Roof collapses at historic Mt. Auburn cable house

Crews on scene of partial building collapse in Mt. Auburn

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A partial building collapse threatens a piece of Cincinnati history in Mt. Auburn.

The Mt. Auburn Cable Railway Building at Dorchester and Highland Avenues suffered a collapse Monday night due to the weight of snow on its roof, according to the Cincinnati Fire Department.

A large portion of the building fell into the basement, CFD says.

“At this point, due to the inclement weather we experienced recently, there is a heavy snow load on the roof structure,” Assistant Fire Chief Michael Washington explained. “So that’s what we think was the cause of the actual collapse of the building.”

Part of the building remains unstable, according to CFD.

The Building and Inspections Department will investigate the building’s structural integrity as a next step.

The cable house was built in 1884 for the Mount Auburn Cable Railway, which emerged as an alternative to the city’s inclines for transporting passengers from the urban basin to uptown neighborhoods that were then still considered suburban.

The privately financed line ran from Fourth Street to Avondale. Its car barn at the southeast corner Liberty and Sycamore streets is currently Nicola’s restaurant.

The line enjoyed a short-lived existence. After opening in 1887, it was sold in 1902 and closed altogether in 1904.

The cable house was purchased by the Hamilton County Land Bank on July 1, 2020.

CFD says the building is undergoing renovations, though no city construction permits have been filed for it going back a decade.

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