Monday, October 8, 2018

Price Hill Brick Beauty

This beautiful home recently hit the market and I was happy to provide the house history to the listing agent, Bill Draznik.

This home was built in 1885 for George H. Grimmelsman, and designed by architect Theodore Richter. Early in his career, Richter worked with other well-known Cincinnati architects such as James McLaughlin, Edwin Anderson and George Rapp. By the time this house was constructed, Richter has his own firm. He is known for many residential buildings in Over-the-Rhine, Clifton, and for the Church of the Holy Family in Price Hill.

1904 Sanborn Map
Grimmelsman was born October 28, 1858 in Cincinnati. He married Frances Elizabeth Romelbaum in 1881 and this home was soon filled with their eight children by the time of the 1900 Census.

1900 Census
George worked as a banking clerk for The Safe Deposit Company and became Secretary by 1895. The Central Trust Company merged with The Safe Deposit Company and George was the superintendent of safe deposits and was a company director. His wife Frances passed away in 1910 and George died in 1916. The house was passed down to the adult children remaining at home, Henrietta, John and Joseph.
1920 Census
The 1920 Census shows that they began renting rooms as a source of income. Ads from the Cincinnati Enquirer show updates were made to entice renters.

In 1944, the Grimmelsman family sold the home and between then and 2005 it was transferred to different owners 19 times! The present owners have greatly updated the home but still keeping many of the original details. There are views of downtown Cincinnati from every level and amazing roof top deck.

This amazing home deserves owners who can appreciate its history. To arrange a showing, contact Bill Draznik with Coldwell Banker West Shell at

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Swiss Chalet in East Walnut Hills

This amazing home just came on the market! It hasn't been for sale for over 55 years. What a rare opportunity to own a historic and amazing home.
Be sure the check the interior photos by clicking here.
Cincinnati Enquirer, Tuesday, August 11, 1891; p. 5
This home was completed in 1892 and designed by Lucian F. Plympton for Albert Day Fisher. Fisher was a very successful grain merchant who was born in Indiana. According to a 1979 Cincinnati Enquirer article, there are two legends as to why it was built in the Swiss-style. One is that Fisher and his wife spent their honeymoon in Switzerland and wanted their home to be in the same style, although they were married for over 10 years when the home was built. The other story is that Plympton's wife came from Switzerland and she inspired this home. However, census records show she was from Verona, Italy.

Once constructed, the home was featured in two issues of the Inland Architect magazine in 1896 and 1897.
Inland Architect Vol XXVIII No 6

Inland Architect Vol XXX No 5
The Fisher family only lived here until 1907, when it was sold to Mark Davis, a business man in the insurance field. After his death in 1931, his wife and children owned the home until 1944. The home was sold in 1949 and again in 1959 to Katherine Hanna, who was the director of the Taft Museum. 

Hanna shared the home with her longtime friend, Janet Weigel and they dedicated time and money to keeping up the home. Multiple articles featured the unique style and story of the chalet.
Cincinnati Enquirer; Sunday, January 15, 1961 - Click here to see all four pages.
Cincinnati Enquirer; Sunday, May 27, 1979 - Click here to read full article.
Cincinnati Enquirer; Wednesday, September 7, 1988
After Hanna's death in 1988, ownership transferred to her friend and companion, Janet Weigel until her death in 2017. The following photos were taken in the late 1990s and are courtesy of the University of Cincinnati's Architecture and Urban Planning Collection.

Now the home is ready for new owners to love it as much as Katherine and Janet did for nearly 60 years. Contact the listing agent for more information.

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Stites House - Columbia/Tusculum

This photo on Instagram from cincinnati_revealed inspired me to dig a bit into the history of this home.

cincinnati_revealed on Instagram
While the Hamilton County Auditor has the year built as 1865, it turns out that part of this home are much older (1830s) and built by one of the founding families of Hamilton County. As I started my digging, I found a wonderful article in the Cincinnati Enquirer that had explored the history of this home in 1970, so please enjoy this look back into the history of this home!

This article was retrieved from from the Cincinnati Enquirer, Sunday, August 16, 1970, The Enquirer Magazine; pages 26-32.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Krass House in Colerain Township Since 1831

Thanks to my Facebook followers for helping to choose a house for my presentation to the Coleraine Historical Society. This home is one of the oldest in Colerain Township according to a search with the Hamilton County Auditor.

Hamilton County Auditor
The Auditor's site has the build date as 1831 and I wanted to confirm whether this date was accurate, so I first took a look at some old maps. I always compare them to the CAGIS map of today so I can line up the property.
2017 CAGIS - The blue "i" is the location of the house today. This is located in Section 20 Township 2 Entire Range 1 in Hamilton County, Ohio.

1847 Map of Hamilton County, Ohio by attorney William D Emerson, C. S. Williams and Sons publisher (No. 5 W. 4th St.), includes property owner names, inset maps and detailed legend

1856 Hamilton County by A.W. Gilbert

1869 Titus Map

1884 Map of Hamilton County, Ohio, by Geo. Moessinger & Fred. Bertsch

1914, Hamilton County atlas: containing plats of townships, incorporated towns and villages, and map of greater Cincinnati
So it appears that Michael and Edmund Grass/Krass (their last name is spelled multiple ways over the years) owned it from at least 1869 and a structure is on the map in the approximate location of the house today. I decided to complete a deed and mortgage index search on the Hamilton County Recorder's website to explore further into the past.
Index to 1st Series (1789-1859)
John and Michael Grass purchased 10 acres from Samuel Harden and an additional 8.77 acres from Mary Hardin.
 I also found a mortgage record for John and Michael Krass and the website has some of the actual mortgages to examine.
Index to 1st Series (1789-1859)
John and Michael Krosz/Krafs had multiple mortgages with the Hardins.
Mortgage Book 160 Page 371 describing the 10 acres. This mortgage was written in 1851.
While this mortgage seems to state the Krass family purchased the land in 1851, evidence from the census records show they lived here the previous year. It could be that the previous land owners, Truman Allen and Samuel Hardin used tenant farmers to help cultivate their land. This house may have been built in 1831 for these tenants, but there is no proof of this in the records found. Samuel Hardin lived on Springdale Road near Colerain Avenue and in 1856 owned well-over 300 acres in the township. He also served as an early Trustee.

1850 United States Census
1850 United States Productions of Agriculture Census
1860 United States Census
1870 United States Census
1870 United States Products of Industry Census
Michael Grass is listed as producing lard kegs.
1870 United States Productions of Agriculture Census
1880 United States Census
1900 United States Census
1910 United States Census
1920 United States Census
1930 United States Census
The census records show that the Krass family lived in the home until the 1920s. John Krass, born in 1806 in Germany, died in 1871 and is buried along with his wife Margaretha (1803-1878) in Saint James Cemetery in White Oak. Michael, their son, married Eva Peter in 1849 and they had five children: Elizabeth, Margaret, Catherine, Caroline and Edmund. Michael remained with his son after the death of Eva around 1900 and he died in 1915. Ownership of the farm transferred to Edmund until he sold it in 1925 to Anthony and Annie Roth. The Roths are listed on the 1930 Census with their eight children.

Index to 6th Series (1918-1927)
Ownership Card - Hamilton County Auditor
This ownership card above shows that the Roths sold the farm to Margaret Herrmann in 1941. Her family still owns the farm today, having added two more homes in the 1950s. The property also has at least two barns.

Summary of the owners:
  1. United States
  2. John Cleves Symmes
  3. William Henry Harrison
  4. Truman Allen
  5. Samuel Harden (Hardin)
  6. John, Michael & Edmund Grass/Krass (1851)
  7. Anthony & Anna Roth (1925)
  8. Margaret & Charles Herrmann (1941)
  9. Walter C. & Marilyn Herrmann (1983)
House and two barns on the property. Photo by author on February 15, 2017