Best Of 2019

Best Restored Sign: The Woodward Theater

One of Cincinnati’s marquee music destinations has a new...er...marquee. The Woodward Theater, a popular music and events venue in Over-the-Rhine, received a $150,000 grant last year to bring back its historic exterior signage — a vital part of the neighborhood’s vibrant, diverse streetscape. Owners of the Woodward used the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Partners In Preservation grant to restore the theater’s original façade and install an electric sign and copper marquee designed by local artist Kate Schmidt. “Cincinnatians understand and embrace our city’s history,” said Woodward Theater co-owner Dan McCabe of the grant. “From our music, our beer, our baseball… to our unique architectural heritage. Cincinnati continues to demonstrate to other cities how to celebrate and leverage their history for future growth.” The Woodward was a movie house from 1913 to 1933. After that, the Beaux Arts-style building was home to an auto dealer, a grocery and an antiques business. McCabe and his partners started renovating The Woodward in 2013 and reopened it as an entertainment venue four years ago. McCabe says he and his partners always planned to rehab the building’s exterior but had to get the interior in shape first. In addition to the replaced signage, some of the grant money was used to recreate 52 rosettes that housed light bulbs on the original marquee, upgrade wiring, scrub the porcelain brick and other repairs. The Woodward won the PIP grant as part of a nationwide online contest. The Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, woodwardtheater.com.