Friday, November 21, 2014

Origins of UC - Cincinnati College

I came across this picture today which led me to wonder just where this building once stood.
Cincinnati College Edifice.
Doolittle & Munson. Woodcut. 3&13/16 x 5 in (9.68 x 12.70 cm). Youth's Magazine 2, no. 23 (September 2, 1836), p. [353]. Cincinnati Historical Society Library.
This building was located on the east side of Walnut Street, just north of Fourth Street, according to this map from 1838, by Joseph Gest and William Haviland.

Here are pages from the Cincinnati Directory Advertiser from 1836-37 describing the college:

In 1918, Cincinnati College merged with the University of Cincinnati, which was chartered by the Ohio legislature in 1870. In 1893, the university moved to its present location, which was originally part of Burnet Woods.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Where Did They Go? - A Cemetery Mystery

A follower asked about the former cemetery between Dayton and York Streets, near Central Avenue that could be seen in my previous blog post.

1869 Titus Map - Source
I did some digging and it was originally listed as the United Protestant Evangelical German St. Peter's Church Cemetery. It is mentioned in newspaper articles in 1849-1850. during the cholera epidemic. On the list below, it is marked as German Protestant (St. Peter's) Western Row. Central Avenue was originally called Western Row, since it was the western edge of town.
The Cincinnati Enquirer (1849-1852); Jul 19, 1850; pg. 2
ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Cincinnati Enquirer (1841 - 1922)

Cincinnati, R.C. Phillips C. E., 1869 - Source
Around the same time as the epidemic, because so many of the cemeteries were getting full, the Vine Street Hill Cemetery opened. It was originally called the German Evangelical Protestant Cemetery and then the Carthage Road Cemetery. Carthage Road was the name of this portion of present-day Vine Street, before its annexation to Cincinnati. The cemetery gained its current name around 1920.

The Cincinnati Enquirer (1849-1852); Oct. 12, 1871; pg. 5
ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Cincinnati Enquirer (1841 - 1922)
In 1871, the remains buried in the West End cemetery were removed and reinterred at the Vine Street Hill Cemetery. This land was then sold John Windisch and John Hauck, of the Hauck and Windisch Brewery (also known as the Dayton Street Brewery) for expansion of their operations.
The Cincinnati Enquirer (1849-1852); Feb. 27, 1873; pg. 7
ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Cincinnati Enquirer (1841 - 1922)
In 1879, John Hauck bought out John Windisch, and in 1881 the brewery became the John Hauck Brewing Company.
1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Click to Enlarge
1904 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Click to Enlarge
When prohibition came in 1919, the brewery stayed open by producing near beer, soda and ice. It also began renting space to the Red Top Brewing Company.
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Click to Enlarge
In 1933, with the repeal of prohibition, Red Top Brewery continues its lease at the plant. By 1945, Red Top Brewing Company expands to a second plant and becomes one of the largest in Ohio.

1950 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Click to Enlarge
With increasing demand for national brands, Red Top Brewery closed in the late 1950's. While many of the brewery buildings have been demolished, the original two story barn and wagon shed, built on the cemetery grounds, still stands today. Another brewery building fronting Central Avenue also remains.
2014 CAGIS Map
2014 Google Earth
Google Streetview, July 2014
The former brewing property is presently owned by The Kaiser Pickle Company, in business since 1920. The German history comes full circle. At least pickles go with beer, right?

Brewery history gathered from Cincinnati Brewing History.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Soap and Hospital Surprise

I researched the subject for this post over a year ago, but I thought the story was interesting to share with all of you. A follower contacted me for information on the house when he purchased it in 2012, so I did some digging and came up with a couple of surprises.
526 York Street, on the right - Source: Google Streetview, July, 2014
Using 1869 Titus Map and the legal property description, I came upon my first surprise. The lot where this home was constructed was originally owned by one of the founders of Procter & Gamble, James Gamble.
1869 Titus Map - Source
James Gamble's own home was on Clark Street, south of this location, so it appears this land was purchased as an investment. The Hamilton County Auditor dates the construction of this home as 1865, which seems to be a pretty accurate date based on the city directory information and the architectural style.

Using the 1891 Sanborn Insurance Map, I discovered the address for this house was 50 York Street before the 1895-1896 street renumbering project. This allowed me to research the city directories to discover the residents of the home. In 1865, three names were listed: Anton Buerckle, a finisher, Jacob Kern, a laborer, and Charles Reitzel, also a finisher. However, in 1870, only one name is listed: Harrison Dexter, a lumber dealer whose business was located just down the street at the corner of York and Freeman. However, the 1870 Census doesn't list him as the owner of the property, so he was renting this from another person.
1870 United States Census -
1880 United States Census -
Look far to the left to see the address of "50", confirming these are the residents of 50 York Street at the time of the census.
The Dexter family moved closer to their business in 1886 and in 1888, my next surprise was revealed. When I looked at the 1891 map, something caught my eye...
1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
 Right over the top of 46, 48 and 50 York Street is labeled "Christ's Hospital". I knew Christ Hospital is now in Mt. Auburn and also knew of the support the Gamble family had given it over many years, so this got me curious. I started digging in the Cincinnati Enquirer archives and found this:
Cincinnati Enquirer (1872-1922); Nov 29, 1889; pg. 8; ProQuest Historical Newspapers
So it appears James Gamble owned the home and had given use of it to the founders of Christ Hospital as a place to begin their work. In 1890, the following people were listed as living at 50 York Street:
Deaconess Home, 50 York
Davis, Mrs. M. deaconess, 50 York
Deakin Rena, deaconess, 50 York
House, Lucilia, deaconess, 50 York
Keeler, Evelyn, lunch room, 76 Freeman Av .h. 50 York
Seal, Martha, deaconess, 50 York
Thoburn, Isabella, supt. The Elizabeth Gamble Deaconess House, 50 York

In 1893, the hospital and deaconess home moved to Mount Auburn and the houses on York Street once again became rental properties. Between 1903 and 1918, the Gamble estate sold the property to Charles Richt, and he sold it to Bertha Schaub, who is living at the home in 1920 with her adult children and another family.
1920 United States Census -
Cropped to names
After a series of sales between 1925 and 1929, Ida Laugel owned the home until 1946, renting it out to various families over the years. The ownership card below shows the owners until 1990.
Hamilton County Auditor Ownership Card


Of the three original Christ's Hospital buildings, only this one remains standing. In 2012 and in 2013, the home was sold again but from the photo at the top of this post, it appears to be vacant, awaiting the current owners to breathe new life into this house of surprises.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Secrets in Those Brick Walls - 815 Elm Street

I stumbled across this pretty house a few months ago at the suggestion of a reader and I thought it must have been a prominent person's house. I had no idea the stories this house would hold!
Google Streetview, 2012
The Hamilton County Auditor dates the building from 1876, which seems like a good date based on the Italianate style of the architecture. However, this lot had been bought, leased and sold many times before that date, so another structure was probably here before this building was constructed.
Index to 1st Series (1789-1859); Deeds, Leases, & Mortgages; Hamilton County Recorder
The city directories also verify that others lived at this address before 1876. The address before the city-wide renumbering of 1896 was 297 Elm Street.

Fitzpatrick, John (0) Cabt-mkr, res, Ws Elm bet 8th and 9th.

Phelps Allen E. bowling saloon, s. s. 3d b. Walnut and Vine, h. w. s. Elm, b. 8th and

Bennett Joseph B., agt., 297 Plum (?)

RINGGOLD Fred,, (E, G, Webster & Co,) 297 Elm

Mork Jacob, dry goods, h. 297 Elm

Quinn H. livery stable, s. w.c. Gano and Lodge, h. 297 Elm

Quinn Harry R. clk. s. w.c. Lodge and Gano, bds. 297 Elm

Quinn Hugh, Iivery stable, s. w. c. Lodge and Gano, h.297 Elm

1887 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Around 1876, the lot was purchased by Kate Bennett. Miss Bennett, also known as Kitty, had a quite a reputation in the city, even before she purchased and perhaps had this house built on Elm Street.
The Cincinnati Daily Enquirer; Nov 22, 1869; pg. 7

As you might imagine, this house on Elm Street gained the same reputation. In the 1880 Census, Kitty Bennett is listed as keeping an assignation house, which a quick Wikipedia search revealed was a "more formal, legal and euphemistic term than the synonymous "house of ill repute". Multiple stories can be found in the newspaper archives about incidents involving Madame Bennett and/or her "inmates". 
Cincinnati Enquirer (1872-1922); Sept. 27, 1879; pg. 12
Cincinnati Enquirer (1872-1922); Feb 6, 1885;pg. 8
By 1885, Kittie had "retired" from the business and a new proprietress had taken over, keeping the same last name of Bennett:

1885 City Directory
Bennett Blanche, h. 297 Elm
Freeman Myrtle, bds. 297 Elm (also mentioned in the article above)
Gray Lottie, bds. 297 Elm

Moulton Geo. butler, 297 Elm

Cincinnati Enquirer (1872-1922); Jul 23, 1890; pg. 8
The practice of keeping the Bennett last name with the house of ill-repute continued with Jessie Bennett in 1890 (see above article) and Mabel Bennett in 1895. By 1900, Mrs. S. C. Murray operated the "resort" as it was called in the newspapers until 1911. 

1910 City Directory
Anderson Lula bds 815 Elm
Courtney Helen bds 815 Elm
Davis Josie bds 815 Elm
Hayes Hazel bds 815 Elm
Murray Mrs S C h 815 Elm
Sanders Ada bds 815 Elm
Spillman Minnie bds 815 Elm
Walker Eugenia bds 815 Elm

In 1910, the Enquirer recalled the days of Kitty Bennett, when it was revealed she had died in New York and her name was really Mrs. Helen Smith. A murder had occurred in 1885 in the alley next to the house but Madame Bennett never told what she knew of the story.

Cincinnati Enquirer (1872-1922); Apr 14, 1910; pg. 9 - Click to enlarge

By 1912, the house had lost its ill-repute and became a boarding house. In 1915, 18 people listed this house as their home address. Renting furnished rooms continued into the 1940's and beyond.

1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source

By 1986, the house had a restaurant on the first floor, known as Audrey's Silver Fleet, known for home-cooked meals. However, they closed in 1990.
Cincinnati Magazine; January, 1988
In 1991, CafĂ© Dunderfunk, a coffee house opened but by 1995, Merl's Eatery had taken over for the next year. In 1996, Aralia, a Sri-Lankan restaurant opened and remained there until at least 2001. In 2005, the building was converted into five condominiums, as they remain today.
1968 - Hamilton County Auditor; Building is on the right.
2005, Hamilton County Auditor

2011-2013, Hamilton County Auditor

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Fairview Park and the Home of Isaac J. Miller

I went for a drive to Fairview Park to check out the scenic overlooks when something else caught my eye.
Along Fairview Park Drive - Digging Cincinnati History
This appeared to be pretty old and not made for the park, so I decided to do some "digging" into the history of the area.
1869 Titus Atlas - Source
This map shows the area in 1869, when what is now Fairview Heights had been just started to be developed. The land where the park is today was originally owned by Colonel John Riddle, who served in the Revolutionary Way and came to Cincinnati in 1790. After his death in 1847, a subdivision of the land he owned was created in 1855.

Original Plat Map from the Hamilton County Recorder Office
Click to enlarge

Original Plat Map from the Hamilton County Recorder Office
Click to enlarge.
When the subdivision was platted, streets were added, including Fairview Avenue. At this time, McMicken Avenue was called Bates Road and Browne Road.

In the early 1860's, Isaac J. Miller and his wife Martha N. Miller purchased Lot 219 from Samuel M. Riddle, the youngest child of Col. John Riddle. They built their home on this lot and also made other land investments in the area, including two parts of Lot 218.
From the "Fairview Heights Souvenir", June 1895 - Source
Isaac J. Miller was a well-known lawyer, starting his practice in 1856 and also served his city in various positions. At the time of this publication, he served as one of the Police Commissioners and he also ran for Mayor of Cincinnati in 1894, losing to John A. Caldwell. He also served on in the Board of Councilmen, serving as president in 1874.

From the "Fairview Heights Souvenir", June 1895 - Source
Mr. Miller also fought for streetcar access to Fairview Heights, and was the celebrated champion when Route 23 and the Fairview Incline opened in 1894, allowing easier access to the neighborhood.
Cincinnati Enquirer; Jul 2, 1894; pg. 8
From the "Fairview Heights Souvenir", June 1895 - Source
Isaac and Martha had four children, Isaac, Jr., who became a doctor, Martha, Hester and Edith. Mr. Miller passed away in 1910 at the age of 77, after battling diabetes and gangrene. Mrs. Miller died in 1913 at the age of 75 after a fall at friend's home. Their estate sold the home on Fairview Avenue to Edward H. Hoffeld around 1914.

Edward H. Hoffeld was a manager and then became the president of the Ferdinand Dieckmann Company, sheet metal manufactures. In 1940, he sold the house to his brother, who rented out the house. Amazingly, the house still stands today and is currently rented as a multi-family house!
2367 Fairview Avenue - Tim Jeffries
From the "Fairview Heights Souvenir", June 1895 - Source
So what about that "spring house" on Fairview Park Drive? According to an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer, this opening went to a wine cellar:
The cellar belonged to Isaac Miller, who operated a tavern on the hillside and also who was a prominent political figure. In it was kept the wine his patron sipped while admiring the view. The old house was bought with one of the 58 parcels that went to make the park, all for approximately $67,000 and totally 31.126 acres. The Fairview incline traversed a part of what is now the park, doubtless transporting many a guest to the old tavern. - Cincinnati Enquirer, June 20, 1937
Cincinnati Enquirer, June 20, 1937; pg. 6
1914 Topographical Map of Cincinnati - Source
This shows the road the went from Fairview Avenue to the location of the wine cellar and tavern.
And the house on the hill that may have held the tavern was located behind the house on the same parcel, but no longer stands today.
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Amazing to think the main house has stood on its Fairview hill for over 150 years. If walls could talk, what great stories it could tell!