Discover / Cincinnati’s Icons
Save a National Treasure
REGION: Midwest
Cincinnati, OH
TYPE: Building
Union Terminal. Courtesy Cincinnati Museum Center
Union Terminal. Courtesy Cincinnati Museum Center
Ensure passage of Issue 8, the Hamilton County ballot initiative that would help raise funds needed to restore Union Terminal, while continuing to support strategies to rehabilitate Music Hall.


Although Union Terminal and Music Hall are among Cincinnati's most beloved and well-used public buildings, they are suffering from significant deterioration and water damage. This November 4, Hamilton County voters will consider passage of Issue 8, which would levy a one-quarter of one percent sales tax over five years to generate $170 million in restoration funds for Union Terminal. Combined with historic tax credits, contributions from the State of Ohio, and philanthropic fundraising efforts, this will allow for the complete repair and restoration of Union Terminal. A multi-layered, public-private funding strategy for the restoration of Music Hall is also under development.

National Significance

Union Terminal and Music Hall are both National Historic Landmarks with significant connections to major themes in American history, including transportation, art, architecture, and music.

Music Hall, designed by Samuel Hannaford, was built in 1878 with private money raised from what is believed to be the nation’s first matching grant fund drive. It is located in Over-the-Rhine, a nationally significant neighborhood that has undergone significant revitalization, and is home to the Cincinnati Arts Association, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Ballet, and the May Festival.

Union Terminal, an iconic symbol of Cincinnati and one of the most significant Art Deco structures in the country, opened in 1933 with a capacity of 216 trains a day. The second largest half dome in the world, the 180-foot-wide and 106-foot-tall rotunda features glass mosaic murals by Winold Reiss depicting the history of Cincinnati and the United States. As the Cincinnati Museum Center, the largest cultural institution in the city, Union Terminal houses the Cincinnati History Museum, Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Duke Energy Children’s Museum, Museum of Natural History and Science, and the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX Theater.

Campaign Goals

  • Ensure passage of Issue 8 to restore Union Terminal.
  • Continue to support the Cultural Facilities Task Force's efforts to outline a restoration plan for Music Hall.
  • Raise awareness about the buildings’ needs and build a broad base of support for rehabilitation.

Ways To Help

Visit the Yes on 8 Action Center to learn more about Issue 8

Donate to our campaign to save Cincinnati's Icons.

Posted on October 10, 2014

Yes on 8 Action Center Union TerminalWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJsandy headshot

It’s official — the Yes on 8 Action Center is open! Check out these awesome photos from our opening night party.

Want to get a yard sign, button, or just learn more about Issue 8? Grab a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or family member and come visit us! We’re open Monday-Friday from 11:00 AM 6:00 PM at 511 Walnut Street in the Fifth Third Bank Building breezeway between Fountain Square and Walnut Street (right behind the Potbelly Sandwich Shop).

We’re also planning to spread some #VoteYesUT love at festivals and events in and around town this weekend. Here’s our schedule for the next few days:

  • Saturday — City Flea: Saturday, October 11, from 12:00-4:00 PM in Washington Park.
  • Saturday — Kennedy Heights/Pleasant Ridge Arts and Music Festival: Saturday, October 11, from 5:00-7:00 PM at the corner of Kennedy Avenue and Montgomery Road.
  • Sunday — Second Sunday on Main: Sunday, October 12, from 12:00-5:00 PM on Main Street between 13th and Liberty Streets.
  • Tuesday — Preservation Pop Up @ the Action Center: Join us on Tuesday, October 14, at the Yes on 8 Action Center (511 Walnut Street) from 7:00-9:00 PM for a special event and reception hosted by the Cincinnati Preservation Collective. Please RSVP for you…and a guest!
  • Thursday — Special Guest Lecture @ the Action Center: Join us on Thursday, October 16, at the Yes on 8 Action Center (511 Walnut Street) from 7:00-9:00 PM for a special lecture by Cincinnati Preservation Association’s Executive Director Paul Muller on his organization’s long history of saving Union Terminal, as well as their current involvement to preserve the Terminal’s irreplaceable mosaic murals. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A and a reception sponsored by the Preservation Leadership Forum of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Please RSVP for you…and a guest!

We hope you can join us next week. If not, don’t fret — we’re open every week all the way through Election Day!

PS: Let your friends and family know that you support Issue 8 by pledging your vote online.

Please check back often for additional updates on Cincinnati’s Icons. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on October 06, 2014

Cincinnati Icons Action Center logoWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJsandy headshot

The campaign to save Union Terminal is ramping up!

This Thursday evening, the National Trust for Historic Preservation will open the doors to an interactive pop up space designed to build support for Issue 8 — the Hamilton County ballot initiative that would help raise funds needed to restore Union Terminal.

And guess what? You’re invited to the exclusive opening night event!

Yes on 8 Action Center: Opening Night!
Thursday, October 9, 7:00-9:00 PM
511 Walnut Street (Fifth Third Bank Building on Fountain Square)

RSVP For This Free Event >>

A collaboration with the My Union Terminal Campaign Committee, the Yes on 8 Action Center will be your one stop shop for saving an iconic piece of Hamilton County’s history. Visitors will be able to learn more about the restoration plan, add their memories to a community story wall, pledge their vote, and even step inside Union Terminal’s iconic murals for a special photo opp. And of course, there will be boat loads of “Yes on 8” swag for the taking. (Buttons and yard signs, anyone?)

Opening night visitors will also get a sneak peak at a special photo exhibition spotlighting photography from some of Union Terminal’s most passionate supporters.

It’s a night you won’t want to miss! Please RSVP today

Learn more about Issue 8 and how you can get involved by visiting

Please check back often for additional updates on Cincinnati’s Icons. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on September 23, 2014

Union Terminal at nightWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJSandy headshot

Like you, we are committed to saving Cincinnati’s Icons.

Today, we’d like to invite you to join the “Yes on 8” campaign to restore Union Terminal.

Appearing on the Hamilton County ballot this November, Issue 8 is our chance to save Union Terminal for future generations. Its passage will generate nearly $170 million in revenue to allow for essential repairs and restoration of this nationally significant landmark.

Please visit the newly-launched My Union Terminal website to pledge your vote, request a yard sign, or volunteer with the campaign. If you don’t live in Hamilton County, consider making a contribution to the “Yes on 8” campaign.

Moving forward, we continue to work hand in hand with our local partners to develop plans for the critical rehabilitation needs of Music Hall. Stay tuned for more information on that effort, as well as an exciting announcement about the National Trust’s support for Union Terminal. 

Please check back often for additional updates on Cincinnati’s Icons. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.

Posted on September 11, 2014

Steel Workers Union TerminalWritten by Jennifer Sandy, Project ManagerJSandy headshot

Cincinnati’s Union Terminal is remarkable not only for the role it plays as the city’s largest cultural institution, but for the stories it tells about the hundreds of Cincinnatians who helped to build this architectural marvel.  Union Terminal was created in the 1930s by the city’s original “makers” – steel workers, masons, engineers, architects, tile workers, and painters.

It’s with that “maker” ethic in mind that we’re excited about this weekend’s events at Union Terminal.  On Saturday September 13 and Sunday September 14, this inspiring building will play host to the Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire, a community-organized event that is part of the national Maker Faire created by MAKE Magazine.  MAKE describes the event as "the greatest show (and tell) on Earth - a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement." 

Come out to Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire for workshops, exhibits, spectacles, and interactive experiences.  Over 30 makers of all ages and backgrounds will be showing off their gadgets and inventions, along with an independent craft show featuring over 20 vendors as part of a mini market where guests can shop for handmade items to take the experience home with them.

And while you’re there, make sure to show your support for Issue 8, a sales tax levy on the ballot this November that would provide funds to restore Union Terminal.  Stay tuned for more information on how you can support the “Yes on 8” campaign this fall!

Please check back often for additional updates on Cincinnati’s Icons. Also, donate today to support the National Trust's ongoing work at this National Treasure.


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Gretchen Olheiser on September 02, 2014
I'm happy to see some of Cincinnati's icons. My paternal roots started in Riley, Ohio in a blacksmith shop run by my great-grandfather. Any Ohio connection is interesting to me.
Michael Manning on July 01, 2014
Although my broadcasting career has taken me outside my hometown of Cincinnati, at this time, my online series on Union Terminal and the need to maintain this "crown jewel" of the city's cultural history, along with its bright future is very important to me. Please count on my ongoing support. Michael Manning former Helicopter Reporter WLWT TV 5
Jennifer Sandy, National Trust for Historic Preservation on June 25, 2014
Cincinnati is full of architectural treasures, but few stand out as prominently as Union Terminal and Music Hall. As an Art Deco fanatic, it’s hard for me not to gasp every time I walk inside Union Terminal’s dramatic rotunda. Cincinnati Museum Center has been a phenomenal steward of this building, painstakingly restoring the spaces that are less frequently seen by the public, but it’s time for an extensive rehabilitation to make this jewel shine even more brightly. As for Music Hall, its commanding presence along Washington Park is one of the focal points of a truly unique urban neighborhood in Over-the-Rhine. Cincinnati has inherited an amazing architectural legacy, now it’s time to show support for saving these icons!
Paul Muller, Cincinnati Preservation Association on June 25, 2014
The creation of Music Hall and Union Terminal represented civic commitment at its finest. In both cases Cincinnati built innovative structures that served the public and inspired awe. Today we have a rare chance to be part of that original effort and to extend the vision of the early leaders. They made Cincinnati a great city for their time, we can renew these buildings for a great future. Don’t miss out on being part of your own history!

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