continually monitors important structures across Butler County that face the threat
The longtime home of several
of Hamilton's most prominent industries, the brick
structures standing along today's Martin Luther King
Boulevard between Dayton and Heaton Streets were constructed
in many phases. The plant facing Heaton originally housed
the Hooven, Owners, Rentschler Company (H.O.R.), a company
that produced steam and diesel engines. The Italianate
factory facing Dayton originally housed the Bender Company,
a construction outfit. The entire complex was later acquired
by the Beckett Paper Company, which had operated at the
center of the site since 1848. After multiple acquisitions,
the Beckett Mill was most recently operated by Mohawk Fine
Papers until early 2012.
Now vacant, the interior of
the site's buildings have been scrapped of machinery,
mechanicals, and systems. No viable reuse plan has been
shared by the current ownership.
The imposing Middletown Public Library building opened with
a $25,000 Carnegie grant just months before the Great Flood
of 1913, suffering only minimal damage. Designed by George
Barkman of Hamilton, the library is one of only two Carnegie
funded libraries in Butler County. The building received
additions in 1932 and 1959 before being abandoned for a new
library that opened closer to downtown in 1983. Later
acquired by a women’s shelter, the building was temporarily
occupied, but went vacant in the mid-2000's.
CHAPS created the Carnegie Action Committee (CAC)with local
residents and later acquired the building in November 2007
out of foreclosure. After cleaning out debris, boarding the
building, and paying off fines and back taxes, CHAPS
transferred the building to a local businessman.
Redevelopment never moved forward and further decay of the
property has occured due to a failing roof. A new owner has
acquired the building.
Studio opened in 1929 as the Strand Theater. When the
theater closed in 1959, downtown still had two other
theaters, the Colonial on Main and the Paramount on Broad.
Paramount closed in 1963 and was demolished for the
construction of the City Center Mall parking garage. The
Colonial was located in the Sorg Opera House.
In 1964, the Strand reopened as the Studio Theater by
Associated Theaters of Cincinnati. At that time, the
interior underwent extensive renovations and the marquee was
modernized. The Studio operated until 1984 and has been
inconsistently occupied since.
Presently owned by the City of Middletown, the
building's furture is undetermined.
VAIL MIDDLE SCHOOL
Vail Middle School was originally constructed as Middletown
High School in 1923. The new high school was part of a
building program that included the construction of two new
elementary schools (Lincoln and Garfield) and two new junior
highs (McKinley and Roosevelt). The school contained a 1300
seat auditorium and fifty-five classrooms. Constructed on
massive proportions, the school's facade contains several
inscriptions including "Religion and Education are the
Safeguards of Our Nation." In 1969, a new high school was
completed and the building became Vail Middle School, now
Middletown Middle School.
voters approved a levy in May 2014 to construct a new middle
school. Unless a new use is found for the building after the
new school opens, the building could
HAMILTON, & DAYTON RAILROAD STATION
Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Dayton Railroad (CH&D RR) was
chartered in 1846 and began operation in 1851. The railroad
was instrumental to Hamilton's industrial growth, carrying
both materials and goods, as well as passengers. The CH&D
constructed the Hamilton station circa 1875 in railroad
vernacular. In 1885, a two-story addition was constructed
with Victorian Romanesque details. A one-story connector
bridges the two structures. The CH&D Railroad was acquired
by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1917 and underwent a
series of mergers and acquisitions. The station became a
stop on Amtrak's Cardinal Line between Washington D.C. and
Chicago in 1982.
In 2005, Amtrak stopped serving the station,
although the Cardinal Line still passes by the depot three
times each week. The station is marginally maintained,
although one of the distinctive large wall dormers with
elaborate stone trim has collapsed. The station is awkwardly
situated between two forking rail lines and a MLK Boulevard,
making redevelopment a greater challenge.