Cincinnati's impressive 'Old Main' public library
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Cincinnati's impressive 'Old Main' public library

From the Collection of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. 

Cincinnati, Ohio's current downtown public library branch is grand in its own right as one of the busiest branches in the country. But its predecessor, demolished in the spring of 1955, was nothing short of stunning. Built in 1874, the 'Old Main' library was originally intended to be an opera house, with a towering atrium that instead became home to five tiers of stacked bookshelves. 

I've made many trips to Cincinnati's current main library and though it's a lovely modern building in itself, I never imagined its predecessor was so spectacular. There's no trace of it left where it stood on Main street, so the library's effort to preserve these photos and make them available to the public is especially meaningful to me as a fan of libraries and local history. Maybe it's worth a look into the archives of your own public library to find some images of what used to exist where you live - you may discover something truly wonderful.