictures of the inside. Here’s a hand-full of them, with more at his website Urban Up, after the jump…