Saturday, September 29, 2012

Gorham A. Worth House in Mount Auburn

I came across this home while looking through a collection of photo from the Cincinnati Preservation Association. I had never heard of this home and wanted to learn more.

Gorham A. Worth House - Auburncrest Avenue, Mount Auburn, 2010 - Source
This may well be the oldest home in Mount Auburn. Built circa 1819, it predates the Baum-Longworth-Sinton-Taft House (Taft Museum of Art) by one year.

Gorham A. Worth was born in 1783 in Hudson, New York. He worked as a banker and in 1817, came to Cincinnati to be the cashier of the newly formed United States Branch Bank. When he built his home, Mount Auburn was then known as "Key's Hill" in honor of James Key, whose home was on Bigelow Street. Worth did not stay long in Cincinnati, leaving for New York before 1825 and he passed away in 1856.

But Worth's contributions to Cincinnati history were enormous. He wrote "Recollections of Cincinnati" in 1851, noting his trip down the Ohio River with William Henry Harrison and descriptions of early Cincinnati and some of his good friends, including Nicholas Longworth, Jacob Burnet, General Findlay, Dr. Daniel Drake, Martin Baum, John Piatt, General Lytle, among many others. Luckily this book is available on-line, so try to take some time to read it.

After Worth's departure, the home was purchased by Robert McGregor, for whom McGregor Avenue is named. McGregor was born in 1804 in Scotland and it seems he was independently wealthy.
1850 US Census -
In the 1850 Census, McGregor's occupation is "unknown" but the value of his real estate was $16,000.
1860 US Census -
By 1860, McGregor's occupation is listed as "gentleman" and his real estate was then worth $200,000 and his personal estate worth $2,000. About this time, the "wings" were added to both sides of the main house. McGregor passed away in 1866 of cholera and is buried in the family plot at Spring Grove Cemetery. His descendants sold the land, breaking them into parcels for development.
1869 Titus Map -
By 1869, Truman B. Handy, a builder and real estate developer, had purchased the home. He only lived here for a short time and by 1880, had sold it to Jacob Krouse. Krouse was born in 1824 in Germany. He emigrated to the United States in 1846 and married his wife, Caroline, in 1851 in a double wedding with his best friend and business partner, Louis Stix. They, along with other family members and partners, ran Stix, Krouse & Company, a very successful clothing business. The Krouse family remained in the home until Jacob's death in 1905. The next year, Caroline sold the home to Guy Ward Mallon.

1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Note the Worth House in the middle.
Auburncrest Avenue was once called Krouse Avenue, named after Jacob Krouse.
Guy Ward Mallon (1864-1933), "one of the founders of Cincinnati’s City Charter, creator of Ohio’s Australian-ballot system, and author of “A Manual on Elections” (1892)." Source 
He lived in this home until approximately 1930, when he built a smaller home just to the south at 240 McGregor Avenue.

Samuel J M Allen, a professor of experimental physics at the University of Cincinnati became the owner around 1930. It remained in his possession until 1952, when it was purchased by Irvin Yeaworth, a Presbyterian minister. A list of owners from Allen until 1988 can be seen below on the ownership card from the Hamilton County Auditor's records. 
Ownership Card - Hamilton County Auditor
It is presently a private residence. When I stumbled upon the picture from the Cincinnati Preservation Association  I found they had also taken some wonderful detail and interior pictures, which are below. Click on them to enlarge.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Hummel Houses of Whitfield Avenue

In last week's post, we learned about David Hummel, who started Hummel Industries. His children followed in his footsteps and continued the family business of stone fabrication and installation. Their continued success allowed them to build houses in Clifton in the late 1890's and early 1900's. Three of his sons chose to live close together, all living on the same street, Whitfield Avenue.

1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Prior to 1898, the north part of present day Whitfield Avenue was named Linden Avenue and to the west, present day Cornell Place was named Evans Place.
3423 Whitfield Avenue - George and Ella Hummel
In 1893, George Hummel, Sr. was the first to build his home at 3423 Whitfield Avenue. This home remained in his family until his wife, Ella, passed away in 1947. This home, designed by Samuel Hannaford & Sons, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

3455 Whitfield Avenue - Frank Hummel's home from 1897-1906
In 1897, Frank Hummel joined his brother, owning and occupying one half of the two family home at 3455 Whitfield. But by 1906, Frank moved his family to Westwood and continued to rent the home in Clifton. This home was mentioned in the Cincinnati Magazine in 2006.

3463 Whitfield Avenue - William Hummel
Then in 1904, George and Frank's younger brother, William, joined them, living at 3463 Whitfield Avenue. William passed away in 1935 and his wife, Clara, continued to live there until 1941. Clara passed away in 1967 at the age of 88.
1904 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source

2012 CAGIS Map

But there is one more connection to the Hummel's of Whitfield - George Hummel, Sr.'s son, George Ellis Hummel, lived just one street west of his parents and uncles.
3480 Cornell Place
In 1905, G. Ellis Hummel built this home at the corner of present day Cornell Place and Evanswood Place. G. Ellis passed away in 1938 and the home was sold shortly afterward.

Relatives of the Hummel's still live in Cincinnati today. Thanks to Harriet, another relative living now in Pittsburgh, for letting me know about these homes!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

1910 Freeman Avenue

Hamilton County Auditor Photo
Thanks to John for telling me about this home, which was recently declared a public nuisance. While I did feature some of the information about the home on my Facebook page, I received more information about the family that I wanted to share in depth with my blog readers.

The home was built in 1879 for David Hummel. Hummel was a stone mason who was born in Germany in 1822. He immigrated to the United States in 1841 and worked for a time in Columbus, Ohio on the State House. Eventually, Hummel came to Cincinnati and in 1847 married Dorothea Dieble, also from Germany. Their first home was also on Freeman Avenue, further south than this home. David and Dorothea had 9 children:

John  - (1847-1880)
George  - (1851-1911)
Anna  - (1853-1928)
Rachel (Tillie) - (1856-1893)
David, Jr. - (1858-1888)
Emma - (1860-1918)
Frank  - (1864-1950)
William  - (1867-1935)
Harry  - (1871-1876)

1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Hummel built a very successful business in Cincinnati, The David Hummel Building Company. Their offices first were on Plum Street Downtown and then moved to Elder and Logan Streets. 
From these venues, the young company quickly earned a reputation for expert fabrication and installation of cut stone. Early influential clients of the Hummel Company included Mr. Procter, Mr. Gamble and a premier brewer of his day, Christian Moerlein.
In 1888, Hummel received the contract for the largest construction project undertaken up to that time in the history of the City of Cincinnati. The city trustees accepted Hummel's bid in the amount of $513,000.00 for the excavation and stone construction of Cincinnati's new City Hall. Four years later the facility was dedicated and The David Hummel Building Company had come of age. - Source
Hummel's sons, John, George, Frank and William, joined the family business and George, Frank and William kept it going after their father and brother's deaths.
HUMMEL THE DAVID BUILDING CO., Geo. Hummel, President and General Manager; Frank Hummel, Treasurer; G. Ellis Hummel, Secretary; Wm. Hummel, Superintendent; P, L, Winkelman, Assistant Secretary; Contractors for Cut Stone Work, Brick Work and Masonry, Bldg, Logan and Plum; Telephone 2336 - 1900 Williams' City Directory
Over the years, the company has been involved also in the construction of Union Terminal and St. Gregory's Seminary among many others. The business is still operating today as Hummel Industries, Inc.

The house remained in the family after the deaths of David and Dorothea with their daughter, Anna, living there until her death in 1928. Ownership then transferred to Frank Hummel's daughter, Louise, who sold the home in 1938. It has since then been sold quite a few times and is currently owned by an out of state holding company based in Utah, who has failed to maintain the building. The home will be the subject of other hearings before its fate is determined.

UPDATE October 11, 2013: The property has been transferred to the Hamilton County Land Bank and is being stabilized and readied for sale in the future.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

8th and then 7th District Patrol House

Thanks to Mariann for asking about this week's subject, a former patrol house at the corner of McMillian and Ravine in Fairview Heights.
355 W McMillan - Source
This beautiful building was built in the late 1890's and was first listed as a patrol house in the 1899 Williams' City Directory. This patrol house used horse drawn wagons, which contained with the usual police equipment along with stretchers and surgical instruments. (Source)

Details above the front windows - Source
Ravine Street View circa 1910 - Source
The building was designed by the firm of Samuel Hannaford & Sons, with Charles Rosentiel as the architect. According to the Bicentennial Guide to Cincinnati (1988): "In 1927, police district boundaries were redrawn, and the station became the Seventh District Patrol House. By 1957, the building was no longer needed and was turned over to the Cincinnati Recreational Commission for renovation as a community center.... As the community organizations and the accompanying sense of community identity weakened, the Recreation Commission changed the facility into an Arts Center around 1970. The Fairview Arts Center closed due to lack of funds in 1984, and the city sold the building."
Google Street View
It was most recently used as an office building for Graphic Concepts, Inc and is currently for sale.