Another home built by Samuel Hannaford and Sons and one the National Register as a result, a reader asked about this home recently.
|400 Forest Avenue, Avondale|
Hamilton County Auditor , 2005
This home was built in 1887, although according to a newspaper article in 1883, the original 16 acres of land was purchased in that year for $36,000. The purchaser was Adam Edward Burkhardt, an immigrant from Germany, who owned a successful fur business.
The following biography was written in 1875 in the book, Ohio, the Future Great State: Her Manufacturers, and a
History of Her Commercial Cities, Cincinnati and Cleveland:
A Man who, from an humble position and by his own efforts,
has risen to affluence and social position, and through all the events of a
checkered life has preserved his integrity unimpeached, well deserves the pen
of the historian, and to be held up as a model to posterity.
A. K. BURKHARDT was born in Herschberg, near
Zweibriicken, Rhenish provinces, Bavaria, April 26. 1845, and is, therefore, in
his thirty-first year. When ten years old, his father died, and he, with his
mother and sister, embarked for America the same year, settling with them in Cincinnati
immediately after their arrival. In three and a half years after he lost his
mother, so, at the age of thirteen, he, with his sister, were left orphans. Mr.
Burkhardt attended school in Germany when only six years old, and continued his
education in the public-schools of Cincinnati till his mother's death, which
occurred in 1859; after which, he entered the employ of Mitchell &
Rammelsberg as errand boy at a salary of one dollar per week. This position he
occupied only three months, and left to better himself pecuniarily, having
received an offer of one dollar and fifty cents per week from Jacob Theis,
retail hatter and furrier; and here was has first step that has resulted in his
present colossal business. Commencing at the lowest possible position, he
gradually promoted himself by his strict attention to the duties imposed upon
him, till after a few years we find him occupying the loftiest position within
the gift of his employer, and a fitting reward for his zealous fidelity to his
employer's interests. This position he continued until January, 1867, at which
time himself and brother-in-law, F. B. Burkhardt, bought out the business from
Mr. Theis. The subject of this sketch assumed sole management.
What success has attended his exertions and shrewd
business management is apodictical to us all, for there are few among our
readers who do not know Mr. Burkhardt personally or by reputation as taking the
lead in the art as hatter and furrier. His business so soon increased that the
demand for more capacious accommodations resulted in his leasing the new and
spacious salesrooms at 113 West Fourth Street (Mitchell's Block), where he
caters to the wants of his customers, though he still keeps the old stand on
Main Street. A. E. Burkhardt & Co. are also large exporters of raw skins,
their principal shipping-points being Leipzic and London. They receive
consignments from every State in the Union, British and South Americas, and
have over three thousand correspondents.
On March 1, 1871, Mr. B. was joined in wedlock to Miss
Emma Amanda, the only daughter of our distinguished fellow-citizen, Andrew
Erkenbrecher, Esq., and we need not add that the result has been a happy one.
He has been successful in all of his business pursuits, from a rare combination
of industry and judgment, and has gained the confidence and respect of the
whole community by at all times exhibiting a rectitude of character which never
wavered from a proper direction. He can enjoy the fruit of the seed he has
sown, whilst his nature is susceptible of enjoyment, and the stamina of life
have not weakened and decayed. He has all the elements of happiness within his
reach, and they are of his own creation.
Cincinnati Enquirer; Feb 11, 1892; Pg. 5
Brilliant Reception in Avondale
Mrs. A. E. Burkhardt Entertains Charmingly
In Honor of Her Niece, Miss Clara Erkenbrecher
In all of Avondale there is no
place more beautiful than Edgewood, the home of Mrs. A.E. Burkhardt, and in all
the annals of Cincinnati’s social history no reception has excelled in
sumptuous appointment the one she gave yesterday to meet her niece, Miss Clara
Erkenbrecher. The house of stone is built on the edge of one of the most
picturesque woods in the Ohio valley and has a far-away view from every
The interior is of royal magnificence,
with its rare painting and statuary pieces from the A. T. Stewart collection,
bric-a-brac picked up at intervals in Europe, and an abundant wealth of the
floral world filled the house with delicious perfume and added to the general
The drawing room, furnished in
white and gold, was lavishly decorated with bowls of pink and white roses.
The hall was gorgeous in red:
half way upstairs beneath a superb stained-glass window was a floral window
seat in yellow tulips. The library across from the drawing room was a picture
in yellow. The high shelves of the mantel were heaped with the golden flowers
of spring and across the top of the long book-case were massed the same lovely
flowers in riotous profusion.
The rooms above the stairs were
greatly admired, especially the Moorish room, and Mr. Albert Erkenbrecher’s
bachelor quarters on the third floor. A full orchestra was stationed near the
stairs, and discoursed the brightest and latest of operatic and dance music…
But the prettiest place in all
the house was the dining room, a dream in green and white, and everybody was
lost in admiration. The mantel was banked high in white Roman hyacinths, tulips
and maiden-hair hyacinths and maiden-hair ferns…
|This photo from The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden book, published in 2010, shows the detail on the porch of the A. E. Burkhardt home. - Source|
|Cincinnati Enquirer, Aug 3, 1902; pg. 8|
As noted in the article above, in 1902 the Burkhardt home was for sale, and when no willing buyer was interested, it was sold at a sheriff's sale for half of its value. It was just two years later, when then-owner Joseph Joseph passed away. However, the home remained with his wife until 1919, when their son Arthur Joseph took ownership. Arthur and his wife Florence owned the home until 1936 when Robert H. Gibson bought the home.
It eventually became a nursing home but now stands empty and decaying. In 2005, a neighbor bought the home to protect their investment and with hopes that someone would buy it and fix it up. However, this has not yet happened. I am not aware if the home is still for sale. It was condemned by city order in 2011.
|This photo was taken while the home was being used as a nursing home. Source|
The home is described as "a Large scale, asymmetrical, two-and-a-half story random
rock-faced ashlar building. It is distinguished by a large gable end, stone
porch, and corner turret with conical slate cap and finial. The front façade is
marked by a projecting boxed gable end enclosing a dentilled cornice, elaborate
stone embellishments around a man’s head, and a group of five, twenty-over-one
windows with arched lintels… Architecturally, it incorporates elements from the
Victorian, Queen Anne, and Romanesque styles." Source
2014 Update - Interior photos!
Wow, what a coincidence that you posted this! I was just poking around this place on Sunday, snapped a few photos...ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for sharing these pictures. It is really sad to see the interior pictures. Such amazing detail on the exterior! I have shared your blog on my Facebook page as well.Delete
Some day, when I win the lotto, I'm snapping up one of these places!!Delete
Wow. Thanks for sharing! When were these taken?Delete
I think a lot more credit needs to be given to the family that made this house a nursing home. People complain about how it is falling apart. It would have fallen apart in the 1930's if it weren't for the Donaldson family. When you consider what Burkardt put into his house compared to the Ruth and Susan Donaldson, this house should be the considered the Donaldson house.ReplyDelete
Today, this beautiful abandoned home is continuing to deteriorate with over grown weeds :-( Such a shame no one could invest and bring it back to life.ReplyDelete
Did bad things happen at this house ? Why didn’t anyone want to buy it? What was wrong with it to be sold half value?ReplyDelete