JUN.1.2014: Here’s an updated image of the five pillars together. The two on the west side of Brentwood are the closest to the original build design, minus the gargoyle. Each pillar had a standard ornamental topper along with a cast cap with street names in raised relief. The ‘HPE’ blocks were also present in all the originals. The remaining pillar on the east side of Brentwood is missing both the topper and the name cap, but at least brings the gargoyle motif across to the south south of Erie! The Saybrook pillar resembles the SE Brentwood in condition, and lastly Amberson retains its street name cap but has no topper, (except on St. Patty’s day).
JAN.23.2014: This brutal winter (on track to be one of the worst on record) is taking its toll on the pillar at the NW corner of Erie and Brentwood. Repeated hard freezes are blowing out the brickwork.
One more polar vortex and it might be curtains for this one and the gargoyle that lives atop it. If it survives the winter it will surely serve as a reminder to expedite the effort to restore these historical gems.
OCT.7.2013: Quick research on the Hamilton County Library website revealed a few old Enquirer articles and advertisements with information about Hyde Park East. The pillars, or ‘ornamental piers’ as they were originally called, were part of the original development of the neighborhood. The advertisement below contains images of the piers from 1915.
The Enquirer snippet at left mentions that the original plans for Hyde Park East called for 14 entrances to Erie Avenue, and called for piers to adorn each side of each crossroad or ‘entrance’. This would mean a total of 28 piers along Erie Ave. Unfortunately only 5 exist presently, with 3 of these located at Brentwood – the intersection most closely resembling the neighborhood as built. Many of the corners where these piers would likely have stood were redeveloped into commercial parcels, and it is assumed that most of the piers were removed in the process.
OCT.2.2013: Have you ever noticed the 5 masonry pillars along Erie Ave in East Hyde Park? Maybe not. They blend in to the fabric of the neighborhood, appropriately of course – the pillars have been around since the development of the area. A more noticeable pair of pillars stand at the entrance to the East Hyde Park Commons, aka the park and formerly known as the mudhole. Although certainly inspired by the originals, the much newer pillars/columns are impressive maybe for their size but certainly not for their charm. They do however boast the logo of the East Hyde Park Business Association as it then existed, referencing the HPE carved into the 5 remaining pillars.
The Chamber has taken on the task of resurrecting the East Hyde Park street sign pillars. If you are unfamiliar with them, check out the SE corner of Erie and Saybrook, any corner except the NE at Erie and Brentwood, and the NW corner of Erie and Amberson. 5 masonry pillars, all with the same HPE carved into their faces, street names embossed into a concrete topper, and couple remaining gargoyle sculptures. A beer bottle or two usually adorn the Amberson pillar for a few days after St. Patrick’s day.
Depending on funding, the scope of the project may be limited to touching up the existing pillars, or the project may expand to possibly include additional replacement pillars in the locations they once stood. Currently, we are gathering information about their history and current status. We welcome anyone that can supply information- speak to any of the Chamber members. Old photos of the pillars would also be very useful as we move forward!
More to come…