Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Gibson-Hauck House

This home has been on my research list for some months now and I have finally completed my "digging" enough to share it with you!
Photo by A. Senefeld - Digging Cincinnati History
This home should really be called the Baldwin-Wilson-Leaman-Hauck-Gibson House but let me explain...

The parcels on which the home sits were first purchased by Thomas Baldwin and the home was built circa 1856. Baldwin did not remain the owner for long, and soon James L. Wilson purchased the property around 1859 as a summer home. Wilson passed away in 1867, however the home remained in the family and it was leased to G. Y. Roots, who was a commission merchant with a store on Pearl Street, across from the Indianapolis & Cincinnati Railroad Freight Depot.
1869 Titus Map - Source
In Sidney D. Maxwell's book, "The suburbs of Cincinnati : sketches, historical and descriptive", published in 1870, he mistakenly called the home "the old home of A.D. Bullock". Bullock was Wilson's son-in-law and his home stood where the Vernon Manor is today. Having researched the Hamilton County Recorder's Office records, there is no evidence that Bullock ever owned this property.
1870 Census - Ancestry.com
Mr. Roots remained in the home until 1879-1880. In 1882, the Wilson family sold the home to Kate P. Leaman, whose husband was Robert F. Leaman. He was with the firm VanAntwerp, Bragg & Co., "Publishers The Eclectic Educational Series of School and College Text Books".
1904 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Note the carriage house, to the left, which still stands today, as offices for the Cincinnati Park Board.
The Leaman family owned the home until 1911, when it was purchased by Louis J. Hauck, son of brewer John Hauck. Louis left his home at 842 Dayton Street for the suburb of "Vernonville", the name given to this location stuck between Mount Auburn, Corryville and Avondale.

The Hauck family were the longest owners of the home. Louis died in 1942 and his wife, Frieda, in 1955. After her death, the home was owned by their children, Cornelius J. Hauck, Frederick A. Hauck and Katherine Hauck Gibson, who married James R. Gibson, chairman of the board of the Gibson Art Company in 1955, which became Gibson Greeting Cards. Katherine and James made 425 Oak Street into their home. Her brother, Cornelius, bought land behind the home and created "Sooty Acres" and was well-known gardener and lover of nature. He was on the Cincinnati Park Board from 1948 until 1969.
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Note the Vernon Manor Hotel across the street, built in  1924.

1950 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
It is no surprise, with Cornelius' connection to the Park Board, that in 1969, the home and land surrounding it was sold to the Parks. Katherine Gibson continued to live in the home until her death in 1977. Just two years later, the home was leased to the University of Cincinnati Foundation for a nominal fee with the agreement that the home would be maintained. The rest of the property became the Hauck Botanical Garden.

Living Room Fireplace
The home was still occupied by Katherine H. Gibson at the time of the photo, circa @1970.
More photos from the 1970's can be seen at
The UC Foundation left the home decorated as Mrs. Gibson had, including green and red carpeting. They occupied the rooms as office space, even including a bomb shelter in the basement, built in the 1960's.
Photo by A. Senefeld - Digging Cincinnati History
More photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/diggingcincihistory/sets/72157634299817163/
While the UC Foundation tried to maintain the historic aspect of the home, some structural changes were made due to fire codes. Most of the wood doors were replaced with steel fire doors and a fire wall had to be built on the second floor landing, which was papered with matching wallpaper found in the attic. (Cincinnati Post, Jan. 9, 1979 pg. 17)
At left, circa 1970
At right, 1979
Note the firewall now cuts off the second floor landing.
The UC Foundation left the Gibson House around 2000 and their offices are now located on campus. The home sat empty until 2012, when renovations took place. Most of the wallpaper was removed and the hardwood floors brought back to life. The Cincinnati Parks now offers the first floor of the home for rental as part of their Premier Park Facilities, which occupies the second floor as their offices.

Photo by Tim Jeffries, Moving Pictures Photography
I had the opportunity to tour the home last week along with Tim Jeffries of Moving Pictures Photography. This home is as amazing as its history. There were many surprises to be seen, such as the huge basement with many room and that bomb shelter complete with steel doors. There is a coal-fired clothes dryer and many rooms down there. The third floor has been carved into office space but the elevator equipment added seemingly added by the Haucks can be seen.

Tim also took the following beautiful photos:

Photo by Tim Jeffries, Moving Pictures Photography
Photo by Tim Jeffries, Moving Pictures Photography
Photo by Tim Jeffries, Moving Pictures Photography
Photo by Tim Jeffries, Moving Pictures Photography
Photo by Tim Jeffries, Moving Pictures Photography
Photo by Tim Jeffries, Moving Pictures Photography
Photo by Tim Jeffries, Moving Pictures Photography
Photo by Tim Jeffries, Moving Pictures Photography
More from the 1970's can be seen here:

More photos from my trip:

The home now offers space for baby or wedding showers, corporate meeting and even cooking classes with its updated kitchen. Other amenities include fireplaces, sun room, patio, restrooms, parking, and outdoor space to accommodate tents for additional capacity. Thanks to Kevin with Premier Park Events for giving us a tour of this wonderful historic home!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Woodward Theater Turns 100!

The Woodward Theater is celebrating its 100th birthday today! According to cinematreasures.org, the once-theater at the corner of Main and 14th Streets in Over-the-Rhine opened on June 18, 1913. So in honor of its birthday, I decided to dig a little deeper into the history of this location.
The Woodward Theater in 1913 - Source
In 1791, William Woodward, who was born in Connecticut in 1768, came to Cincinnati because the area was in need of surveyors, his trained profession. He also farmed and was granted an acre of land near present-day Fountain Square. When he returned from fighting in campaigns against the American Indians in 1792, he married Jane McGowen but she died just thirteen months later. In 1796, William purchased 120 acres from his brother Levi and this land went from present-day 13th Street to Liberty and from Main to Broadway. He married Abigail Cutter in 1803, who inherited money and land from her father, who had been killed by Indians. He built a home from planks of flat-boats as their starter home and in 1816 he built a brick house at the corner of Main and Webster (now 14th) Streets in front of the wooden home. The wooden home stood until the 1860's. - Source

As you may know, William Woodward donated land for both the original Woodward College/High School and a free public school on Franklin Street (now Woodward), which became Peaslee School.
1838 Joseph Gest Map - Source
The "T" indicates Public School

1841 Doolittle and Munson Map - Source
The "R" indicates Public School

1869 Titus Map - Source
After William's death in 1833 and Abigail's death in 1852, the home was inherited by their niece, Abigail Foster Lewis, whose husband, Henry Lewis was the brother of William's friend. They lived in the home for some time and after her death, the home went her half-brother, Seth Foster, one of the founders of the Stearns and Foster, a prominent mattress company.
1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Seth rented the home over the years to various tenants. It almost reached its 100th birthday, but in 1912, it was demolished to make way for the new motion picture theater which was named in William Woodward's honor.
Cincinnati Enquirer, Sep 14, 1912; pg. 4
A news article from FOX 19 states: "Two items have been salvaged from the old building and will be installed in the new building: A tanning table from William Woodward's leather shop, and the front door to Woodward's mansion." - Jun 10, 2011
Cincinnati Enquirer; Oct 4, 1912; pg. 11

Cincinnati Enquirer; Oct 22, 1913; pg. 7
Cincinnati Enquirer; Apr 8, 1917; pg. 10
The theater opened in 1913, however it closed in 1933, possibly as a result of the Great Depression. In 1935, Andy Schain Auto, Inc. moved in and was in business at this location until some time in the 1940's.
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source

Cincinnati Post, January, 1937
1950 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
After this, the trail runs dry of what else occupied this space. I found a mention on the Woodward Theater's Facebook page that in the 1970's, bands played here and it was then called "Wanda Bears".


The theater was used as a backdrop for scenes in the movie "Eight Men Out" which was filmed in the city in 1988.

In 1990, the building was purchased by Greg Starnes, who already had an antique shop further south on Main Street. The theater was used as storage until 1995, when he opened it as a second location for his antiques.


Last year, Greg closed his shop on Main Street and February, 2013 brought new owners, ones very familiar with Over-the-Rhine and Main Street, the same owners as MOTR Pub. Tonight, to celebrate the birthday of the Woodward Theater, the lights on the fa├žade will once again shine as the theater is transformed into an entertainment venue
Same "W" as the old Woodward/SCPA School

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Globe Furniture Building - Findlay Market

On my many trips to Findlay Market, I have always admired the Globe Furniture Building. But I wondered what its history was, especially with the clock tower at the top.
Courtesy of Photography For The People
The Hamilton County Auditor dates this building from 1885, but a quick look at a map from 1891 can show that this date is not accurate.
1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Clearly there were two buildings there at the time and if you look closely (click on the image to enlarge it), you can see a small number 2 on the Elm Street edge of the buildings. This indicates the buildings were two-stories tall. The Globe Building is a four-story structure, so this tells us the building was built after 1891.
1904 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Now with this map from 1904, we can see the outline of the building that stands today with the correct number of stories indicated. You can also see the "E" for the elevator shaft and the tower. Now the construction date is narrowed down to between 1891 and 1904.

A quick search through the Cincinnati Enquirer articles available from the Public Library gave the answers I was seeking.
Cincinnati Enquirer; Jun 29, 1896; pg. 4
It looks like it has been a furniture manufacturer and store all along! However, the building ended up being only four-stories tall, instead of the six-stories as originally planned. Scheve & Angert remained in business at this location until about 1930, when it became The Leuger's Furniture Company, a name probably more familiar to Cincinnati residents.
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source

1950 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
I tried to narrow down when it went from Leuger's to Globe Furniture, but I was unable to find any mention in the newspapers or online, but it seems it was by the 1960's-1970's by the picture below.

The Globe Furniture eventually left this location for another on Central Parkway. Findlay Market uses 1801 Elm Street as the main address for locating the market. The building is now owned by OTR Holdings, Inc., part of 3CDC. Renovation plans were made in 2010 for a ground-level restaurant space and the upper levels for office space, including the office for the Corporation of Findlay Market.

So it seems it was a furniture store all along, even with the clock tower on top, which was probably just a nice addition to the market and neighborhood for telling the time.