Netherland Plaza: Cincinnati, OH
Built in 1930 at the height of the Great Depression for the exorbitant cost of $33 million (half a billion dollars in today’s money) the Carew Tower-Netherland Plaza Hotel complex occupies a city block in the center of Cincinnati. The two high rise towers share a five-story base. At the time of its construction, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the project was the most expensive real estate deal ever undertaken in the United States. Opened a full two years before Rockefeller Center, it was a pioneering example of the ‘city within a city’ concept. The Carew-Netherland complex boasted a range of uses and many amenities. It housed a nightclub, a ballroom, multiple office suites, department stores, restaurants, a skating rink, a parking garage, and an 800-bed hotel. Although the exteriors are austere, the shopping arcade and hotel lobby have sumptuous details and brass surfaces decorated with French and Egyptian motifs. Despite undergoing numerous upgrades and modernizations over the past century, the public spaces retain much of their elaborate and distinctive Art Deco styling, including this unique door. The Carew Tower-Netherland Plaza Hotel was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982.