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A Brief History Of Cincinnati's Findlay Market
Findlay Market is the only surviving municipal market house of the nine public markets operating in Cincinnati in the 19th and early 20th century. The market house is built on land donated to the City of Cincinnati by the estate of General James Findlay (1770 - 1835) and Jane Irwin Findlay (1769 - 1851). Findlay Market is Ohio's oldest surviving municipal market house. It was designed under the direction of City Civil Engineer Alfred West Gilbert (1816-1900) using a durable but unconventional cast and wrought iron frame, a construction technology that had been little used in the United States. Findlay Market was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. The structure was among the first markets in the United States to use iron frame construction technology and is one of very few that have survived.
Built originally as an open-sided pavilion, the market was erected in 1852 but disputes with contractors and difficulties correcting problems with the new construction methods delayed its opening until 1855. The center masonry tower was added in 1902. Soon after, public health concerns about the market, which was open to the elements and increasing urban pollution, prompted enclosure of the market house and the addition of plumbing and refrigeration. Merchants previously had used cool storage in deep cellars beneath nearby breweries.
The market house tower bell, rung at the start of each market day, was brought from Cincinnati's Pearl Street Market when that facility was torn down in 1934. Findlay Market was renovated in 1973-74 as part of the federal Model Cities program. It was renovated again and expanded in 2002 and 2003.