The Fate of 1329 Walnut and Mercer Commons
It has come to my attention that 1329 Walnut St. may soon be on the chopping block to make way for the Mercer Commons development by 3CDC. Mercer Commons is a $51 million development that will bring new commercial and residential units to a large area in the heart of OTR. Restoration of over a dozen buildings and new construction on 25 vacant parcels is planned. Since at least April 2010, 3CDC has been releasing renderings of Mercer Commons that do not include 1329 Walnut and 1314 Vine. Permission to demolish 1329 Walnut has not yet been granted and there must be a public hearing before any demolition can take place.
The following two renderings show the location of 1329 Walnut outlined in yellow:
It should be noted that 3CDC’s preservation and restoration efforts in Over-the-Rhine have been exemplary, and Mercer Commons is an exciting project that will dramatically improve Over-the-Rhine. This post deals with two buildings that may be demolished to make way for progress.
The view of 1314 Vine from 1329 Walnut, photo credit: Danny Klingler:
A street view of the building:
The following maps and research were contributed by research historian Ann Senefeld of Digging Cincinnati History:
According to this source, 1329 Walnut was an early meeting place of the General Swiss Colonization Society which would prove influential in the colonization of the western lands of the United States by Swiss and German immigrants. Its central office was in Cincinnati and branch societies existed in Sandusky, Milwaukee, Lexington, Louisville, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Terre Haute, Davenport, Dubuque, Indianapolis, Newport, Monroe, Memphis, Xenia, and Chicago among others.
“For a period in the early history of the society, its [the Swiss Colonization Society of Cincinnati] officers met in the “Deutsche Republik,” a wine-house, located at the corner of Walnut and Mercer Streets.”
In Daniel J. Kenny’s 1879 book Cincinnati Illustrated: A Pictorial Guide to Cincinnati and the Suburbs, the hall on the southwest corner of Walnut and Mercer is mentioned three times:
GERMAN PRINTERS ASSOCIATION Meets once every at the southwest corner of Mercer and Walnut streets Its membership is about fifty It partakes of the nature of a protective union combined with a relief society
HARUGARI MAENNERCHOR A men’s Singing society of 40 members Meets every Monday night at Turner, Walnut and Mercer streets. Arthur Mees, Director.
GREUTI RELIEF ASSOCIATION The membership is composed of Swiss residents exclusively It is devoted to mutual and sociability as its name implies The society numbem about two hundred persons Weekly meetings are held at the hall on the southwest corner of Mercer and Walnut streets
I concluded my article on the fate of 1314 Vine in this way:
Determining the fate of 1314 Vine Street would be better addressed sooner rather than later.
Now is the time to start the conversation.
What will be the fate of 1329 Walnut? The clock is ticking.