King Records Revival Would Attract People From "All Over The World," Councilman Says

Apr 3, 2018

Efforts to save the former King Records studio building in Evanston are a step closer to becoming reality.

Cincinnati Council will vote Wednesday on a property swap that would allow the former King Records building in Evanston to be preserved, with the city transferring vacant land on Victory Parkway to Dynamic Industries in exchange for parcels on Brewster Avenue, which include the former King studio.

Supporters have been working on such a plan for years. Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman says if it were to happen it would once again become a destination. "As King Records is developed and made back into an institution, people from all over the world will come to that location to visit it," he says. 

From 1943 to 1975, King Records was a leading independent record company, launching the careers of Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, Shorty Long, Etta Jones, James Brown and more. In 2008, a historical marker was placed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2015, the city designated the former King site as a historic landmark.

Credit John Kiessewetter / WVXU

The most immediate need will be to stabilize the building and replace its roof. There's still much to do including raising the money needed to renovate the building and recreate the recording studio.

Image from 2016.
Credit John Kiessewetter / WVXU

Council Member Greg Landsman says there's a lesson to be learned.

"It's a testament to what people can do if they really believe in something," he says. "This is a great example of what happens when you stick together and you stick to your dream and you just never give up."