Music Hall Timeline

1849  The North American Saengerbund is organized in Cincinnati.

1867  The Saengerbund Singing Society constructs Saengerhalle at 14th & Elm--site of future Music Hall.

1870  City of Cincinnati acquires Saengerhalle, renaming it Exposition Hall as site for

Cincinnati Industrial Exposition.

1875  Reuben Springer offers matching gift of $125,000 to build new Music Hall (to be matched by $125,000

from other citizens--with $50,000 offered later for addition of wings, to be matched two-to-one).
Charles Aiken, Superintendent of Music for Cincinnati Public Schools, leads city schoolchildren in raising $3,000 for new Music Hall.

1876  Civic leaders Julius Dexter, W. H. Harrison, T. D. Lincoln, Joseph Longworth, Robert Mitchell, John Shillito

and Reuben Springer organize the Music Hall Association to build new the new hall.
Cincinnati architect Samuel Hannaford gets the contract for new Music Hall.
Exposition Hall (old Saengerhalle) is demolished to clear site for new Music Hall.
Reuben Springer adds a donation of $20,000 to the project as costs increase.

1877  Construction begins on new Cincinnati Music Hall on May 1.

Reuben Springer offers $10,000 to start Organ Society to build organ for Music Hall; public subscriptions raise total to $30,000.
Work begins on Hook & Hastings organ for Music Hall, with organ screen panels carved by Benn Pitman, Henry Lindley Fry, William Henry Fry, and students.

1878  The ''magnificent'' Music Hall opens the night of Tuesday, May 14th, with the May Festival chorus

and with an orchestra of musicians of the New York Philharmonic and conducted by the renowned Theodore Thomas.

1879  Machinery Hall (North Wing) and Art Hall (South Wing) are added to complex, bringing total cost of

the entire project to $446,000.
The Women's Art Museum Association (WAMA) of Cincinnati exhibits decorative work from its classes at the Seventh Cincinnati Industrial Exposition, and invites men to become members of the Association. WAMA was formed primarily with the goal of the establishment of a permanent art museum in Cincinnati. In November, WAMA rents Art Rooms in the Exposition Building/Art Hall and moves into its quarters.

1880  The Democratic National Convention at Music Hall nominates General Winfield Scott Hancock for President

A banquet celebrating opening of city-owned Cincinnati Southern Railway is held in main auditorium of Music Hall.
The Cincinnati Tennis Club opens on indoor courts in South Wing (until 1882).
First Millers' International Exhibition is held at Music Hall.

1883  Electric lighting is introduced at Industrial Exposition in Music Hall.

1884  Courthouse Riot of 1884 begins with a rally at Music Hall.

Reuben Springer, philanthropist and benefactor of Music Hall, dies.
An Opera Festival is held at Music Hall to benefit survivors of the great flood.

1886  Technical School of Cincinnati, predecessor of U.C. College of Engineering, is founded at Music Hall.

The Cincinnati Art Museum opens on May 17 in a newly-constructed building in Eden Park. WAMA's trustees dissolved the Association.

1888  Centennial Exposition of the Ohio Valley and Central States celebrates 100th anniversary of the founding of

Cincinnati (14th Cincinnati Industrial Exposition).

1889  Cincinnati Architectural Club holds a symposium at Music Hall, attracting national attendance.

1895  Contracts are awarded for the reconstruction of Music Hall. The hall is closed in October, following

a standing-room-only concert rehearsal by the May Festival Chorus.

1896  Renovation is completed for $100,000 to extend the stage into the audience area, add a proscenium arch,

double the pitch of the floor, add permanent seating for 3,330 people, along with electric lighting, and steam heat. The remodeled Music Hall was opened to the public on May 14 and is now ready for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, which is moving to the hall from Pike's Opera House. The remodeling also made it possible to more easily accommodate opera and theatrical productions. In the May at the annual meeting of the Nusic Hall Association, it was decided that, in the future, the hall would be known as Springer Hall. Additionally, the organ was moved back against the west wall, and work was done on the organ's wood-carved panels.

1900  First Cincinnati Fall Festival and Industrial Exposition (continuing to 1923)

1904  Composer Richard Strauss conducts the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at Music Hall.

1905  Circular painting ''Allegory of the Arts,'' by Arthur Conrad Thomas, is installed in center of ceiling

of main auditorium.

1910  Ohio Valley Exposition is held in Music Hall, celebrating completion of world's largest movable dam,

at Fernbank on the Ohio.
President William Howard Taft attends May Festival, dedicating the statue of Theodore Thomas.

1912  New seating is installed in Springer (Main) Auditorium of Music Hall.

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's board moves CSO performances to the recently-completed Emery Auditorium, a more intimate and less expensive venue.

1916  The Ohio Valley Electrical Exposition at Music Hall celebrates the electrical age.

1918  U.S. and Allied Governments' War Exposition is held at Music Hall.

1923  ''Modernization'' of the original auditorium organ marks the beginning of the end for grand old instrument.

1925  Music Hall is transformed into a 15th century cathedral setting for Max Reinhardt's medieval spectacle,

The Miracle.

1927   On the 26th of May, the City of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Music Hall Association enter into an agreement

whereby, for the sum of one dollar ($1.00), CMHA will own and, within three years, remodel Cincinnati Music Hall.
North and South Wings are expanded, including new (Topper Club) Ballroom.

1928  Music Hall celebrates its 50th anniversary with Golden Jubilee celebration.

1929  Topper Club opens in South Wing, with Egyptian decor complete with Sphinx.

Thomas Alva Edison is honored at Music Hall.

1931  Society of American Florists and Ornamental Horticulturists hold National Flower and Garden Show.

1935  The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra returns to Music Hall.

Greater Cincinnati Women's Exposition is held.
Cincinnati Municipal and Industrial Exposition is held.

1937  Music Hall is almost razed as fire hazard, but is saved by general remodeling and upgrading

to meet standards.

1939  The Music Hall Association files for reorganization under the Bankruptcy Act.

1941  Miami Valley Industry and Defense Exposition is held, furthering the regional effort in World War II.

The City of Cincinnati acquires title and responsibility for Music Hall complex.

1946  University of Cincinnati Bearcats basketball joins wrestling and boxing for three seasons in North Wing.

1954  Music Hall foyer redecorated for first time since construction in 1878.

WCET, the nation's first licensed educational TV station, debuts from Dexter Hall (third floor of Music Hall).

1957  Springer Auditorium receives general refurbishing in red, grey, off-white and gold.

1959  Topper Club's Egyptian decor gives way to Hawaiian theme, including world's largest color photomural--

showing Diamond Head above Waikiki.

1964  Corbett Foundation led by J. Ralph Corbett and Patricia Corbett donates rebuilding of backstage area--

leading off series of major improvements in Music Hall financed by Corbett donations in next 30 years.

1965  Mirror from old Burnet House Hotel (4th and Vine) is installed in Music Hall foyer.

1969  Corbett Foundation finances further major renovations, including addition of offices for performing arts

organizations, dressing rooms, Music Library, Green Room, seating, escalators, full-building air-conditioning, and Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers.

1970  Music Hall is added to National Register of Historic Places.

Exterior of building is sandblasted (with 400 tons of sand over 60 days).

1972  Corbett Foundation finances further major renovations, including new scenery shop and set storage area.

for opera and ballet, and new Corbett Tower on third floor (replacing Dexter Hall).

1973  Volunteer Music Hall Guides start giving tours of building.

1974  New seating is installed in Main Auditorium as gift of Corbett Foundation.

1975  A parking garage is completed to the west of the building -- a gift from Corbett Foundation -- with a skywalk

across Central Parkway connecting into Music Hall.
Baldwin electronic "wave form" organ is installed, as gift from Corbett Foundation, replacing the now decrepit original Hook Hastings instrument.
Music Hall is designated a National Historic Landmark.

1978  Music Hall celebrates its 100th anniversary with Centennial Saengerfest.

1984  Critic's Club opens off main foyer, as gift of Corbett Foundation and the Music Hall Association.

1985  Architectural lighting is installed for exterior of Music Hall, as gift of Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson.

1987  Jean Ries, the Executive Director of the Corbett Foundation, Joyce Van Wye, Louise Dieterle Nippert and

Norma Petersen meet to discuss what could be done to raise money for improvements in Music Hall.

1992  Music Hall Association merges to form Cincinnati Arts Association for joint management of Music Hall,

Memorial Hall and new Aronoff Center for the Arts.
The Society for the Preservation of Music Hall receives the 501(c)(3) designation and is formally established as a volunteer support organization to help preserve and enhance the Hall.
Corbett Foundation replaces seating in Springer (Main) Auditorium of Music Hall
Cincinnati Music Hall Association merges with the newly-formed Cincinnati Arts Association to provide for a common Board of Trustees and management of Music Hall, Hamilton County Memorial Hall, and the new Aronoff Center for the Arts

1994  Corbett Foundation finances refurbishing of Corbett Tower.

1996  President Bill Clinton speaks at Music Hall. President Clinton, then in the midst of a re-election campaign, is

endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police for his longtime support of law enforcement.

1998  American Classical Music Hall of Fame installs inaugural laureates in gala at Music Hall, commemorating 120

years of classical music tradition in this historic building.
Music Hall Ballroom (originally the old Topper Club) enjoys major transformation into an elegant state-of-the-art, multi-purpose ballroom and meeting facility.

2003  The 125th Anniversary of Cincinnati's historic Music Hall is celebrated in grand style.

Construction begins in the north wing of Music Hall on the new headquarters for the Cincinnati Opera. This necessitates moving the Cincinnati Arts Association's Music Hall staff to offices on the second floor of the south wing.

2004  In October, the Cincinnati Opera moves into the its new headquarters, the Corbett Opera Center.

2005  On January 13, the Corbett Opera Center is officially dedicated. The Center, is named for long-time

Cincinnati arts patrons J. Ralph and Patricia Corbett. The Corbett Foundation provided a $1.5 million lead grant for the project, as did the City of Cincinnati. The renovation gives the Opera a reception area and box office off Elm Street, ample space for administrative and production offices, meeting rooms, and rehearsal room, and restores much of the north wing's original facade, including the windows.
On May 25, the documentary Music Hall: Cincinnati Finds Its Voice premieres on CET, public television. The 90-minute program was conceived and funded by the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall, and produced by CET, in cooperation with SPMH and the Cincinnati Museum Center's Historical Society Library. The documentary is a finalist for a Post-Corbett Award.

2006  The Producers of the documentary Music Hall: Cincinnati Finds Its Voice are presented with regional Emmy.

Awards from National Academy of Television Arts Sciences, Ohio Valley Chapter, in the category of Documentary - Cultural for their work.

2007  Following several years of effort on the part of Society for the Preservation of Music Hall president Norma

Petersen, it is announced that the Mighty Wurlitzer organ which was originally created for Cincinnati's Albee Theatre, would be refurbished and installed in Music Hall's Ballroom, where a number of pieces from the Albee decorate the hall.

2009  The Albee Mighty Wurlitzer Organ is dedicated in a standing-room-only concert on Saturday, November 28th.

2010  The Music Hall Revitalization Committee is formed with Cincinnati business entrepreneur Jack Rouse at the

helm to oversee needed structural improvements to Music Hall.
Ennead Architects (formerly Polshek Partnership) of New York City was chosen as the design architect for the $100-million revitalization of Cincinnati's historic Music Hall
The Community Counseling Service Company, LLC, a fundraising consulting and management firm, will provide philanthropic support for the revitalization effort.

2012  The Music Hall Revitalization Committee holds public sessions on the plan to renovate Music Hall. now slated

to begin in spring of 2013.
Jack Rouse resigns as head of MHRC and is replaced by Otto M. Budig, Jr.
Plans to renovate Music Hall are further delayed as the City of Cincinnati and the Music Hall Revitalization Committee are unable to reach agreement on a long-term lease of the hall to the non-profit group.
President Barack Obama attended the first town hall meeting of the 2012 campaign season, held in the Music Hall Ballroom.

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