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!


  1. What made the building significant enough for the National Register? I thought there were more qualifications than age.

    1. See more about the National Register here:

  2. It's part of a historic district, not individually listed.

  3. Can you tell us a little more about the 1895-96 street renumbering? Why did it happen? And was it throughout the basin?

    Great blog!!

    1. The ordinance was passed in 1891 to put Cincinnati on the "One Hundred System" that was also used by large cities in the East. The dividing line also moved from Main Street to Vine Street. As far as I can tell, it was throughout the city limits at the time.


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