Bidding Farewell to the Corner

An Ode to the College of Law Building

The building that houses University of Cincinnati’s College of Law has anchored the University of Cincinnati at the corner of Clifton and Calhoun since 1925, when the College moved into Alphonso Taft Hall from its location in the old McMicken house on Clifton Avenue. It has been the epicenter of quantum leaps in enrollment as well as new centers, institutes, clinics, and innovative programs. History has been made in the classrooms and courtrooms of this building in the form of landmark legal research and contributions to the Cincinnati community and beyond. Its human foundation has been the dedication of alumni, faculty, and staff, who have consistently been a part of the potential and the possibilities inside the walls of this place where generations of students became lawyers.

Smith Law Library

Smith Law Library

The building at the corner of Clifton and Calhoun has stood the test of time, but also the test of adapting to change. It began in 1925 with the dedication of Alphonso Taft Hall, with its distinctive Georgian columns, as the new home for the University’s College of Law. By 1972, it was considered cramped and obsolete, and also wet, since it poured water during rainstorms. Busting at the seams, the building was beyond its capacity, with 340 students, 17 faculty, and 11 staff members. In fact, the library had only 164 seats. With the Association of American Law Schools' (AALS) accreditation standards calling for 221 seats, the College of Law was on pace to run out of library shelf space within two and a half years.

Renovation of the Law School

Renovation of the Law School

In November 1977, the University and legislature agreed to a renovation and expansion of Taft Hall. Through the spring of 1978, plans were drawn up to rebuild Taft Hall in stages, to minimize disruptions. Over the years, the building on the corner has been bubble-wrapped, expanded in several directions, and given a serious facelift.

The College of Law awaits its new home on the University of Cincinnati’s campus in the summer of 2022,  but not without pausing to bid farewell to the history of the building on the corner, rich with its own stories and images. See more and share your stories at The Last Year on the Corner.