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Carew Tower

Built: 1927-1931
Type: Skyscraper
Stories: 50
Maximum Height: 574 feet / 175 meters
Location: 441 Vine Street, Cincinnati, United States
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C onstructed at the height of Cincinnati's prominence, this is still the city's most identifiable structure, and also its tallest building. The stock market crash that triggered The Great Depression happened just a month after groundbreaking, but construction continued anyway in a slightly modified form. Its original grand details were left off above the third floor. From there up to the top the building is clad in simple brick rather than the architectural motifs, friezes, and decorative metal that so typifies an art deco building. The Carew Tower follows the style of the time with a strong base, followed by a rising shaft and a tapered top. Built next door, and attached to the Carew Tower, is the Tower Place mall. While it is designed to appear as one continuous building, the mall was built many years later and is owned by a different company. There is a public observation deck at the top. To get there, take the elevator to the 46th floor, then go left and around the corner to a tiny secondary elevator which will bring you to the 48th floor. It's up to you to walk up the stairs to the 50th floor. A $3.00 admission fee is charged at this level, and you will be given a photocopied sheet of paper detailing the building's history. Please note that there is no cage or fence separating you from the sky. This is great, as it affords an unobstructed view in all directions. But if you suffer from a touch of vertigo, it can be disturbing. With no security and no fence, there is the occasional suicide. In 1998 someone jumped to his death with a video camera rolling. On a clear day you can see the states of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.

  • Most people don't know it, but there is a parking garage underneath the Carew Tower. Rather than access it with ramps, it carries cars on an elevator and has a turntable to spin delivery trucks around.
  • Carew Tower's resemblance to the Empire State Building has not gone unnoticed. In the 1980's a giant inflatable gorilla was attached to the upper floors.

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Saturday, May 22nd, 2010 @ 8:37pm
I have a small compact that belonged to my Grandmother. It was bought at the gift shop at Carew Tower in the late 20's. It's so cute. When you open it a small round mirror pops up. I don't think she ever used it. It's so totally addorable.

Linda Farrar
Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 @ 8:44am
Does anyone remember a female Shropodist that had an office there in the 30's or 40's?

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 @ 6:24pm
i worked in the old pogue department store for twnety years until it was sold off by the may company. i very fond memories of the beautiful rookwood tiles and the beautiful store fronts. its a shame that downtown has been allowed to deteriorate like it has. i have moved to pa., and was shocked to visit last summer to see how poor downtown looks. even fountain square looks like a war zone. it was a beautiful city, but so sadly gone down hill.

Monday, June 26th, 2006 @ 11:45am
I seem to remember a Miro mural or a copy of same in an expensive shoe store that was one of the Arcade shops. I have been told I am wrong. Can anyone enlighten me about this?

Buzz Turner
Wednesday, December 8th, 2004 @ 3:20pm
Rating: Four stars.
I used to work in this unique building. Designed as an "arcade" building, it housed the a Penny's department store on one side, the H & S Pogue store on the other and the Netherland Plaza Hotel above, along with an office tower. The mall mentioned here has replaced the department stores and is in fact inside the tower, not attached...the parking garage is attached. One significant feature to look for if you visit is the amazing Rookwood tiles...

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