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!

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