Endangered Structures

CHAPS continually monitors important structures across Butler County that face the threat of demolition.

circa 1880's


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.

circa 1911

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.


circa 1929

The 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. The 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.


circa 1923

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.
Middletown 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 be demolished.

circa 1875


The 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.

Citizens for Historic and Preservation Services
P.O. Box 1276| Hamilton, Ohio 45012