Thursday, June 16, 2016

Save the Gardens

Photo: Wikipedia

The Cincinnati Gardens is on its death bed.

I was stunned today when I heard the news that the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority had entered into an agreement to purchase the Gardens and demolish it to make room for future development. The old arena in the Bond Hill section of Cincinnati would be no more. After I heard the news, I took to Twitter and tried to find out more info but all I found was articles from different local news outlets with the same story. I did however find one random tweet that was a petition to keep the Gardens open.

I was thrilled to find someone who cared about the venue as much as I did. I immediately signed the petition and retweeted it.

But why do I love this venue so much? What makes it so special?

The Gardens is 67 years old and the first event there was an exhibition game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Dallas Texans on February 22, 1949. The last event would have been a Cincinnati Roller girls game earlier this month. In between, it hosted concerts, political rallies, boxing, pro wrestling, circuses, numerous sports teams, and thousands of other events both big and small throughout the years.

For me, it's the place where I saw my first live wrestling show with my dad and in recent years, I saw a handful of other events there. For many others it's the place where they saw Oscar Robertson play when he was a member of the Cincinnati Royals, it's the old hockey barn where teams like the Mohawks, Swords, Cyclones, Mighty Ducks, and Xavier University hockey played. When you walk into to an event there, you feel connected to the past and it has character.  The lobby, the old ticket windows, the old signage, everything. It's character and it's what sets it apart from its soulless downtown cousin U.S. Bank Arena.

After I heard the news today, I felt like I had to do everything I could to save the Gardens. But now, after sitting on it for a bit, maybe it's good that the old arena sees it final days. Maybe it's good that it gets demolished for more jobs that may or may not ever come. I can't help but think that if the Gardens does get demolished for many it will be like losing a family member. I know it will be for me.

If you want to sign the petition to help save the Cincinnati Gardens from demolition, click here. If you want to share it on social media, please use the hashtag #savethegardens

I feel better for talking about this now. It was just one of those things I had to get off my chest and I appreciate you reading my ramblings on an old, forgotten arena. I sure will miss the old place if it does meet its demise and I'll probably be there the day they drop the wrecking ball on it taking pictures just so I can say I was there to say my goodbyes.


  1. Something similar happened with the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. People get really nostalgic about these old places, but once the new arena is built it is hard to find ways to utilize it. The cost to maintain the building is more than it is to knock it down. If they can knock down Yankee Stadium pretty much every other stadium doesn't have a chance.

    1. I agree Matt. If old Yankee Stadium can get knocked down then nothing else is safe. It's just sad to see a local icon like this potentially go by the wayside and get demolished. The sad thing that the Gardens is a fantastic venue but like you said, it may cost more to maintain it (it also needs to be brought up to code) than it is to knock it down.