Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Elm Street Doctors

A friend who also loves Cincinnati history posted this picture from his recent trip to Cincinnati. (Thanks, John!)
This beautiful gem is at 1209 Elm Street, just south of Music Hall and one house away from St. John's Evangelical Protestant Church at 12th and Elm Streets.
You can see the house on the right through the trees. -  Source
This home is a more "recent" old home, as it was built in 1895 for Dr. Rudolph H. Reemelin. As you can see on the map below, another house stood here before construction began on the doctor's home.
The address prior to 1896 was 395 Elm Street, a small home. - Source
Dr. Reemelin was active in his community and a member of the Odd Fellows Temple. He was born in Dent, Ohio  in 1855, son of a German immigrant, Charles Reemelin, who was a farmer.
Cincinnati Enquirer; Sep 12, 1891, pg. 8
Maybe Dr. Reemelin should have picked another location for his new home, based on the following article from the Cincinnati Enquirer, April 26, 1895:
POLES - Dr. Reemelin Claims That He Has More Than His Share
Dr. R. H. Reemelin now no doubt is sorry that he was fortunate enough to select a piece of property, the sidewalk in front of which seems to be so admirably adapted for the placing of poles. Here is a communication the Board of Administration received from him yesterday: “I beg the Honorable board to examine the condition of my pavement at 395 Elm street relative to my view being obstructed by a street railway trolley pole, an electric light pole and a telegraph pole, all on a 22-foot pavement. My neighbors on both sides of the street, for a distance of 60 feet, have no poles, therefor I would feel much obliged if one or more of the above-named poles would be removed.”
Dr. Reemelin has just completed one of the prettiest stone front house on Elm street, near Twelfth, and believes that the house is complete without such outdoor adornments as poles. The board will see what can be done in the matter.
Even in 1898, the residents of city were looking to improve Washington Park and Dr. Reemelin was a part of this planning since his home overlooked the park:
Pushing – Improvement of Washington Park Are Residents in That Vicinity
Nearly 40 of the most influential residents in the vicinity of Washington Park met at the office of Dr. Reemelin on Elm street, enthusiastic in the project of arranging an electric fountain and music during the summer for the park. An organization, under the title of the Washington Park Improvement Association was immediately formed. Member of the Board of Legislation, Jacob Schaeffer, was elected President and John Henry Ahlbrandt, Jr., Secretary.
The object of the organization, as already published in The Enquirer, was then stated, and it was decided to take steps at once to petition the city boards to the end that the fountain and music stands should be erected at once, and a committee, consisting of Dr. Reemelin, Fred Bader and John Greiwe, Jr., were appointed a committee for that purpose. A resolution was also adopted declaring that the swings now in use in the park are a nuisance, grown girls making exhibitions of themselves therein to the annoyance of residents near the park who are compelled to witness their antics, and subverting the use of these swings from the little girls and boys, for whose enjoyment they were originally erected. - The Cincinnati Enquirer, June 29, 1898, pg. 7
For reasons unknown, Dr. Reemelin moved before 1902 but another doctor took up his residence and practice at 1209 Elm Street. Dr. Henry Buschmann also rented the upper floors to other during his time here and this tradition continued from many years. You may be asking yourself why doctors chose to live on Elm Street. Well, for many years, the Miami Medical College was on 12th Street between Elm and present-day Central Parkway. The building is no longer there, replaced by the Teamsters Hall, now the Drop Inn Center.
1891 Sanborn Insurance Map, south side 12th Street between Elm and Central Parkway - Source
In the 1920's, Dr. Charles Maertz had his practice here and starting around 1930, Dr. James S. Mills ran his practice here for many years. He was joined by Dr. Frank G. Grace in the 1940's. Also by 1930, the Miami Medical College has been replaced by the Teamsters Hall, and the Opthalmic Hospital had been built just behind the church.
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
In the photo below from the mid-1970's, Dr. Mills' name could still be seen next to the left entrance and his family owned the building until 1976.
In 1991, the home was purchased by Tender Mercies and now is called the New Morning House. Tender Mercies provides housing and support services for those who are homeless and have a mental illness. So the legacy of the doctors who served their patients here continues with the work of Tender Mercies.

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