Best Of 2019

Best Retro Advertising: “Yesterday Today Tomorrow”

The wheat-paste mural installed last summer on a boarded-up cinderblock building at Lincoln and Gilbert avenues in Walnut Hills is in tatters now. Its old advertising slogans have been scattered by the wind. But “Yesterday Today Tomorrow” was never meant to be permanent, artists Janet Creekmore and Ben Jason Neal say. Instead, they wanted to create an appropriately scrappy reminder of the black-owned flower shops, salons, pharmacies, photo studios and other businesses that took care of Cincinnati’s African-American population during segregation. Working with the neighborhood’s historical society and redevelopment foundation, Creekmore and Neal highlighted advertising from the past to help build pride in today’s residents and, especially, spark dialogue about the area’s needs now and in the future. “If it swims, we got it,” Thatcher Poultry & Fish Market promised. Major Federal Savings and Loan told customers that “No one understands the way we do what being black is all about.” When stars like Willie Mays and Count Basie were denied lodging downtown, they knew they would be treated like royalty at the Manse Hotel. This January, there were fresh indications that it pays to advertise. Cincinnati City Council approved historic landmark status for the Manse building and an annex on Chapel Street to protect them from demolition and guide their renovation into affordable senior housing. “Yesterday Today Tomorrow,” 900 block of Lincoln Avenue, Walnut Hills, walnuthillsrf.org.