Track-walker children in Mariemont

Track-walker kids

I got this shot in Mariemont over the weekend. Liked it, so wanted to share.

I was checking out an old, what appeared to be, foundry near the tracks which I discovered just driving around checking out parts of our town that I have never known before. It’s a hobby and feeds my insatiable curiosity.

Abandoned and laden with graffiti, the building is about half covered in green-leaved vines. The kids I ran into said they had no idea what it used to be, suggesting either a water tower (which seemed unlikely because of all the windows) or a train station (which also seemed unlikely because it is probably 50-feet high from the foundation – which is elevated about 20 feet from the tracks – with no easy in and out points).

Anyone have an idea or actually know the building’s former or intended use?

Author: Joe Wessels

Joe Wessels is a freelance journalist and photographer. Wessels covers local news events for Thomson Reuters news service and features for About.com's Cincinnati Guide site, plus is the executive director of hyperlocal news site, iRhine.com. He wrote for The Cincinnati Post, covering Cincinnati City Hall and Hamilton County government and wrote a weekly political column, which continued weekly at Cincinnati CityBeat. Previously, he was a reporter for the Cincinnati Business Courier and writes or has written for several publications in Cincinnati and around the country including The Cincinnati Enquirer, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine and the Sacramento News & Review. He is a native of Colerain Township, one of Cincinnati's western suburbs, and now lives in Over-the-Rhine near downtown Cincinnati. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a journalism writing certificate from the University of Cincinnati. He also graduated from Colerain High School, is an avid photographer, news junkie and was once a roller rink disc jockey, and sometimes rides a scooter around town.

12 thoughts on “Track-walker children in Mariemont”

  1. If you are talking about the old building behind/near the McDonalds and Arbys off Wooster Pike – that was the original Steam Plant for Mariemont. Original buildings were all centrally heated from that common source, there are tunnels all over the place under Mariemont that dispersed the steam to both public and private buildings!

  2. That would be the building I was talking about. Thanks for replying, Chuck.

    How incredibly fascinating is that? I had no idea. I wanted to go inside, despite the rather uncouth spray-painted sign “You gonna get raped” inside the doorway and the “All who enter frogot (sic) all hope” above the broken-down fence door. But didn’t – mostly because an uncovered manhole about five feet into the building and figured there would probably be more. Without a flashlight and not wanting to get my headlamp from the car, I figured someone else could tell what I would find inside. Then, maybe go back another time.

  3. Great pic! Having grown up in Mariemont during the 60’s and 70’s, my brother and I and our friends had many adventures in that old scary plant! Being junior vandals of our day, every time the city/railroad/whoever tried to close it up, we’d bust in again. Inside, there were still remnants of the juice processing company that took over the property (broken crates and bottles, etc) as well as plenty of places to explore. The manhole you saw dropped into a basement area that could be partly filled with water, mud or dirt depending on season and river levels. The main section of the plant had metal stairs and catwalks in various states of rust/disrepair that made an assent to the roof interesting to say the least! At some point, many of the metal grate catwalk floor sections were removed, so you sometimes had to work your way across the girder supports to the next complete section of walkway. Near the top, you traversed the funnel-like coal bins and finally reached a short steel ladder that put you up through an old roof hatch. Still one of the best views of the Little Miami river valley and Newtown you’ll ever have!

  4. Thanks, David! Wow, what a great story and recollection of the building. Honestly, I was a little too chicken to go in there myself – alone. But might have if I was with another person or persons.

    Going to the roof sounds incredibly – but I doubt I could make it to the roof. I may be the son of a bricklayer – but narrow walkways at great heights is not my bailiwick.

  5. Wow, it’s interesting that other people know of this place, too. I just went there for the third time today. There no longer exists a ladder that takes you up to the catwalks and rafters. It was torn down. Now it just lay there in a rusted heap with mounds of dirt and brick. The doves that inhabit the upper floors sounded a bit frightful. I wish I had wings, too, so I could fly to the roof. I also walk the train tracks all of the time after work. I usually sit on the semi-covered bridge across the river. Just yesterday I was surprised to know that the train still crosses it. I thought the tracks were abandoned.

  6. hey, my name is Mandy me and my friend walk the tracks all the time, if you walk along there are more interesting things to see.

  7. I have been to this building many times I am 14 years old it is really fun to go. There is actually a way to the roof but you have to be willing to put your life at risk and climb 4 floors on rusty pipes to get to the next floor. When you first enter the building it is dark there will be a stair case to your right once you climb those stairs it will be bright i didnt have fear of that but I myself havent climbed to the roof but a few of my friends have they said it was the scarest thing they have ever done in there life.

  8. I actually live right across the river from that place. It’s quite an amazing experience to climb to the top. Done it with Sean and his friends a good bit. We’ve even affectionately nicknamed the building due to all the adventures we had there.

  9. In my youth (mid-late 1960’s) I went to the roof of the old heating plant many times with my friends. Ladders and catwalks were in place as the plant had not been closed (1955) long at that time. If memory serves me correctly some kids were on the roof sometime in the 1980’s and the roof collapsed under one of the kids and he died as a result. This perhaps explains the removal of the ladder which gave easy access to the roof.

  10. You may think I’m crazy but a few of my friends and I did all kinds of research and paranormal investigations of that building back in 2000. I have tried to get a few paranormal investigators to go there but have not had any luck. I truly believe it is haunted. If I remember correctly we found some articles about deaths that occurred there. We had a really hard time even finding information about the building and what it was used for. We ended up downtown at the main library where we found old maps of the area, but we found very little information about the building itself. I always think about the experiences I had when I drive by there, the hair on my neck still stands up to this day. If anyone finds more information about the building I would love to hear about it, you can really feel the history of that place!

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