Music Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio, reopened in October 2017

11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Cincinnati's Icons - Music Hall

  • Constructed: 1878
  • Architect: Samuel Hannaford
  • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Music Hall, designed by Samuel Hannaford, was built in 1878 with private money raised from what is believed to be the nation’s first matching-grant fund drive. Music Hall is located in Over-the-Rhine, a nationally significant neighborhood that has undergone significant revitalization since its inclusion on the 11 Most Endangered list in 2006. The red brick, High Victorian Gothic structure features a large auditorium, ornate foyer, offices, carpentry shop, rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, and a ballroom.

Music Hall is owned by the City of Cincinnati and is home to the Cincinnati Arts Association, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Ballet, and the May Festival. On February 28, 2016, the Music Hall Revitalization Company announced that $130 million of its $135 million fundraising goal had been secured, including a $16 million grant from the City of Cincinnati, $5 million from the State of Ohio, $45 million in tax credit equity including a $25 million catalytic award from the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, and $64 million in private donations. Rehabilitation of Music Hall began in June 2016 and concluded in fall 2017. Music Hall reopened to the public in October 2017.

The renovation touched every area of the 139-year-old iconic structure, making it the first comprehensive update of the building in more than 40 years. The historical aspects of Music Hall were restored, while the renovation simultaneously blended in modern upgrades and amenities. Features of the renovated Hall include new seating in Springer Auditorium, additional restrooms, new elevators and concession areas, and a larger stage that extends farther into the auditorium. While countless historical details were restored, the greatest changes can be seen inside Corbett Tower, where a drop ceiling was removed to reveal an additional 14 feet above it. The vaulted ceiling featured an intricate stenciling pattern that has been carefully recreated, and formerly bricked-over windows have been opened to provide stunning views of Washington Park across the street. In addition, brick staining on the building’s facade has returned the Hall’s exterior closer to its original appearance.

Campaign Goals

  • Continue to support the Cultural Facilities Task Force's efforts to outline a restoration plan for Music Hall
  • Raise awareness about the Music Hall's needs and build a broad base of support for rehabilitation


Music Hall is moving forward with a full rehabilitation thanks to a multi-layered, public-private funding strategy.

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Announcing the 2024 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

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