I have to take a trip back to Cincinnati soon to deal with some family business. It got me thinking back on my childhood in Cincinnati. I was born and raised there. I started using Google Maps looking at places I lived and where I went to school. I have fond memories of my elementary school Fairview. I remember it being like a big castle. Of course now that I’m grown up, I just chalked that up to a child’s memories. Turns out the memories were pretty close.
I really started thinking of Hogwarts when I saw a few aerial photos of the old building. It’s the four towers that do it. I remember how big the hallways were and the really cool views from the towers as a child. The basement was so big in fact, that on bad weather days we would have indoor recess with plenty of room. I remember the playground with its stone walls. There was a really big radio tower just outside the school grounds. I used to lay on the ground and stair up at it and watch the clouds go past it. It made the tower look like it was spinning and was always very comforting for me. During halloween the attic would be turned into a super cool haunted house.
The tall stone walls and towers really did make me think of Hogwarts. The place even had the huge doors on the entrance. Fairview doesn’t have the parapets or battlements but the design does invoke the feeling of a castle. The building was done in the Romanesque Revival architectural style. Not exactly castle but a lot of similarities.
Fairview was one of four designated bilingual schools in the city. Fairview taught German. So from kindergarden on you learned English and German. The German teachers were real characters. I remember Frau Forbes. Unbeknownst to me she was the stereotypical German teacher. She ran strict classroom and demanded order. One day we were complaining about not having eaten lunch yet. “Frau Forbes were starving!”, we called out. Here response, “Your not starving! When we escaped from Germany we were starving!” At the time I really didn’t know what that meant but in hindsight I really would have learned to hear more about here experiences in Germany. She’d hint at things but being in fourth grade, I only got so much of it.
The pictures above are from a very nice photo essay by Tim Jeffries. Definitely check it out for more pictures of Fairview and Cincinnati.
I googled here name and sure enough found some references. Here’s a quote from her retirement:
“Frau Forbes as she is know at Fairview Elementary German Bilingual School, has been the been the epitome of teaching excellence. She is recognized as a demanding teacher with a disciplined classroom atmosphere, but who tempers this with a loving heart.”
Flash forward to today. This historic building building is now a set of luxury apartments…
I get that people need a place to live but the city could have thought of a more noble use for such a beautiful building. So, I think I’ll just block the fact of its current use out and focus on the school I remember. Plus, I’ll still brag I went to Hogwarts.