Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Home With A Park View

These buildings have grabbed my attention more than once now and last Friday at the opening of Washington Park was a great opportunity to get a better picture.
1316-1318 Race (left), 1314 Race (right) Source - Digging Cincinnati History
Little did I know that these two buildings share a common ancestor. See, I believe buildings, especially homes, have ancestors like people. Knowing the style of architecture or the builder are only a small part of the story. Knowing who lived there and what they did gives a building a fuller, richer history, just like learning the stories of our families.
1887 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Before 1896, 1314 Race Street was 472 Race, right next door to the Nast Memorial German Methodist Church. The home was built in circa 1876 for John Fred Heitmeyer, a grocer and commission merchant who was born in 1821 in Prussia. His wife was Margaret Stroebel Heitmeyer, born in Bavaria. Together, they had three sons, Charles William, Frederick Adolf, and Henry George. But 472 Race Street was not their first home. From at least 1860 until 1876, they lived right next door, at 474 Race, when there was still a two-story single family home there.
1875 Illustrated Cincinnati - Source
J. Fred Heitmeyer was quite successful in his business along with the Frazer family. In 1890, the Heitmeyer family took over the business which was located on Walnut Street between Front and Second Streets. Margaret Heitmeyer passed away at their home in 1893 and J. Fred joined her in 1904, dying from pneumonia at the age of 82. They are both buried at the Walnut Hills Cemetery.
1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
While the Heitmeyer family lived at 472 Race, it seems they still owned 474 Race and rented it to various people over the years. In 1884, their son Henry George had married his wife Carrie and they moved into the old family homestead. Before 1900, the present building at 1316-1318 Race Street was built and Henry, Carrie and their children Harry and Laura lived on one floor of the 1316 side of the building with the Morehouse and Kuhl families living on the other floors. The left side, 1318 Race, housed three other families.

Circa 1900 - Source
But in 1905, after the death of their parents, Charles, who never married and his brother Henry, with his family, were all living back in the single family home at 1314 Race Street. Only five years later, these brothers had moved out of Over-the-Rhine and up the hill to Clifton, living at 3426 Cornell Place, off Ludlow Avenue. The family home was turned into two flats with tenants W.E. French, a clerk at a railroad freight office and Joseph Orth, who ran a daily market on 6th Street.
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
From 1915 until 1940, various renters lived at 1314 Race and, as was common in most large American cities, the first immigrants moved away from the city center and those who took their place came from other parts of the United States and primarily from the south. As you can see in the 1930 Census below, renters were born in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama and Indiana. Louis A. Koehler owned and lived in this home from around 1930, running a real estate business here along with renting the upper floors to tenants. 
1930 US Federal Census - Ancestry.com
Mr. Koehler continued to own 1314 Race Street until his family sold it in 1959 to the Emmanuel Community Center. In 2003, it was sold to the Nast Trinity United Methodist Church. Pastor Dave Weaver tells me the building is now uninhabitable and needs a complete renovation. The church has no immediate plans but have begun conversations for its future. Facing the new Washington Park, the future is sure to have a beautiful view!
1999-2003 Hamilton County Auditor

2008 Hamilton County Auditor


  1. great stuff! You make it all come alive. Thanks!

  2. I lived on the second floor of 1318 Race Street, on an end apartment-8B if I remember correctly- That picture really takes me back. I had the wndow propped open one hot summer day, and it come down and shattered. The glass looked to be several decades old, at least, and may have actually been the original window. That place is very likely haunted.


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