Business News

Cincinnati Railroad Club to digitize, preserve 70,000-item library collection

An effort to digitize the 70,000-item collection of the Cincinnati Railroad Club’s library is currently underway. Known as the Cincinnati Rail History Preservation Project, the three-year undertaking will for the first time organize the materials acquired by the library since the club’s founding in 1938.

Ari Buchwald, who is directing the project through Edgecliff Press, is assisting the club in its intent for most non-copyrighted materials to be made available online, including geomapping of the library’s thousands of original photographs. He believes that the digitized library will be of interest to the general public, not just railroad enthusiasts, due to the overlap of many of its materials with other interests. For those doing genealogical research, Buchwald says that digitization will enable quick searches of employee records and that facial recognition software will locate photographs of deceased relatives.

According to club member Roy Hord, the collection grew substantially in size and eclecticism after dumpster-diving efforts recovered items from the 1972 demolition of Union Terminal’s passenger concourse. A second salvage project – the recovery of materials from the old B&O warehouse (now Longworth Hall) – fills an entire room of the library’s off-site storage space.

Much storage space is also dedicated to hundreds of blueprints dating from the construction of Union Terminal and other area rail projects. Digitization of blueprints and other large items is being handled by Robin Imaging, one of the Rail Preservation Project’s in-kind partners.

Buchwald expects that the digitization will permit the club to earn royalties from the licensing of specific items and that it will greatly facilitate the task of publishing new books (the club has published three books to date, including Cincinnati Union Terminal: Design and Construction of an Art Deco Masterpiece). These future returns are not sufficient to finance the digitization, and so Buchwald is leading a $1 million fundraising campaign that will determine the project’s eventual completion, and enable him to hire a full-time staff.

Ari Buchwald photograph by Jake Mecklenborg for UrbanCincy.

Arts & Entertainment Business News

Top bartenders rally at Neon’s Unplugged for leadership cause

Molly Wellmann and Leadership Northern Kentucky have partnered with Neon’s Unplugged and Covington’s Homeward Bound Runaway Shelter to host an event March 31 from 6pm to 9pm at the Famous Neon’s Unplugged. This night highlights the efforts and works of Cincinnati’s premier mixologists.

Wellmann, who is opening her own bar this summer, explains, “Bartending used to be such a respected occupation. It’s kind of fallen away from that, but we’re trying to bring that back.”

Wellmann, a Colerain High School graduate, got her start in cocktail mixlogy by convincing the owner of Chalk Food + Wine in Covington, that she could make classic and craft cocktails. “I totally fibbed,” she says. “I had no idea. I guess it was one of those ‘fake it until you make it’ things. I had to go home and Google ‘craft cocktails.’”

She was soon immersed in the world of cocktail mixology, surrounding herself with the history and lure of the once noble profession, which she now extols to many of her patrons. “I love to introduce new drinks for people to want,” she says. “That’s my favorite thing to do. I love to tell them the story behind their cocktail and give them an experience besides just getting a drink. After they’re done with the drink, they can take the story with them.”

The desire to introduce new things for people to want is what led Wellmann to Leadership Northern Kentucky (LNK), a group of 40 emerging regional leaders deeply immersed in a fundraising project to furnish the Homeward Bound Runaway Shelter in Covington. The leadership group, a program of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, approached Wellmann about helping out with a fundraising event. She ran with it, rallying some of the region’s top bartenders and mixologists to the cause.

Wellmann’s Molly’s Rose-Covered Pectorals is highlighted, as are original creations by Joshua Laichas of Milton’s Prospect Hill Tavern; Chris Blagg of The Famous Neon’s Unplugged; Bret Schulte of Down Under Tavern; Stuart MacKenzie of Mayday; Rom Wells of Rookwood Bar and Restaurant; Adrian Bakie of The Comet; K.K. Keller of The Lackman Bar; Kim Denzler of Mainstay Rock Bar; Sam Ginocchio of the soon-to-open A Tavola; and Julie Paul of Maribelle’s Tavern.

A book will be available at a March 31 public kick-off party at Neon’s (208 E. 12th Street). The cost will be $5, and thanks to the generosity of B+P+T Communication Solutions, xpedx, Lucky Rabbit Studio and photographer Tiffani Fisher, 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit Homeward Bound.

Additionally, from 6pm to 9pm on March 31, Neon’s will donate $2 for each of the book’s classic cocktails sold. And for the entire month of April, each of the businesses highlighted in the book will donate $2 for each of the featured cocktails it sells.

“What makes this project special is that, at its core, it’s about building community and making connections,” said Jody Robinson, a member of Leadership Northern Kentucky and chair of the March 31 event. “People are doing inspiring things everywhere. We only have to be willing to look, share and appreciate. Doing the same old thing – where’s the leadership in that?”

Molly Wellmann photograph by Thadd Fiala for UrbanCincy.

News Transportation

Make Cincinnati’s Frequent Transit Map a reality by donating online

In January, Nathan Wessel debuted a new transit map for Cincinnati’s Metro bus service. Wessel developed the map to simplify transit ridership and hopefully encourage new riders to utilize the system. Now he is looking to take the map to the next level and actually get the thing produced by raising money through Kickstarter.

Kickstarter claims to be the “largest funding platform for creative projects in the world” and helps raise millions of dollars through tens of thousands of donations every month. The micro-fundraising strategy is one first popularized and mastered during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

The website only works though if the project raises its fundraising goal within its allotted time. If the goal is not reached then no money exchanges hands. In the case of Wessel’s Frequent Transit Map for Cincinnati, he is looking to raise $1,200 which will produce more than 30,000 copies of the 3.7-inch squared carrying map.

People like those featured in the video, produced by Wessel, who would like to see his product become reality can pledge money online through Kickstarter. Individuals who pledge more than $5 will get a copy of the produced map. Additional tokens of appreciation will be given to those who contribute more, and are explained in detail on the project’s fundraising page. All pledges must be made by Wendesday, April 20 at 3:15pm.

Arts & Entertainment News

Musical exchange program helps kids in need

Is your guitar from college looking a little underused? Joseph-Beth Books and UC’s CCM will collect used musical instruments for local music students this weekend at the store located at Rookwood Pavilion.

LINKS, or Lonely Instruments for Needy Kids, is a scholarship program run by UC’s College-Conservatory of Music. School music teachers apply for the reconditioned instruments on behalf of students unable to afford to rent or purchase their own. Local 1st- through 12th-grade students benefit from the contributions of instruments, which are reconditioned, cleaned and tuned by Buddy Rogers.

Bring unwanted instruments to Joseph-Beth, 2692 Madison Rd., Hyde Park, on Saturday from 10-5 or Sunday 12-5, for placement with a young musician in need. All donations are tax-deductible. Joseph Beth Booksellers will donate 20% of all book sales and 10% of all Brontë Bistro sales to LINKS during these collection days.