Dr. Know: P&G’s Time Capsule, the Green Man, and the Cincinnati Olympics That Never Were

The good doctor ponders puzzling queries, like what’s inside a Procter & Gamble time capsule, the Green Man in the park, and our failed bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

Next to Procter & Gamble’s Twin Towers downtown is their old headquarters, built in 1955. My grandfather helped to install a cornerstone there, a time capsule with mementos inside. I’ve walked around the entire building but don’t see it. Was it removed? What happened to it, and what exactly was in it? —SOAP BOX

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

The Doctor admires the steps you took, literally, to locate your grandfather’s handiwork. Your Fitbit must be proud. Your quest was thrown off, however, in trying to find a cornerstone. It’s actually a “lobbystone” inside the building’s south entrance. And it isn’t a stone, but a stainless steel box.

Your grandfather was correct, though, about the items inside. The May 26, 1955, editions of Cincinnati’s Enquirer, Times-Star, and Post daily papers are in there, along with a pottery tablet inscribed with the first sentence of the Book of Genesis, in 40 languages. Sorry, there are no Reds cap, Hudepohl can, Crosley radio, or Skyline bib. Ah, the missed opportunities.

When might this cornerstone/lobbystone be opened? The Doctor suggests the year 2056, when another famous 1955 cornerstone is set to open. You can view it at the end of the classic Warner Brothers cartoon, “One Froggy Evening.” Will a frog in a top hat also jump out of P&G’s box and start singing? Only your grandfather knows.

In Walnut Hills I drove past a tiny, friendly-looking park on East McMillan Street. Most everything about it looked typical, except for one thing: a large stone face on the corner of a wedged stone wall. There’s probably a plaque explaining it, but I had to keep driving. What’s the story? —I’VE JUST SEEN A FACE

To atone for any confusion in our previous story, let us now unquestionably talk about a real corner and a real stone. You were looking at the Green Man of Green Man Park. This limestone sculpture originally adorned an upscale Walnut Hills apartment building in 1890, the work of stonecutter David Hummel. Not to brag, but he also created carvings on Cincinnati City Hall, Union Terminal, and the Duke Energy Building. He got around. The building was demolished in 1991, but the sculpture was saved and stored. Loyal resident Fred Orth found it in 2013 and with neighborhood support helped return it to its original corner, now surrounded by greenery and recreational areas.

You may have noticed that the Green Man is not green. Oh, picky, picky. A stone face of this type has existed for many centuries representing rebirth and spring, and it’s usually surrounded by greenery. The Walnut Hills Green Man today enjoys many times the greenery he originally gazed upon, along with play areas, picnic tables, etc. Now that spring has sprung, plan for a few extra minutes next time you drive by to stop and smell the flowers. Green Man Park is truly a grassroots triumph.

During the runup to the Super Bowl, Mayor Aftab Pureval proudly (and repeatedly) mentioned Cincinnati’s current bid to host the 2026 World Cup. That reminds me of our laughable 1990s attempt to host the 2012 Olympics. How’s it going for hosting the World Cup? Any better? —MY CUP RUNNETH UNDER

For those unfamiliar, Cincinnati once dreamed of hosting the 2012 Olympics. (Spoiler alert: We didn’t.) For a while there, though, it almost resembled something like an infinitesimally remote possibility. In 1996, City Councilman Nick Vehr resigned his seat (not in disgrace, refreshingly) to commit himself full-time as a fund-raiser and promoter of the idea to host the games in cities and venues within a 120-mile radius of Cincinnati. Some called it “The Cindianacolexiville Olympics.” We didn’t make it past the first round.

This time, the city’s World Cup chances don’t look quite as ridiculous. Instead of hosting the whole shebang, we’d be one of 10 or 11 participating U.S. cities. We’d have Paul Brown Stadium for big matches and many area venues for team practices, including, of course, TQL Stadium. We have more hotel rooms now, and we definitely have residual street cred from the Bengals’ Super Bowl run. Could it happen? We might know by the time you read this, and might need to seriously rethink the word “football.”

Dr. Know is Jay Gilbert, weekday afternoon deejay on 92.5 FM The Fox. Email him your questions about the city’s peculiarities at drknow@cincinnatimagazine.com.

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