800 Broadway - Hamilton County Courts Building, Cincinnati (formerly the Times-Star Building)
The 800 Broadway building in Cincinnati, Ohio, which houses the Hamilton County courts.
Completed in 1931, the former Times-Star Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. 800 Broadway was renovated by GBBN Architects and now primarily houses the Hamilton County Courts.
The Art Deco styled building was designed by Eldridge Hannaford of Samuel Hannaford & Sons.
The decorated facade plays homage to the printing and publishing businesses. Two hundred feet above the street stand four pillars at each of the tower's corners, they represent patriotism, truth speed and progress.
The newspaper plant occupied the first six stories. The floors above were offices. The Cincinnati Times-Star was an outgrowth of several newspapers and was owned by Cininnati's Taft family. Charles Phelps Taft was editor.
The building was bought by Hamilton County in the the late 1980s, it is used for county offices.
If you've ever had the pleasure of viewing the glamorous lobby of the Times-Star Building downtown, chances are you probably weren't wowed by the stunning Art Deco interior. For that matter, you probably could have cared less about the architectural detail and decor. In fact, you were probably counting down the minutes until you could walk back out those spectacular front doors. That's because you were likely there to attend either Juvenile Court or Domestic Court, which have been housed in this former newspaper center since 1992, when the building was purchased by Hamilton County.
This structure is worth so much more than a trip to the court system, however, and I highly recommend stopping by, taking in the finer details of this masterpiece and having a brief chat with the friendly and informative security guards the next time you're strolling downtown.
Samuel Hannaford & Sons -- a veritable powerhouse of local structural design -- is the architecture firm behind the Times-Star building, which was built from 1931 to 1933. It's one of the premium examples of architecture in the Art Deco style that Cincinnati has to offer.
The structure was commissioned by the dynastic Taft family, which has played a pivotal role not only in the development of Cincinnati but in our nation's history as well. Charles, editor of The Times-Star, and his wife Anna commissioned the building to house the newspaper and are honored in the lobby via metal relief portraits that flank the Broadway entrance.
Attorney Charles Phelps Taft, half-brother of President William Howard Taft began construction on the Times-Star building in 1929. Charles Phelps Taft lived with his wife, Anna Sinton Taft, in now what is known as the Taft Museum, a federal home built downtown in 1820, their home and its artifacts generously bequeathed by the couple to the City of Cincinnati in 1927.
Upon entering through the gilded gold arched entrance, you’re drawn into an expansive marbled lobby, splashed with decadence, sporting underlying geometric floors. Art deco decorum is evident in the carved symbols depicting the printing trade, entangled with various depictions of American eagles, encompassing patriotism. Norman-style recessed ceiling panels draw your eye upward to the carefully appointed chandelier draped by a grand balcony. On the first floor and balcony, the elevators’ doors are designed with images of strong mythological women.
The entire statuary program by Ernest Haswell and Jules Byrs was created to symbolize journalism and learning. The front exterior of the building manifests tremendous statues of Franklin and Gutenberg, aptly representing the printing trade. Adjacent to these figures you’ll find Caxton and Elzevier, other saintly icons of profession.
Four large carvings anchored on the crown of the tower are purported to signify Truth, Patriotism, Progress, and Speed, honorable values of the newspaper business during the era. The southeast corner statue is presumed to be Dante, an educated philosopher and versatile writer. Another of the four is a bewigged jurist, representing truth.
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