The Old Glenmary Seminary

I've known this familiar Springdale, Ohio landmark for some 35 years. An imposing and distinctive building, it stands out amid the nearby corporate buildings, restaurants, and retail. But Google is surprisingly reluctant to turn up information about it. Recently I learned some of its background and thought I'd share. (Standard disclaimer: the story is just here for your interest, and isn't any kind of official statement by the organizations mentioned.)

The building was the undertaking of the Glenmary Home Missioners, a Catholic group then located in Glendale, Ohio, immediately to the south of Springdale. Construction began in 1950 and the south wing was completed in 1951; the entire project finished in 1961. The building housed a seminary until just 1966, and the group's offices until 1971. Glenmary then sold the building, and it has housed commercial offices ever since. Apparently the clocks on the tower–just three of them and none working, possibly due to a shortage of funds at the time–were added during the mid to late 1980s. The Sheakley Group of Companies bought the building in 1993 and eventually rechristened it The Sheakley Building; Sheakley still owns it today. (If the building had a formal name prior to that, I haven't found it.) In 1999-2000 Sheakley built a large addition in the rear; though designed as modern office space, its brickwork blends with the original building.

Addendum: I've also heard that the building is situated on the highest point in Hamilton County. I haven't confirmed this, but it seems plausible.



Bombs & Bombshells: I Soak up Some Actual Culture

Friday evening I swung by Downtown to see the opening of Bombs & Bombshells, an exhibit by local artist J.D. Biggs at Collector's Art Group.

I have some history with Mr. Biggs, as several years ago he was responsible for a bleak, sarcastic cityscape that appeared in the artwork of my old band's CD. And his experiences with the merciless business practices of us music-industry types chased him out of the art business for years.

Okay, okay, so I made up the last part. But it has been a while since he's done an exhibition, in case you're not familiar with him. His exhibit spiel gives you a snapshot of his background–and his sense of humor.

The exhibition includes several paintings of familiar faces that, taken together, make a particularly wry comment on a culture that insists on female beauty while accepting and even embracing male ugliness. Check out, for example, this painting of the inimitable Keith Richards, which finds the famously ragged icon looking even more disheveled than usual. How many women rockers do you see flaunting a correspondingly weathered mug?

Bombs & Bombshells is up through May 31st, 2008. Collector's Art Group is located at 225 E. Sixth Street, 2nd Floor, in Downtown Cincinnati.