Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Mansion in Avondale

My fellow preservationist, Paul Wilham, frequently writes about "preservation bargins" on his blog, Victorian Antiquities and Design. One of his latest post was about this amazing mansion at 3800 Reading Road in the Avondale neighborhood listed at a mere $175,000.

Well seeing a beauty like that, I just couldn't resist finding out more about what kind of person has an amazing home built. So off I went digging...

I first came across this reference from the book "Cincinnati, a guide to the Queen City and It's Neighbors" which was first written by the Federal Writer's Project in 1943 (compiled by workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Ohio). At the time of the book, this mansion was The Jewish Center. The book also states that the mansion was designed by Matthew H. Burton in 1919 for William O'Dell who was known as the "King of the Bucket Shops".  As defined by the U.S. Supreme Court a bucket shop is "[a]n establishment, nominally for the transaction of a stock exchange business, or business of similar character, but really for the registration of bets, or wagers, usually for small amounts, on the rise or fall of the prices of stocks, grain, oil, etc., there being no transfer or delivery of the stock or commodities nominally dealt in." (Gatewood v. North Carolina, 27 S.Ct 167, 168 (1906).)

William O'Dell was born in 1859 in Ohio but moved sometime before 1897 to Savannah, Georgia, where is shown working as a banker. In 1898, Mr. O'Dell is living in Cincinnati in a flat at the corner of 9th and Race Streets and works at  W. J. Odell & Co., brokers, whose office was in the Carew Building. Mr. Odell moved to a flat at 199 W. 7th Street from 1899 until 1904, where he moves to the mansion at the corner of Reading Road and Dana Avenue.

Hmmm, the article says it was built in 1919, but the city directories show it was finished by 1904! I love finding these bits of information!

Mr. Odell died in February, 1907, three years after he built his fine home. His wife, Louise, continued to live there through 1909.

In 1911, a new owner is shown, Dennis Weiskopf and family. Mr. Weiskopf was one of the owners of The Nivision-Weiskopf Company, which manufactured bottles and lables from the 1900's until the 1980's. Mr. Weiskopf continued to live in this mansion until 1921.
Nivison-Weiskopf Sample Bottle found on eBay

In 1921, the owner is then Wilton A. Foster and also the address of his realty company. The available city directories on-line show him still living there in 1930-31. He could be the owner mention in the article from the book above, who leased it to The Jewish Center in 1935. 

The next reference I can find is that "Cincinnati's Wittstein Legion Post bought a dwelling at Reading and Dana Avenue as a veterans home."

The property was also once the Cincinnati Christian College, shown as the Cincinnati Baptist Theological Seminary on the ownership records as purchasing in 1968. They remained the owners until 2005.

Look for my next post to feature two homes in the Knox Hill area of South Fairmount.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Digging a bit in Price Hill

My friends at Cincinnati Preservation Association posted some pictures a few weeks back of some beautiful houses in Price Hill on Purcell Avenue. One in particular caught my attention when CPA asked if anyone the house's history since it appeared to be the oldest on the block. Well, that is all the temptation I needed! I had to dig...

Here is the house, picture courtesy of the Hamilton County Auditor website:
This photo doesn't show it's true beauty. It has since been updated and painted.
See Cincinnati Preservation's Facebook page for a more current photo

So off I went digging and it looks like it was part of John Striker’s property in 1869.
1869 Map of Storrs Township

I found a reference of John Striker, Sr. living at the southwest corner of Price and Purcell in 1890. He was a farmer/gardener. His son, John P. Stryker (he changed the spelling of the last name at some point) was an architect and I found a few references of him using Google Books.

Stryker, John P. 
            Listed 1894-1929. According to a description of Stryker and his home on Considine Avenue (1895) in Price Hill, the Strykers (originally spelt Stroeker) were early settlers of that area in the western hills of Cincinnati overlooking the Ohio River, where J.P. Stryker designed other residences, as well as the St. Lawrence Roman Catholic Church School.

Here are a few links that reference John Stryker, Jr. and the homes he designed for his neighborhood of Price Hill:
Carpentry and Building, March 1898 - Colonial Residence in Cincinnati, Ohio

Carpentry and Building, March 1901 - Brick Residence in a Cincinnati Suburb

Carpentry and Building, July 1902 - A Frame and Stone Cottage at Cincinnati

Photograph of John Stryker, Jr from Price Hill book

The home that appears to be the oldest on the block looks to really have been built as a two family residence.

Here it is on a 1891 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map

 And again in 1904

I really enjoyed "digging" this one up and finding out that the Striker family stayed in Price Hill for so long and that John Stryker, Jr. contributed to the beauty of this street and neighborhood by designing houses for the land he was raised upon.