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.

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