Music Hall Timeline

circa 1818  An orphanage is built on the property that will become Music Hall.

1830s  The land bordering Elm Street between 12th and 14th streets holds what's called a ''Pest House'' and

Potter's Field.

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.

1873  Maria Longworth Nichols and her husband George Ward Nichols organize the first May

Musical Festival. Theodore Thomas conducted the performances in Exposition Hall.

1875  Reuben R. 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). Read the story.
Charles Aiken, Superintendent of Music for Cincinnati Public Schools, leads city schoolchildren in raising $3,000 for new Music Hall.
The May Musical Festival presents the American premiere of Bach's Magnificat

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 the site for new Music Hall.
As cost estimates increase for the construction, Reuben Springer adds a donation of $20,000 to the project.

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 designed by Benn Pitman, Henry Lindley Fry, William Henry Fry, and carved by their mostly-female 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.
The College of Music is opens on October 14 and is housed in Dexter Hall, the top floor of Music Hall. Theodore Thomas shocks New York society by leaving that city to become the College's first Musical Director.

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

Following months of discord, Theodore Thomas resigns as Music Director of the College of Music.
A banquet celebrating the 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.

1881  Reuben R. Springer purchases property south of Music Hall for the purpose of constructing a permanent

home for the College of Music.

1883  Electric lighting is introduced at Industrial Exposition in Music Hall. Thomas Edison received a medal

at Music Hall for his invention of the incandescent light.

1884  Reuben Springer, philanthropist and benefactor of Music Hall, dies.

In October, The Odeon opens as the new home of the College of Music. This structure houses classrooms, a concert hall, and a two-manual pipe organ.
Courthouse Riot of 1884 begins with a rally at Music Hall. The riot resulted in the deaths of 20 and the burning of the courthouse.
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 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)

1902  President Theodore Roosevelt speaks to a crowd of over 8,000 in Music Hall Auditorium. His visit

could have ended in catastrophe, as sparks from an electrical wire set a curtain on fire in Mechnical (North) Hall. Exposition attendants put out the fire quickly and very few in the packed auditorium knew about the incident, thus averting a panic.

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 the May Festival and dedicates the statue of Theodore Thomas, which is now located in the northeast balcony area.

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.
President William Howard Taft attends May Festival, dedicating the statue of Theodore Thomas.

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.

1926  General plans for remodeling Music Hall are drawn up. $600,000 worth of improvements include

transforming the north wing into a sports arena that could be converted into an exposition hall, and renovation of the south wing to contain an exposition hall and a hall for dances, dinners and conventions.

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 a new (Topper Club) Ballroom.
On October 11, the College of Music unveils a new three-story office and studio building and achieves the largest student enrollment in its history.

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.
A concert is held at Music Hall to celebrate the anniversary of the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts - now Cincinnati ArtsWave - which was founded in 1927 by Mr. and Mrs. Charles P. and Anna Sinton Taft. .

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.
Music Hall serves as a clothing depot for the Red Cross, and as a central warehouse for food supplies, to aid families affected by the 1937 flood.

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.

In September, the City of Cincinnati acquires title and responsibility for Music Hall complex.
In October, workers cleaning the dome of the auditorium uncover the colorful mural painted by artist Arthur Thomas.

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

1949  A face lift begins for Music Hall.

1952  General Dwight D. Eisenhower appears at Music Hall as the Republican nominee for president.

1953  Cincinnati's first used car show is slated for September in Music Hall.

The World Premiere of ''Taming of the Shrew'' brings opera back to Music Hall.

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

Plans begin for a convention hall which would be linked to Music Hall.
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).
The Cincinnati Summer Opera moves from the Zoo to Music Hall, and opens with Arrigo Boito's Mefistofele.

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.

Music Hall was threatened with the loss of its liquor license in 1978 because it served alcohol during the showing of the controversial play Oh, Calcutta!.

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. By 1988, the group had grown, and evolved into The Society for the Preservation of 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.

1999  The Music Hall Timeline is installed in a west corridor of Music Hall.

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.
Cincinnati icon and philanthropist Louise Nippert dies just shy of her 101st birthday. Mrs. Nippert was devoted to the arts and was a generous supporter of music and Music Hall in Cincinnati. She was also one of the initial Trustees of SPMH.
Jack Rouse resigns as head of MHRC and is replaced by Otto M. Budig, Jr.
President Barack Obama attended the first town hall meeting of the 2012 campaign season, held in the Music Hall Ballroom.
In December, the City of Cincinnati and the Music Hall Revitalization Company reach an agreement on a lease of the building, with an eye to easing the work needed to fund renovation of the structure.

2013  The first LumenoCity event is held in renovated Washington Park, on August 3 and 4, to introduce

Louis Langree as the new music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The event featured a specially-designed lightshow on the facade of Music Hall and is an overwhelming success, drawing 35,000 people.

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