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Take a peek over Jim Borgman's shoulder

Jim Borgman has been the Enquirer's editorial cartoonist since 1976. Borgman has won every major award in his field, including the 1991 Pulitzer Prize, the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 1993, and most recently, the Adamson Award in 2005 as International Cartoonist of the Year. His award-winning daily comic strip Zits, co-created with Jerry Scott, chronicles the life of 15-year-old Jeremy Duncan, his family and friends through the glories and challenges of the teenage years. Since debuting in July 1997, Zits has regularly finished #1 in reader comics polls across America and is syndicated in more than 1300 newspapers around the world.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Union Terminal Field Trip

You'd think that working for a newspaper editorial page would be about all the excitement a guy could handle, but you'd be wrong. The other day our department took a day-long field trip to visit behind the scenes at the 75-year-old Union Terminal building, current home of the Cincinnati Museum Center and formerly the most magnificent art deco train station ever built.

Head honcho Doug MacDonald and some of his staff took us into the bowels of the building, along the catwalks just behind the front windows of the building, and up over the top of the rotunda.

Here's a view to the left (into the rotunda) and then to the right (city view) through open windows on the highest catwalk. The catwalk is maybe three feet wide, sandwiched between two walls of windows.

The mechanism behind the huge clock on the front of the building.

The building's former life as a train station is still happily preserved. Check out these awesome mosaic murals. One stands beside the door for departing passengers, the other signals arrivals. How cool is that?

They've even preserved the color sketches the muralist worked from.

Eventually we made our way crosstown to the Geier Building, where the scientists and archivists do the real grunt work. They work with tons of great stuff -- stuffed mammals and birds, trilobytes, a whole roomful of snakes preserved in jars of alcohol, cool artifacts from Polynesian islands, Civil War uniforms and swords. They have drawers and drawers full of birds. It's nuts.

Thanks for prying us out of the office for a day, Doug. But that last photo reminds me, I've got deadlines.


at 3/14/08, 9:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

too bad ciny voted down using this for mass transit vs $4/gal gasoline

at 3/14/08, 10:17 AM Blogger LDP said...

Cool pictures. That view from behind the clock reminds of of the Musee D'Orsay in Paris, which was also originally a train station.

at 3/14/08, 11:44 AM Blogger who2 said...

What a treat, thank you, Jim and Enquirer. Yeah, why aren't we using it for mass transit. What are they thinking? Thanks, 9:45 for the reminder.


at 3/14/08, 11:55 AM Anonymous Ryan said...

Cool tour! Union Terminal is one of the greatest examples of Art Deco in the country

at 3/14/08, 9:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

are they going to sell it like music hall? question: if they sell all of cincy, will it still be cincy?

at 3/15/08, 8:23 AM Anonymous Dan said...

Very nice piece! Museum Center is truly a Cincinnati treasure, and a family membership is one of the great entertainment values for any family of school age kids. My own kids are in high school now and don't go much, but we still keep up the membership for discounts and the chance to go visit whenever my wife and I feel like it.

at 3/15/08, 10:24 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

its nice to see union terminal reborn and become a valuable asset for cincinnati. its come a long way from the 80's, whe it was falling apart and being scavenged as a mall.

perhaps its no longer accessible but the back side of the terminal had some real interesting train facilities. somewhere back there is the old interlocking tower for the yard full of long handles to throw the switches with.

at 3/15/08, 2:30 PM Anonymous Kilroy said...

Nice pictures, thanks Jim. When I was a kid and we would visit the city, I often imagined this was the building that the Super Friends used for the Hall of Justice in the old cartoon. Every time I see it today it brings back memories of my childhood.

at 3/15/08, 3:08 PM Blogger who2 said...

Is Music Hall or Memorial Hall or both being sold? I heard Memorial Hall might be bought. Great building and wonderful accoustics for both buildings.

When I was in Jr High School, in the 50's, we took a trip to Music Hall, how amazing that was, too.

Thanks, Jim, I like the discussions, cut and paste is discouraging. Say, Cut and Paste, can you discuss?


at 3/15/08, 4:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also enjoyed picture of clock mechanism (as well as all others), but it needed something/anything to give a "size" perspective.
Anyway, appreciate the blog, Jim

And feel free to moderate as you see fit - there really is too much of that other "stuff" on Enquirer blogs..

at 3/15/08, 6:01 PM Anonymous Doug McDonald said...


It was great fun showing you and the editorial team around. Thanks for taking so much time to see the vastness of Union Terminal and extensiveness of the things we collect.

It is our honor to serve this great community and preserve this wonderful treasure of a building.

Doug McDonald

at 3/15/08, 9:36 PM Blogger Neil said...

I wish there was a way to get the digital clock above the information stand working again. It hasn't worked for many years, but as old as the technology is there's got to be a way...

at 3/16/08, 5:31 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't want to start getting everyone all ticked off but the mass transit deal I don't want to give up my car. I love driving no one around just me and the radio. I complain about the money sure but I would pay more. I just don't see the positives I combine trips I don't car pool but I really like my car. Some one please listen It's the only time I get peace and quite. I think I would pay a lot more.

at 3/16/08, 11:14 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did you get Boston Anonymous's head in that alligator's mouth? Good show.

at 3/17/08, 7:55 AM Blogger Graham said...

I spent 3 months living in Cincinnati; coming from cosmopolitan and tourist friendly Australia, it's no tourist town, and you hide some of your best features well, but the Union Terminal is truly magnificent.

I tell my Australian friends, if they ever find themselves in Ohio with a few days to spare, there are two things they must see - the Union terminal and the Air Force museum at Wright Patterson.

I think I may be the only person in Australia who thinks Jerry Springer is a hero!

at 3/17/08, 8:01 AM Blogger Graham said...

Ooooh, and the underground railway museum a very close third place!

Curiously all three are uniquely American in ways that probably aren't so obvious if you've grown up inside the culture.

Before anyone asks me why I haven't listed the Cincinnati Zoo (past home of Martha the Passenger Pigeon), two reasons, my home city, Melbourne Australia, has a fine zoo too, and when I was in Cinci, the feature exhibit at your zoo was kangaroos. (yawn)

GRaham from Oz

at 3/18/08, 7:26 PM Anonymous john cole said...

Thanks for the tour, Jim!

The mosaic murals are so cool, I poked around a bit and found their creator, Winold Reiss:

There's also a domain dedicated to his works:

Google, and ye shall find.

at 3/19/08, 12:26 PM Anonymous BorgFan said...

Here's the terminal in a Bill Watterson editorial cartoon from the Cincinnati Post ....

at 3/21/08, 9:27 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you liked the pictures, see the Union Terminal High Steel April 19 and 20, May 17 and 18, June 21 and 22, Sept. 20 and 21 and Oct. 11 and 12. For fee and reservations call 513-287-7031.

at 3/22/08, 9:55 AM Blogger Emily said...

ohhhh, I'm jealous! Every time I visit Cincinnati, I go to UT and gawk at the architecture. I want so badly to go into the bowels of the place!!!!!!!!

at 3/24/08, 8:23 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gorgeous building, wonderful history. I loved the pull-out in Sunday's Enquirer with all of the wonderful photos and facts about the building. I even learned a thing or two.

For the anon poster who mentioned the control room for the old train yard, TOWER A is open on weekends and maintained staffed by a local railroad club. This is the original control facility for all of the Union Terminal rail yards. Very worth the trip upstairs to see it.

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