Posted by: Elizabeth | January 19, 2009

The brick-and-mortar equivalent of Amy Winehouse

The entire wreck.

Not just another pretty building.

At its height, the City of Cincinnati had 600,000 residents. Now a century later, it’s half that. Hence the vacant buildings. Most of these we drive by, often with our doors locked.

But there is one you can’t drive by, and if you happen to see it, its decrepitude is so extreme that you might be trapped in horrified fascination.

crumpled-up yellow police tape, Milwalkee's Best 40 oz's.

Just outside the frame: crumpled-up yellow police tape, Milwalkee's Best 40 oz's.

It’s 329 Emming “Street” in Fairview (a small neighborhood between Clifton and Over-the-Rhine). It stands out because Fairview itself is not a ghetto; most of the buildings are well-kept.  

I say “street” because, if you’ll notice in the above picture, there is no street connected to this, either directly or by driveway. This house is halfway up a hill between Emming St (which starts on West Clifton Ave) and City View Pl (off Ravine St), closer to Emming. The only concrete near this house is the stairway connecting Emming and City View. The ground to all sides is too steep to be driven on.

While this building probably came from a time before automobiles were the main form of transportation, its situation seems to make it impossible to sell or rent today. Which isn’t to say that it isn’t occupied… 


A close up of the right window.

… though you have to wonder if the occupants are lawful.

I think the only reason this building is still standing is that the spot is so inaccessible to cars. Meanwhile, there are other vacant buildings sitting on much better land. Unless land prices go through the roof, there’s little economic incentive for an investor to touch this place.

Until then, feast your eyes upon this.



  1. Just discovered you blog and added it to my RSS reader. It looks interesting, and I’m looking forward to some local oddities. Now get sluthing.

  2. Have you checked out Make Cincinnati Weird? It might gives you some new ideas to check out.

  3. I am astonished. I had no idea THE BEAST came in 40-oz bottles.

  4. Hey dude! Great blog! I blogrolled you!

    HA! I almost bought a house in Fairview once. It looked strikingly similar to this one, minus, of course, the graffiti.

  5. I knew someone who lived near this. I probably saw it a thousand times but never paid much attention.

    Weird tangent: although Cincinnati has half the population of peak Porkopolis, we take up more room per dwelling. Does this balance out? I know of families of eight or more who lived in two or three bedroom houses with only one bathroom. I’d bet that today’s smaller population actually takes up more space.

  6. You had a typo. The address is 329 Emming. The property is owned by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Valued at $36,280. Maps show it at the corner of Emming and Renner, but the pavement for Renner St. ends a couple of blocks south.|parcelid=0960002026500|cardnum=001&sid=2F96DBF75E6B420199960FAE3C1AE0F9

  7. If you look in the top picture, you will see two houses.

    For about one year (October 2007 to August 2008, when we moved down here to Georgia), we lived on the first floor (not seen from here) of the right-most house. I’d walk right by that house when I’d walk home from CCM. It was not uncommon to hear noises coming from the property.

    Our place was nice, as was every other place on City View, but that house…well, you can see.


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