Monday, March 19, 2012

The Blue House on West Clifton

You know, the blue house with the big front yard and no backyard at 104 W. Clifton? This house has caught my eye more than once now and it was time to dig up its history.

While the Hamilton County Auditor has the year built as 1865, I could not find anyone living at this address until 1868. John D. Riemeier, a lumber dealer, moved here after living at 53 Hughes (old house number). Mr. Riemeier was in business with a Mr. Meier. Prior to this partnership, he was a partner with H. H. Riemeier, surely a relative, in the building and carpentry business.

His business was quite successful. He was also well-known in the community:
"Although concentrating his efforts on the many problems daily arising in the exacting situations of business life, he was never too much engaged to devote himself to the execution of the projects which promoted the well-being of the religious group to which he belonged. He built the church at the corner of Race and McMicken streets and was one of the dynamic forces in the organization and administration of the German Orphan Asylum. Ever altruistic in spirit, he performed his charities in an unostentatious manner, believing in incorporating the Christian ideal in the conduct of his daily life."  - Source
The church at Race and McMicken is now called Philippus United Church of Christ, but was originally called Philippus Kirche. This is the church with the finger pointing to heaven at the top of its steeple.

By 1882, Mr. Riemeier and his family moved to the family farm in Groesbeck, in Colerain Township where he enjoyed breeding horses and general farming. In 1905, J. D. Riemeier's sons, Henry David and Herman George started their own lumber business and it remained open until 2008, when it fell victim to the falling economy.

After the Riemeier family left the Clifton Avenue house, by 1890, the Homburg family took up residence. Emil Homburg worked as a clerk in the post office and his brother Fred was a teacher at the Technical School of Cincinnati, the predecessor of UC's College of Engineering. Their widowed mother lived with them as well.

1891 Sanborn Map - Source

In 1900, the Luecke family also lived in the home along with the Homburgs. John Luecke was a clerk in the City Infirmary. In 1910, Fred Homburg is teaching at Woodward High School in Over-the-Rhine. He wrote articles for The Journal of Geography such as this one on the Jordan Valley. The Homburgs lived at the home until the early 1920's. The Luecke family continued to own the home until the death of John's wife, Ella Marie, in 1939.

Most recently, it was owned by the Franciscan Home Development, Inc. from 1998 until 2008 as part of their management of low income housing.

This home is currently offered for sale as a multi-family with Coldwell Banker West Shell. I wonder if Mr. Riemeier supplied the lumber for this beautiful staircase in his former home. But I still have no idea why it was built at the back of the lot instead of the front!


  1. The building is older then the properties around it. The auditor has the two properties around it as built in 1895. My guess would be that the land was owned by Mr. Riemeir and went he sold the property it was cut up in parcels. as for it sitting back off the street. It would be quieter and with a dead end alley behind you and no other buildings around you, private drive. A must have for any carpenter.

    1. If you look at the 1891 map above, the properties surrounding this home were already built. And I find it curious that the back of the house follows the angled property line. The only way to truly find out if Riemeier owned all the land first is to do a lengthy search at the Recorder's Office.

    2. That's interesting. I wonder what it looked like for the first several years of Riemeier ownership, before 1882. Im also curious to know if there was every a building on the front of the property in the early 1900's. On the building to the east there are signs of a structure. This building is a gem however quirky its placement.

  2. The Riemeiers were bulwarks of Western Hills---wonderful people---Mrs. Riemeier was a beautiful person inside and out. I still miss the lumberyard on Gest St.

  3. Where would his carriage house had been placed?


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