I was invited in to a neighbors house, down the street from us, a rather unassuming brick cottage on the outside, other than its slate rood and bays, however the interior was something else. Grand 8 foot tall fireplace with beveled mirrors columns and elaborate tile work, inlaid floors and a rear porch/solarium with unique designed windows. It was totally unexpected.
There is a reason that many of these homes are highly detailed. They were built by some of the most wealthy in Cincinnati. Not as everyday residences but as weekend homes. Few realize that St Clair Heights Park at the eastern end of the neighborhood was the original home of the world famous hilltop pleasure resort known as the "Schuezenbuckel" which was a resort that was housed in the old baptist seminary built there in 1851. There was a beer garden and shooting contests and the club was popular with the elite of Cincinnati and it was a popular place to get away from the city. The club burned in 1888 and was called Schuetzenbuckel Park.The land was acquired through a donation of 10.661 acres by Louis J. Hauck and George F. Dieterle in 1912. Today the park is 18 acres and is a nature preserve and bird sanctuary and overlooks Mill creek valley and the city beyond.
Many decided to build weekend cottages in the area and hired the same builders and architects that built their "Townhouse" in OTR and West End. Some even build larger homes and you will see them scattered about through the neighborhood many of these homes date back into the 1860's and are Federal in design.
We don't know how many were lost over the years. The city "blight-bulldozer' mentality in recent years have resulted in the loss of many of these fine homes and cottages. Something we plan to STOP. We hope eventually to get the entire neighborhood declared a historic district. So onto our tour.
I just picked some representative styles as well as some eclectic homes as well. You may notice some German influences in a couple of the homes and you might mistake them for craftsman, but they were built by well to do German merchants form downtown and they wanted some reminders of home. As you go further west say along Saturn St, those houses were built around 1900-1920 after the "heyday" of the neighborhood.
Second Empire was a popular style in our neighborhood and can be found in both 1 and 2 story forms. This 3 story house other than a later porch is relatively intact down to some of the 2 over 2 windows. It is one of the few 3 story homes and the house itself is quite deep so it is much larger than it looks.
This style while commonplace in Cincinnati is highly coveted in other cities. A house like this could easily sell for 500K on the east coast and over a million restored.
Eclectic: This brick raised brick shotgun will be gone soon unless someone comes forth to save it! It is set for city demolition. Note the elaborate brick work, chimney. It has an arched top front door. It is a small house but would make a great home for someone wanting a historic house but without a huge upkeep. It sits on a hill and has a fantastic view of the valley to lower Knox and the city beyond. There is NO REASON this house should have been set for demolition. There still may be time to save it. If you are intereted I may be able to help.
Queen Anne: This is an example of a "year round' home this huge turreted Queen Anne has some impressive detailing but needs to have the 40's siding removed and its porch restored. We are in the process of compiling the history of many of these homes and if anyone has any info it is appreciated. There is an 8-9000 square foot brick mansion across the street that I couldn't get photos of due to the trees that is the largest home in the area.
Cottage: This cute frame cottage was bought not to long ago and is undergoing some restoration which will include a nice new preservation paint job. It has a nice square chamfered porch post columns and bracket detailing. It still has the roof gutters also known as "Yankee gutters"
2nd Empire cottage: This was a very popular style in the neighborhood and there is a collection of perhaps a dozen or more of these scattered through the neighborhood. Some simple and some grand. This house still has its full width porch probably added about 1890. Note the patterned slate roof, bracketed box gutter and cresting and double windowed dormer , all done in tin!
Italianate: This little house has a 'twist" an interesting square angled bay, presumably to take advantage of the views down the street and let more light into the front parlor. This would be a charmer with some restoration and a nice preservation paintjob that would bring out some of the details.
Late front gabled Victorian. At first glance this might look like a craftsman, but was actually built around 1890-95. The wide overhangs and huge brackets suggest a german/swiss flair. I understand this house has elaborate builtins and inlaid floors.
Stick cottage: This is just a delightful small cottage, not big at all, looks like something you might find in San Francisco with its square bay projecting bumpout and colorful trim.
Well that's our tour for now, look for another installment soon. If you want to take a look there are about 6 homes in the MLS (under 50K) and some "By owner" opportunities as well. Calling all Urban Pioneers.