Friday, November 12, 2010

New series: Lost Cincinnati, "The Magrue Mansion"

After a great deal of response to my blog on Kenyan-Barr neighborhood, and its destruction by the city in the name of Urban renewal. I thought I'd start a new periodic series called "Lost Cincinnati"  in which I will feature great places and lost spaces. It is my hope by illustrating what we lost, we might have a greater appreciation of what we have and continue to pressure city officials to stop destructive policies like the VBML and 'escalations' to condemn. With over 2500 properties on the city "hit list" an estimated 6000 vacant buildings in this city we need to enact policies to encourage redevelopment not the "blight=bulldozer" mentality that permeates city government.
Imagine how grand this mansion was when new and one arrived by carriage?

Built at 1413 Freeman now would be 1413 Western after the freeway cut through the West end is the site where the Magrue Mansion once stood.. The Joseph Magrue mansion was built circa 1865 and was perhaps the grandest mansion in the West End with its elaborate cast iron front porch and "laced balcony", it rivaled the homes on Dayton Street.
Incredible plaster detailing in the frieze area indicates this home was a cut above the rest By the time these photos were taken the house has already been vandalized

The interior was just as grand with arched doorways and elaborate crests at the top similar in design to those found on the Gazlay House on Dayton St. The home had a  grand entry with elaborate wood dado and grand crown mouldings. Many rooms had parquet floors. Rooms featured interior shutters that "disappeared" into the trim detail when folded back like the Hatch and Gazlay Mansions.

The elaborate wood trim and dado was likely walnut

The  Magrue mansion was 38'6" wide and 74'6" deep. At three full stories, the house has over 8400 square feet not including the full basement which likely housed servants quarters. At today's construction costs, it would cost upwards of 7-8 Million dollars to duplicate this home, IF you could find craftsmen capable of recreating the historic detailing..
One of five elaborate bayed windows

Not much is known about Magrue, records show that the house was deeded to the Catholic church in 1884 by presumably an heir.  The home changed hands again when it was deeded  to the US Government in  1970. This magnificent home, perhaps one of the grandest homes downtown, was demolished in 1981 closing a chapter on one of the finest "Gilded Age" Mansions in the city.
The amount of detail and woodwork in this house was amazing.

Photos courtesy Library of Congress


Ann said...

Mr. JR Magrue seemed to be involved in warehouses and malting business.

St Charles said...

Now tearing that down was a damn disgrace. We have to demand this stop now

Karen Anne said...

It makes me sick that that was destroyed.