Monday, February 13, 2012

Hats and Musicians - Living Close to Work and Church

Thanks to my new facebook page, I have had a few people suggest buildings for me to research. Brandon, this one is for you!

Brandon was lucky. He requested that I research his property at 24 W. 13th Street. I was already working on a project for 3CDC at the corner of 13th and Republic and Brandon's house is right down the street so it was a quick add-on.

So let's start with a map:
1887 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map - Source

If you have been following Cincinnati history, you know about the Great Street Renumbering of 1896 (or just about that year). So 24 W. 13th Street was once 106 13th Street. It's a single family home with a beautiful mansard roof.

So with some digging, I found records of the first owner of this lot dating back to 1856. George Schwartz lived here (but most likely not this house) and worked as a shoemaker. He sold it to Frederick Ulmer in March 19, 1859 as shown in Mr. Ulmer's will:

Frederick Ulmer was a hat maker with his shop on Main Street. His listing in the 1860 City Directory is: 

ULMER FREDERICK, Hats, Caps and Furs, 113 Main, h. 106 13th

Frederick Ulmer and his wife Mary had 3 daughters, Eliza (from Mary's previous marriage), Mary Louise and Harriett, who died as a child. Eliza married Joinville Reif and Mary Louise never married.

Also in Frederick's will, he stated that he owned lots 29-30 on Milton Street which is present day 323-335 Milton (7 properties). I am not entirely sure he had all these homes built but the will does state that the Ulmer family was receiving rental income from these properties. These had to be quite profitable for the Ulmer's since Frederick willed $4,000 dollars at his death in May, 1869 to his daughter Eliza Reif. Wow, that would be approximately $64,705 today! Don't worry about Mary Louise. She would have inherited these rental properties after her mother's death but unfortunately she died before her mother.

Frederick Ulmer served in the Civil War with the 82nd Infantry Regiment, Company D. He received a severe abdomen injury in a battle in Virginia on May 8, 1862, just after the death of President Lincoln. You can read more about this battle here. He was mustered out in August, 1862. It is no wonder Frederick died in 1869 at the age of 46.

Mary Ulmer continued to live at 106 13th Street and also rent space in her home to others like Ludiwg Kreutz, a cigar maker. In 1887 Mary Ulmer went to live with her daughter Eliza.

I believe the current home was built by the next owners, the Brand family - three brothers who were all musicians, Albert, Adolph, and Arthur and their sister, Emma. In the 1880 Census, the Brand family lived just 2 houses down the street at 110 13th Street. Their father, Joseph, was also a musician born in Ramdorf, Bavaria in 1836 and died in 1875.

Joseph Brand 1836-1875 Source: Brand Family Archives

Albert and Adolph both continued as musicians but Arthur also became a music teacher. Albert was born in 1865 and died at the house in 1903. Adolph was born in 1866 and died at the Carthage Fair Ground in 1910 (I am sure there is a whole other story there!). The family belonged to Saint Mary's Catholic Church.

Arthur Brand, Sr. 1871-1924 Source: Brand Family Archives

Arthur is also the only one to marry (in 1900 to Margaret Mary McKeown). He eventually went into the phonograph business and moved to Walnut Hills and then College Hill. He had four children. After the death of Albert and Adolph, their sister, Emma, moved in with Arthur and his family.

In 1915, few families shared the home - Edward Ashorn, a teamster, Cecilia and William Doll, both working as clerks and Harry Dowell, a dairyman. But in 1920, new steady residents lived at the home. Fred Brocks and his wife Elizabeth live at the home until 1951. They are shown as renters in the 1920 and 1930 Census along with other renters that came and went, so the true owner may remain a mystery.

From single family home to multi-tenant rental property - so goes the story of many of the homes of Over-the-Rhine.


  1. Thanks so much. It is great to be able to know more of our home's history.

    During our renovation I saw things that made me believe that the mansard is an addition. The way that the trusses are in the walls it originally had a pitched roof, and the third story was simply attic space. Just thought I would share that.

    Thanks again,

    1. Brandon - That is awesome! I was wondering if that was a possibility. That means it was probably built by the Schwarz or Ulmer family.

      I glad you enjoyed the story.

    2. deff. an addition of the mansard can see the old brick line

  2. This is so interesting. My husband and I own 325 Milton St and I'm trying to find all that I can about it. Thanks! Now I have a place to start.


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