Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lost Cincinnati: Harrison Ave

If you ever drive up Harrison from Queen City you will notice 1860's and 1870's Italianate townhouses just inches from the street, and you will notice a lot of holes in what should be a dense streetscape because the city has been systematically demolishing those 1860's era townhomes with the consent of the Urban conservator who does not believe they are historic eligible or contributing.

As you get "up the hill" and things start to level out, sharp eyes will spot the occasional larger Victorian house amid the later 1900 era homes and  50's era apartments. In fact this area was once farmland and the area was eventually home to substantial homes on large lots. These were not the smaller townhomes 'down the hill' but mansions and large homes of means occupied by wealthy citizens who wished to be farther our from the grime of the city.

Obviously the area had a substantial building boom between 1900 and 1920 as evidenced by the fine late Victorian and Tudor homes that line the street. One also notes it was an area of substantial change with another "building boom" during the 50's and 1960's when many fine homes were bulldozed to build apartments for young GI's returning after the war and just starting out. You may also notice, one again lots of empty spaces as Westwood aggressively pursues the demolition of those blighted apartment buildings many of which are in substantial decay in the hope that someday soon large homes will once again occupy those empty lots.

So what was lost, way back then? Here is one fine example provided to me by Jim McNulty earlier this year. The home which once stood at  2153 Harrison. A grand home in the unique stand alone 'Cincinnati Second Empire style" a Townhome design meant to be in an Urban Environment like the west end, built as a single family
.
Architecturally a fine home of brick with a nice 2 story bay on the side of what was likely the formal dining room. Off to the left a real barn , not a carriage house. based on the gate beside it one would assume that this was a large "gentleman farm" at the time. Of interesting note a nice wood fence not the wrought iron one might expect and note the wooden sidewalk. The dirt road reveals railroad tracks as well. This was out in the country back then!

Imagine what this stretch of Harrison was like "back in the day'. Like much of Cincinnati, lost to "progress". This one was demolished to build apartments.

1 comment:

Lois A. McNulty said...

that mailman mcnulty has a sharp eye. he is a valuable asset to cincinnati (esp westwood.)