Vanishing Cincinnati is less a lament for what has been lost than it is a celebration of what remains and a clarion call for preservation and continuity. This call is directed to people of all walks of life to join in the new vibrancy of Old Cincinnati. The images and stories here reconnect us with the city’s century of greatness, from 1850 to 1950, when the urban fabric was tightly woven with an eclectic mix of residential neighborhoods, parks, shops, and entertainment, all nestled within embracing hilltops, and with a street-level infrastructure that was both functional and inspirational. The city’s extraordinary diversity of architecture, old and new, side by side, brings the fourth dimension of time into an equation that ennobles and enriches the Queen City. Barbara & David Day’s free- hand drawings in Vanishing Cincinnati breathe fresh life into the idea that careful preservation of these venerable structures bring longevity and cultural richness to the heart of the city. It can happen here. It did happen here. And now, with the resurgence of creativity of all kinds in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine, it is happening again.
Barbara and David Day are partners in David Day, Designer & Associates, a professional design practice in downtown Cincinnati. The firm designs anything and everything, including, but not limited to: public art, landscaped gardens, ceremonial architecture and interiors, architectural products, and graphic design on any scale. They have also directed restoration of some of Cincinnati’s landmark buildings, including the former Cincinnati Enquirer Building at 617 Vine Street.
David is a fifth-generation Cincinnatian, born in Over-the-Rhine. Barbara’s family goes back four generations, she was born in Clifton. Both earned Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Cincinnati, in industrial design and interior design respectively. Upon graduation they worked for and learned from R. Buckminster Fuller in a graduate program at Southern Illinois University. Fuller was a visionary architect, designer, philosopher, and author who devoted his life to learning and teaching ways good design could improve the human condition.
The Days started their design practice in the 1960s within earshot of the splashing waters of the Tyler Davidson Fountain, and continue to this day on the edge of “the Northern Liberties” (just south of Liberty Street Hill) where they can hear the bells ringing in the Over-the Rhine Campanile. Their accumulation of freehand working drawings for decades of clients and contractors have unintentionally became collector’s items in their own right and have now (along with their research materials and a connective narrative) grown into this book which they call, with tongue-in-cheek, Vanishing Cincinnati.
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