Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Bell House - East Walnut Hills

Another find from the wonderful collection of photos given to UC's DAAP program from the Cincinnati Preservation Association.
1869 Titus Map - Source
This home was built on a parcel of the original Scarborough property, between 1902 and 1904 for Charles Walter Bell, son of John E. Bell, the once wealthy owner the Cincinnati Tin and Japan Company. The home was designed by A.O. Elzner and George M. Anderson, prominent Cincinnati architects who also designed the Ingalls Building downtown.
1904 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
The Bell family only remained in the home until 1912, when it was sold to a wealthy bachelor, Jefferson "Jeff" Livingston. It was noted in the papers that it sold for $50,000, the largest amount in the city that year. Articles in the Cincinnati Enquirer documented the beauty of the home:
It is the brick colonial type of architecture and contains about 12 rooms. On the second floor there are five bedrooms and several baths. The improvement is of the three-story type, with a finished third floor, where are located the quarters of the servants. The house is said to be the best equipped for its size in the Cincinnati market… November 30, 1912
 There is no house in town so perfect in colonial architecture as Mr. and Mrs. Bell’s, and its Georgian furniture and superb marble mantel pieces, magnificent types of their period are unsurpassed in this part of the county… Mrs. Bell gave infinite thought to the building and furnishing of the house, and her artistic sense never served her to better advantage, for the result was impeccable, a house so distinctly colonial, its appointments so perfectly in keeping with its period that it stands unique. Some of Mrs. Bell’s splendid pieces of mahogany are heirlooms, others were gathered together from many parts of the country, years of effort being devoted to this delightful mission before the house was built... December 8, 1912
Mr. Livingston, it seems, never lived in the home, and the following year he sold it to John M. Wright for $40,000. Mr. Wright was with the Raleigh Coal & Coke Company. He and his wife, Carrie, and their two daughters, Marjorie and Virginia, took up residence here. Unfortunately, Mr. Wright passed away at the early age of 58 in 1928. Carrie and her daughters remained in the home until 1940, when Carrie sold the home to the Lee family. It remained in their family until 1968. Since that time, there have been just three owners, with the current owners purchasing it in 1989.

The house faces the Cincinnati Tennis Club, which its own unique history is documented here.

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