Effort to Save Historic Murals Moves Forward

In an effort to save the iconic industrial murals that hang in the two shuttered terminals slated for demolition at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Mayor John Cranley has resurrected the city’s Mural Preservation Task Force.

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In an effort to save the iconic industrial murals that hang in the two shuttered terminals slated for demolition at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Mayor John Cranley has resurrected the city’s Mural Preservation Task Force.

The task force, originally launched by Cranley’s predecessor Mark Mallory, is set to meet Oct. 30 and is comprised of historic preservationists, engineers, community leaders and airport officials. The group is charged with raising the money to move the nine mosaic murals into a new home before Terminals 1 and 2 are demolished, as well as overseeing the works’ installation into a new space. The committee last met in August of 2013.

The southwest corner of the Duke Energy Convention Center is the favored space for the works. The estimated cost to move the mosaics is $2 million, but with no public campaign drive in effect, the task force has only raised $22,780.

The murals were originally installed in Union Terminal in 1933, but they were moved to the airport after train service ceased in 1972. A committee dubbed Saved the Terminal campaigned for nearly two years to convince the public that the murals were worth saving.

The murals, designed by German-born artist Winold Reiss, are made up of nickel-to-dime-sized glass tiles set on a painted plaster background and mounted on a concrete backing.

Based on photographs taken by Reiss, the works depict old industrial scenes of Cincinnati: steelmakers, soap-makers, ink-makers and airplane builders. One portrays three P&G workers handling ivory bars of soap; another shows two workers assembling laundry equipment at the Cincinnati-based factory American Laundry Machinery, Inc

Demolition of the terminals is scheduled for 2015.

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