Cincinnati: First German Reformed Church

The First German Reformed Church is a stunning brick and limestone structure at Freeman & Hulbert, dating all the way back to 1850.

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It became known as the Freedom Avenue United Church of Christ after World War II, and closed in 1975.  If you have any photographs or personal stories from this time period, I’d love to hear from you, because I haven’t been able to find much due to its remarkably long period of vacancy.

The Over The Rhine A.D.O.P.T. program, which fills vacant local historical buildings with tenants who intend to renovate them, found a set of buyers with good intentions who purchased the property in 2011 to create a gallery space and restaurant.  Unfortunately, the damage to the church proved extensive and overwhelming, and the project did not succeed.  No posts have been made on its Facebook page since 2012.  Someone appeared to be living in the sanctuary during my visit.

However…it no longer seems to be listed with OTR, and a comment made in July 2017 on Sherman Cahal’s article alleges that the program found yet another set of prospective renovators who hope to turn the church into a climbing gym.  Hopefully everything goes well!



First German Reformed Church –

First German Reformed Church and Parsonage, Freeman Avenue and Hulbert – The Public Library of Cincinnati

8 thoughts on “Cincinnati: First German Reformed Church

  1. It must have been stunning in its prime. I have NEVER understood those who vandalize/destroy stained glass. So beautiful and so unique – particularly those pieces in churches. I shouldn’t be shocked but I am that a city would allow such a beautiful piece of architecture to fall to such ruin. Here’s hoping the gym idea works out.


    1. You’re right. There are a lot of consequences to consider, and similar projects here in Detroit haven’t often played out gracefully in terms of neighborhood disruption and gentrification. It would be cool to stop the damage to the building, but it sucks that it usually happens at the expense of the neighbors.


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