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Old Posted May 12, 2019, 1:59 AM
BigDipper 80 BigDipper 80 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2015
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CINCINNATI - A Walk on McMicken Avenue

Cincinnati is one of those cities that's really difficult to capture through photos. The topography isn't quite as extreme compared to what you might find in Pittsburgh, but you can find yourself suddenly high in the air over the course of a short walk. Photos also fail to capture how truly eclectic Cincinnati's architecture is. There aren't many places that have as many dramatic changes in style as I've found in various neglected corners of the Queen City of the West. One such street, notable both for its bizarre collection of architecture and its dramatic topographical changes, is McMicken Avenue. It snakes along the hill that forms the northernmost boundary of Cincinnati's "urban basin" and is roughly the dividing line between the "downtown" neighborhood and the "uptown" areas surrounding the University of Cincinnati. Below are a few shots along just this one street that I hope help capture both the beauty and sheer weirdness of this isolated little pocket of the city.

IMG_9554 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
McMicken's southern terminus is at Main Street, where it branches off at an angle roughly parallel to the base of the northern hillside. Because it runs off-kilter from the downtown street grid, you end up with a lot of oddly-shaped buildings.

IMG_9555 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
A handsome stone townhouse sits at the start of the street.

IMG_9557 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
McMicken is primarily located in the "Northern Liberties", or the northern half of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Although most of the lower half of OTR has been fixed up after decades of neglect, the northern half is only recently coming into its own.

IMG_9558 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
Because of its Germanic heritage, Cincinnati was a huge beer producer for much of its history. The Northern Liberties have been adding signage recently to highlight this heritage and to hopefully transform the area into a tourist magnet not unlike Kentucky's Bourbon Trail.

IMG_9559 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
Notice how the one house is set a bit further back than its neighbors. For whatever reason, this is fairly common in Cincinnati, where you'll have an odball building or two on a block not built up to the lot line.

IMG_9562 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
The Second Empire house in the foreground recently got fixed up and sold for quite a bit of money. People have been snapping up some of the properties higher up the hillside for cheap and renovating them, since many of them have spectacular views of the urban basin.

IMG_9566 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9568 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9569 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9570 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9573 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
This beautiful building, situated at a five-way intersection in the heart of the neighborhood, has recently been undergoing some restoration work.

IMG_9575 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9578 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9579 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9581 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9582 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
Another beautiful old brewery building.

[URL=https://s1376.photobucket.com/user/ekocjanphotos/media/Cincinnati%202015/034_zpsbruzlbee.jpg.html]

[URL=https://s1376.photobucket.com/user/ekocjanphotos/media/Cincinnati%202015/034_zpsbruzlbee.jpg.html]


Some wonky houses because of the street grid's angle.

IMG_9586 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr



IMG_9589 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9593 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
Things start getting a little weird once you cross into West McMicken and the road beings to head northbound.

IMG_9594 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9597 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9598 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9599 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9600 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
This is the famous "Mockbee Building". It's hard to get a sense of how massive it is - because it's on a hillside, it's actually two-three stories taller on the south face than on the north face!


Another angle on the building.


The views in this area really are spectacular. This shot is from a block further up the hill, so the buildings in the foreground are all along McMicken.

IMG_9602 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
Another funky-angled dude.

IMG_9605 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
I love how this house wraps around on itself but then suddenly stops.

IMG_9607 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
Look at all the bizarre editions this house has had over the years!

IMG_9609 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
A beautiful Second Empire mansion. Yes, we're still on the same street, just over a mile from where we started.

IMG_9611 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
Cincinnati suddenly gives way to San Francisco and this gingerbread stunner, directly across the street from the previous mansion.

IMG_9613 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9614 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
A gorgeous little chunk of rowhouses.

IMG_9618 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
The Fairview Steps climb an additional 200 or so feet up to the Fairview neighborhood uphill from McMicken Avenue.

IMG_9619 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9621 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
The poor guy in the foreground has been mutilated beyond recognition.

IMG_9622 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
More strange additions.

IMG_9623 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9625 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9626 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9628 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
It's hard to tell here, but we're 100 or so feet up now. Below us is the Camp Washington neighborhood.

IMG_9629 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr

IMG_9631 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
This might look like a narrow shotgun-ish house, but it's perched on the hillside and actually has a second unit and a cellar below it.

IMG_9632 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
Meanwhile, this house is tucked well down the hillside and almost completely invisible from the street.

IMG_9635 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
A better view of how far back this house is. It has no driveway and no back alley access, so it's completely isolated on its lot.

IMG_9638 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
And then out of the blue... some bungalows. On one street we've gone from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.

IMG_9641 by Ethan Kocjan, on Flickr
And there you have it. The last building on McMicken Avenue. Hopefully these photos gave some good insights into a very unique street in a very unique city.
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