Cincinnati’s Mini Stonehenge Is in Clifton

Called the Richardson Stones, it’s a monument to architect H.H. Richardson and his masterpiece, the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce building.

Photograph by Lance Adkins

On the south side of Burnet Woods sits a unique piece of architectural history—or, rather, many pieces. A structure composed of 51 mismatched blocks of granite occupies a grassy clearing alongside Martin Luther King Boulevard. What’s this miniature Stonehenge-looking monument doing in Clifton? It’s called the Richardson Stones; each block was once part of the walls, archways, and columns of the famed Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Building, designed by architect H.H. Richardson and constructed in the late 19th century. The building was destroyed in a 1911 fire, and the repurposed rocks recall the castle-esque elegance of Richardson’s lost masterpiece. The monument is fittingly situated across from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), which happens to be the site of its creation. Completed in 1972, the Richardson Stones are a result of a friendly design competition among DAAP students, nicknamed “Operation Resurrection.” Visitors should check out the plaque on the monument, which displays a picture of the original building, reminding us that even the most tragic losses yield opportunities for hopeful reconstruction.

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