Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Pogue's of Harvey Avenue

In December 2012, I highlighted the home of Henry Pogue, one of the founders of the H & S Pogue Company. Just last week, at the request of the Cincinnati Preservation Association, I researched a curious stone home in Avondale, which turns out to be the home of Samuel Pogue, Henry's brother and co-founder of the once-famous department store.
3250 Harvey Avenue
It is hard to see if there is even a home behind all this over growth of plants, but hidden behind these trees is a home, built in 1883-1884.
Cincinnati Enquirer; August 16, 1883
1999-2003 Hamilton County Auditor
In this spring photo, you can better see what a beauty this house is. The land was originally part of Glenn parcel as seen below. The home stands at the corner of Harvey Avenue and present-day Hale Avenue, which was then called Linden Avenue. The home was a bit confusing to research since the address used by the Pogue's was 509 Hale Avenue and not 3250 Harvey Avenue used today. Additional homes and apartments were built on the Hale Avenue side after 1934, causing the main home to be renumbered.
1869 Titus Map - Source
I found this biography, written just before Samuel's death, which occurred on July 30, 1912.
Samuel Pogue
The life record of Samuel Pogue is the story of continuous progress. Correctly judging his own capacities and powers, and the people and circumstances that make up his life's contacts and experiences, he has so utilized and directed his energies that he has gained a position of distinctive precedence in mercantile circles in Cincinnati. Not to know. Samuel Pogue, at least by reputation if not personally, is to argue one's self unknown in this city. He was born on a farm at Drumcarplin, near Cavan, Ireland, June 1, 1832, a son of Thomas and Isabella (Crawford) Pogue, the former of Irish lineage and the latter of Scotch descent. On the Emerald isle his youthful days were passed and, following the acquirement of a common school education, he came to America in 1849 and has since been identified with mercantile interests in Cincinnati. He became a clerk in the dry-goods store of John Crawford, on Fifth street, between Walnut and Vine streets, and carefully saved his earnings with the view of one day engaging in business on his own account. At the close of the war he and a brother, Henry, purchased the stock of Mr. Crawford and opened a store at No. 100 West Fifth street, between Vine and Race streets, under the firm name of H. & S. Pogue. For a number of years they continued at that location and then sought larger quarters on Fourth street, between Vine and Race streets, to which they removed on the 1st of January, 1878, their business occupying two store buildings at Nos. 112 and .114. Subsequently the business was reorganized as a corporation under the name of the H. &. S. Pogue Company and in succeeding years adjoining property was purchased so that the store now covers two hundred feet square on Fourth and Race streets. Samuel Pogue is president of the company although he has now passed the seventy-ninth milestone on life's journey. His identification with this business covers forty-six years and throughout the entire period the name of Pogue has sustained an unassailable reputation for business integrity and incorruptible commercial methods. He is also well known in financial circles and is a director of the Merchants' National Bank and the First National Bank.
On the 17th of August, 1871, in Avondale, Mr. Pogue was united in marriage by Rev. W. J. McKnight to Miss Frances Catherine West, a daughter of Henry Franklin West. Their children are: Robert West, who married Miss S. Russell; Letcher, of Richmond, Kentucky; Elizabeth M., the wife of William Robert Todd; and Samuel Franklin, who married Miss Mabel E. Wood, of St. Louis, Missouri.
Mr. Pogue is a republican in his political views. His activities outside of his business and his home have largely centered in religious work. He was for many years a member of the Central Presbyterian church and long served as one of its elders, while for a number of years he was superintendent of its Sunday school. His membership is now in the Avondale Presbyterian church. There are few men whose lives are crowned with the honor and respect which are uniformly accorded Samuel Pogue. Through a half-century's connection with the history of Cincinnati his has been an unblemished character. With him success in life has been reached by sterling qualities of mind and a heart true to every manly principle. He has never deviated from what his judgment indicated to be right and honorable between his fellowmen and himself and has always followed constructive measures, believing in the right of every individual to earn an honest living, so that his path has never been strewed with the wrecks of other men's fortunes.
Cincinnati, the Queen City, 1788-1912, Volume 2;  Charles Frederic Goss;  S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912 - Cincinnati (Ohio)
1904 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source

Samuel and Fannie lived in their Avondale home along with their three children. After their children married and Samuel died, Fannie continued to live in the home with her servants and chauffeur until her death in 1934 at the age of 88. The family is buried at Spring Grove Cemetery.
Frances Catherine "Fannie" West Pogue - Source
After her death, the home was converted into apartments. In the 1940 Census, Albert Zwissler, a carpenter, was the owner and a total of six families were living there, with occupations such as university physics teacher, a nurse and a draftsman. From the 1940's to the present, this former home is still rented as apartments, but from checking records with the city, maintenance is needed on the building. As of June, 2013, the building has new owners and I hope they repair the home and clear the overgrown foliage so that Avondale and the rest of Cincinnati can enjoy the home Samuel Pogue had built for his family 130 years ago.

Post Script:
It is often believed that Samuel Pogue owned a home in Rose Hill in North Avondale, however, this home at 4033 Rose Hill Avenue, was built by his son, Samuel Francis Pogue, in 1905 and he sold it in 1916.
4033 Rose Hill Avenue
Home of Samuel F. Pogue from 1905 to 1916
Just two years later, Samuel F. Pogue died in Washington, D.C. while serving in the Armed Forces for World War I from complications of pneumonia and typhoid at the young age of 36.
Cincinnati Enquirer; Dec 13, 1918

Thursday, August 8, 2013

History of the SE Corner of Fourth and Vine

Who would think by looking at the National City Tower at the corner of Fourth and Vine today that this corner has so much history?

National City (Provident Bank) Tower
Starting back in 1859, Pike's Opera House opened here. It was owned by Samuel Pike, who was a wealthy liquor dealer, who wanted a world-class theater in Cincinnati. This theater sat 2,000 people, was decorated with black and white marble and had a grand stairway.
First Pike's Opera House
Seven years later, a large fire brought this theater to the ground.
First Pike's Opera House Fire in 1866
However, just a year later, a new Pike's Opera House rose from the ashes, this one larger, encompassing half the block of the south side of Fourth Street between Vine and Walnut. Pike's Opera House was the home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra until its move to Music Hall in 1896. Powel Crosley, Sr. was in charge of the opera house operations.
2nd Pike's Opera House and Building

1887 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
The Pike Building and Opera House are in the top half of this map. It was a five-story building with office space on the Fourth Street side and the theater was in the south portion, abutting Baker Street.
1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Similar to the map above.
South side of Fourth Street between Walnut and Vine, looking west.
Second Pike's Building, starting where "Adams Express Co." is located.
Again, tragedy struck the Pike' Opera House on February 26, 1903, when another large fire completely destroyed the building. A newspaper article from the Cincinnati Enquirer states it was the largest fire ever at the time for the city with 27 engine companies responding to battle it. The following snippet shows the losses incurred.
Cincinnati Enquirer; Feb 27, 1903; pg. 3
Second Pike Theater Fire in 1903
Second Pike Theater Fire in 1903
For over a year, the corner of Fourth and Vine sat vacant as settlements between bondholders and owners were made. Finally in 1905, plans were made for the construction of a new hotel. The Sinton Hotel was completed in 1907 and just one day shy of the fourth anniversary of the fire that destroyed the Pike's Building, the Sinton Hotel was opened with great fanfare.
Sinton Hotel - Source
The following descriptions come from more Cincinnati Enquirer articles:
Cafe Of Marble and Pottery Will be Chief Feature of Sinton Hotel 
A cafe of unsurpassed grandeur, finished in rare marbles and Rookwood pottery panels, with a great spreading dome above, rising 55 feet above the marble floor, is to be the great feature of the new Sinton Hotel… F.M. Andrews, architect of the great building… gave a description of the dining facilities… He has visited all the leading cafes and hotels of the country, and said… that he believed the main cafĂ© of the new hotel would equal if not surpass anything in the United States.
As a matter of fact, there are to be 16 dining rooms in this great building. Twelve of these will be private dining rooms. One will be an immense banquet hall, with its own kitchen, on the upper floor, with a capacity for seating 600 guests. Another will be a magnificent grill room down stairs for men. Another will be an exquisitely appointed Ladies’ dining room. Still another will be a private dining room in what will be called the state apartments…
Cincinnati Enquirer; Aug 22, 1905; pg. 5
SCENE: Of Splendid Brilliance Was Formal Opening of the Hotel Sinton--Society Turned Out En Masse
            Over 2,500 men and women, it was estimated from the elevator service, inspected the new Hotel Sinton yesterday. The rush became so great about 4 p.m. that the main doors were closed for an hour. The sides of the lobby were banked with huge bouquets of roses, carnation and ferns and floral pieces sent by friends. Over 200 congratulatory telegrams from cities in 30 states were received by Managing Director E.N Roth and Chief Clerk Frank M. Jago.
The rivalry for the first place on the register was won by Andreas Burkhardt, and M.E. Moch secured that state suit for last night…
Six hundred guests dined last night at the Sinton. Interest centered in the grand cafe, where 400 guests were seated. Everybody was in gala dress…
Cincinnati Enquirer; Feb 26, 1907; pg. 7 
Montage of pictures of the Sinton Hotel - Source

1904-1930 Sanborn Map - Source
The Hotel Sinton (or the Sinton Hotel, both interchangeably used), was originally built with 450 rooms, however an additional 300 rooms were also added. For 57 years, this hotel stood at this corner and provided food and lodging for tenants and travelers alike. The following postcards of the interior come from, a wonderful collection of photos of Cincinnati.

Sometime in the Sinton's history, the name of the hotel was put in lights on the outside of the building. As is apt to happen, the bulbs would occasionally burn out, leaving one letter in the dark. As you can image, when the "T" in Sinton, was burned out, some jokes were made when the hotel became the "Hotel Sin On" instead!

In 1964, plans were made for the Sinton to be torn down and replaced with an office tower. The hotel had closed its doors due to financial problems and outstanding property taxes. This corner was seen as one of Cincinnati's prime business locations and the city was going through a redevelopment phase. This was also during the "Space Age" and it seems this old hotel was lost to a modern office building. In September of 1964, an auction was held to sell items from the Sinton, everything from barber chairs to crystal chandeliers to luggage left from visitors.

But before the auction, on September 11, 1964, the Sinton held a farewell party. The following article comes from the Cincinnati Enquirer the following day:
Ghosts from Cincinnati’s past would not be hushed Friday night.  They whispered and tugged incessantly at the 500 business, political and social leaders who put on satin dresses and black ties to attend the Hotel Sinton’s farewell to the city it has served 57 years. But they were good ghosts. Nobody really resented them – least of all Mayor Walton Bachrach and his wife who had their first date at the hotel’s old “Chatterbox.”
Nor did William Earls Sr., now 91, look upon the wraiths with anything but nostalgia. He was a young man, just come to Cincinnati, when the building was going up at Fourth and Vine Sts. “This farewell is a sad affair and a glorious event,” remarked Mr. Earls, referring to the demolition soon to take place for a 35-story office building. His son, William T. Earls, added, “But I don’t cast any tears at tearing down thing which aren’t useful anymore.”
Above the clink of the champagne glasses and the sound of the dance music, Charles L. Heekin noted, that he was born in 1907, the year the Sinton was built… And Mrs. Edmund T. Lunken couldn’t help but remember the parties she has attended over the years in the Louis XVI Ballroom. She added, however, “It looks like an opening instead of a closing.”
Councilman John E. Held brought up something he has noticed while standing near the entrance to the ballroom. “They’re coming in, looking as if for the first time, and saying, ‘Isn’t it a shame?’” Mr. Held added, “This 57-year-old girl is simply too old to die.”
Then, from Vincent H. Beckman, Democratic leader, came the comment, “Old grace and charm must give way to the new – which I’m sure will be wonderful for the city.” But Councilman Theodore M. Berry added, “For those who have watched the Sinton over the years this is a rather nostalgic occasion.”
Nearby was Jerry Hurter, once and executive of the old Times-Star, who remembered the hitel from his days as a young reporter. He recalled how John L. Horgan, former manager, who was also present for the farewell, used to give away Sinton-brand tins of coffee and boxes of candy to those who made good showings in “block” dances. “It was good coffee, too,” Mr. Hurter added.
James R. Clark, Jr., former county commissioner, put the evening into perspective. “Have you noticed how some people are stamping their cigarettes out on the floor? I’ve heard them say, ‘It doesn’t make any difference now.’“  They were right. It didn’t make any difference – in practical ways.
Cincinnati Enquirer, Jan 9, 1965 p28
Cincinnati Enquirer, Mar 2, 1965 p. 12
 The Sinton came down and in 1968, the Provident Bank Tower opened. This is now called the National City Tower after that bank's purchase of Provident Bank in 2004. It is the 19th tallest building in Cincinnati, standing at at 263 feet and 20-stories tall. Such a varied history of one little corner in Cincinnati!
Fourth Street view of the National City Towner and the PNC Bank Building