Monday, December 16, 2013

Gas, Electric, Horses and Lofts - 304 McFarland Street

This is another commissioned project for Cranewoods Development, LLC, who wanted to know the history of their project, McFarland Lofts. The information was so interesting, I decided to share it on the blog as well!
304 McFarland Street - Source: Cranewoods Development, LLC
This building was not the first on this lot, which sits behind the old Cincinnati Gas, Light & Coke building, now the part of the Fourth & Plum Apartments. Originally, it was the location of the New England Straw Works, making primarily hats. 
1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
However, in 1901, the Cincinnati Gas Company purchased these buildings in preparation for constructing two new buildings:
The Cincinnati Enquirer; Nov 13, 1901; pg. 5

The Cincinnati Enquirer; Nov 13, 1901; pg. 5
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
 The property was sold to the City of Cincinnati in 1952 and soon after, the offices of the City Income Tax Bureau and the Citizens Committee on Youth were located here until 1975. In 1977, plans were made to convert the buildings at Fourth and Plum into apartments, completed in the early 1980's, but 304 McFarland Street was not included in those plans. 
It seems the McFarland building was vacant until 1995, when Gary Even, Miami Valley Paper Hanging and Bambeck & Vest, general contractors, took up offices here until 2005, when plans turned to converting the building into loft spaces. In 2007, architect Conrad Oppt bought the building, but cash ran out before he could complete the project. Andrew Howe, of Cranewoods Development, LLC, purchased the building in 2010, and completed the renovation, keeping the former hayloft/loading doors as balconies. The original hoist beam can still be seen on the building today.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Inwood Park, Mt. Auburn

Thanks to Vanishing Cincinnati's Facebook page for the following picture of Inwood Park in Mt. Auburn which inspired this blog post:
Dancing Pavillion at Inwood Park - From the Hanseman Archives - Source gives a wonderful summary of the history of the park:
Originally called "Schoenberger's Woods" this site along the Vine Street hill south of McMillan was the summer home of Cincinnati Millionaire George K. Schoenberger. It later became of source of stone used for the foundations of many Cincinnati homes. After the quarry was abandoned, the site turned into a dump. In 1904 the city acquired the 20 acres of land and completed a park that had already been started by local volunteers. Not seen in these cards is the 10' granite monument honoring Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852), founder of the Turner Society in Germany, (see Turner Page). Turner societies regularly paraded up Vine Street from their hall at 14th and Walnut Streets to hold picnics and other events here. It was unveiled on October 22, 1911.
I decided to look through the Cincinnati Enquirer articles available through the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to verify this history. I found that this park was enjoyed for many years by a variety of local groups even before it became an official city park. Enjoy the following articles all from the Cincinnati Enquirer:
May 29, 1872
Sept 24 1872
May 27 1874
Jul 21, 1879
May 17, 1880
Aug 15 1881
Sept 21, 1894
Jan 24, 1903
Apr 6, 1905
Jun 20, 1905
Feb 25, 1908
Nov 24, 1908
Nov 19, 1909
Oct 23, 1911
Dec 20, 1914
Dec 29, 1915

1869 Titus Map of the Inwood Park region and the Cincinnati Orphan Asylum - Source
1904-1930 Map of Inwood/Taft Park (named Taft Park on this map) - Source
The following pictures were found at

The large building in the distance in the postcard above is the Cincinnati Orphan Asylum, built in 1860. It was rebuilt in 1930 by Hannaford & Sons as the Children's Convelescent Home and closed finally in 1973. The 1930 building still exists and was converted into the Wellington Place Medical Arts Center.
Jun 28, 1860
Children's Convelescent Home, built in 1930, now the Wellington Place Medical Arts Center - Source

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Brownstone on West Ninth

This home caught my eye a while ago, when I noticed it was for sale. Then recently, Cranewoods Development, LLC, contacted me for a research report, letting me know the house had a buyer. I was glad to help find the history of this beauty for the new owners.
219 W Ninth - Source
This home is on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Ninth Street Historic District but the nomination information did not have anything specific on this home. So off I went digging...
1887 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
CAGIS - 2013
I compared the maps above to verify the Hamilton County Auditor's Year Built date of 1888. The maps do verify that the building on the 1887 map is not the same shape and location of the building on the 1891 map, however the 1891 map does match up with the 2013 map. So the year built date is pretty close.

At the request of the developer, I went to the Hamilton County Recorder's office to research the owners of the building. As is often the case in the downtown area, the owner and the occupants were different as this home was built as a real estate investment and was a rental property from the time it was built. The lot was originally part of Jacob C. Burnet's subdivision, but at the time of construction, the lot was owned by what was believed as Margaret Rose, according to the Deed Index. But a closer look at the actual deed shows that whoever transcribed the deeds to the index read the name wrong. Her name was actually Margaret Ross!
Deed Index; 4th Series; 1886-1903
Deed between Lydia Eggleston and Margaret Ross
Shortly after the home was finished, the first renter in 1889 was Myer S. Rosenthal, who was the son of Henry Rosenthal, who had a successful whiskey distillery.They sold such brands as "1881 Rock Castle Rye", "Fern Hill Rye", "Forest Grove", "Lion Head Rye", "Meadow Brook", "Mephisto Rye", "O' Hare Malt", "Red Letter Rye", "Rosedale", and "Wm. Berkele." Mr. Rosenthal only lived at the home through 1891.
Cincinnati Enquirer (1872-1922); Sep 27, 1888; pg. 6
ProQuest Historical Newspapers
From 1893 until 1898, Dr. Charles S. Muscroft lived and had his practice here. From 1900 until 1910, various tenants were residents here including two music teachers. In 1906 ownership changed to Sarah Ann Johnson, who continued the home as a rental property. In 1910, Adelaide Moak began a nurses home here with 14 nurses listing the address as their place of work and/or home. Mrs. Helen Kennedy took over the nurses home in 1911, as evidenced by the article below:
Cincinnati Enquirer; Mar 19, 1911; pg. 4
ProQuest Historical Newspapers
From 1915 until approximately 1986, the building was a rooming house. Ownership changed again in 1934 with the death of Ms. Johnson. It was inherited by her relative, Joseph Berning, who in turn sold it to Mabel Williamson. Mabel sold it again in 1959 to Lettie Freeman, who is listed in the 1961 and 1965 city directories as offering furnished rooms at this address.

In 1982, Michael L. Krienik purchased the building, converting it into offices. He remained the owner until 2010 and various businesses rented space here. After its sale in 2012, plans were underway to convert the building back into a single family home because of the increasing demand for housing in the downtown area. Andy Howe of Cranewoods Development, LLC, is taking care to maintain as much of the historic aspects of the home while renovating it into a modern living space. The following pictures were taken before renovations began:
Front Entry

Front rooms on first floor with original pocket doors
Detail on the fireplace on what will be the the living room.
Beautiful ceiling medallion!
Main stairway. There is a second stairway to the second floor in the rear of the home

Stairway from the second floor
This front room on the second floor will become the master suite with the conversion of the adjoining bedroom into a full bath.
Another ceiling medallion
I recently was invited to take a look at the home while it is under construction:
This plaque was added before the realization that Rose should have been Ross. At least it has a story to go with it now!

163 W. 9th Street was the address before the 1895-96 street renumbering changed it to 219 W. 9th
Wrought iron gate still remains at the front entrance along with the fence 
Diamond shaped windows on the second floor hallway
The laid stone foundation in the basement
One of the many radiators still in the house

I can't wait to visit again when the construction is complete. Look for an update soon!