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10/21/18 08:19 PM #3714    


Paul Simons

From another angle...

10/21/18 08:21 PM #3715    


Paul Simons

You can see the bookshelves in the backgrounds. Now for something else - a house on Erie Ave in the Hyde Park area

10/23/18 12:54 AM #3716    


Philip Spiess

"On the left, ladies and gentlemen, you see the remains of President Warren Harding's 'Teapot Dome' (it's as scandalous as it looks!).  On the right, you see the remains of the old WPA Bear Pits that were once located at the back of the Cincinnati Zoo.  Taken together, they form the world's largest Mongolian-style yert, a single unit multiplied by six.  It is a yert as yet without a yeti.  Next we will visit Crusade Castle, nestled into the hillside below Ault Park, now part of a modern housing complex."  [House designed by Antoni Gaudi or Salvador Dali?]

10/23/18 08:43 AM #3717    


Paul Simons

Next trip to Cincinnati I intend to photograph some of those beautiful, extremely well designed and maintained, homes or rather mansions that I've seen on side streets in Hyde Park. I have been informed there are similar homes in Clifton.

Cincinnati has some places of great beauty but unfortunately there are some ugly people there these days. This past Friday night, driving north on I-75 I found myself behind a slow-moving car, an older American sedan, so I passed it. In about a minute it caught up with me and passed me on the right, and when in front of me began to go slower and slower. It then came to a dead stop, in the center lane, right in fron of me. I laid on the horn and pumped my brakes hard, rapidly. Cars approaching at highway speed that I saw in my rear view mirror fortunately got the message and veered off before slamming into me. There was no time to think about getting a license number - there was only time to try to stay alive.

As soon as there was a break in the traffic I cut around the stopped car. The driver immediately put his hazard blinkers on and came after me but I was fast enough to get away. Nothing like this ever happened to me during all the years I lived in Cincinnati and I wonder what has happened to the town.

Since various Facebook friends report similar events in other cities I wonder what has happened to the country. This is just plain evil, and stupid - if someone had slammed into me at 60 miles an hour the idiot who stopped in front of me would have been hurt, not as severly as me, but hurt. Why did he do it? Anger at being passed by a car with out-of-state plates? I'll never know. I hope he's put out of action before he kills someone, but knowing what we know about people with criminal tendencies getting away with criminal acts with no consequences, he probably won't be.

10/23/18 09:07 AM #3718    


Judy Holtzer (Knopf)

Jerry - Thanks! All updated. Be seeing anyone soon? Today it was 96 degrees F here, and everyone had already changed their closet to winter clothes! I passed a poor confused almond tree in full bloom..... oh well.

10/24/18 11:43 AM #3719    


Larry Klein

Paul, the house in your photo below is actually on Erie Ave in East Hyde Park at the low end of the ess curve. I rode my bike past that house six days a week when I was Caddying at Hyde Park Country Club. Always had my doubts about the owner. It hasn't changed much in 60 years.

10/24/18 11:17 PM #3720    


Philip Spiess

Larry:  You're saying that house has been there for 60 years?  Incredible!  (How come I never saw it?)  Is it livable?

Paul:  There are many wonderful 19th-Century houses in Clifton (or used to be), such as the Rawson estate, the Huenefeld estate, the chemist/pharmacist and author John Uri Lloyd's house, and Cincinnati industrialist and Art Museum director Alfred P. Goshorn's house on Clifton Avenue (with the later addition added by my friend Jack Strader for his Wurlitzer theater organ from the RKO Paramount Theater in Walnut Hills), political boss George B. Cox's house on Ludlow Avenue at the northern entrance to Burnet Woods (for many years the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house, now, apparently, the Clifton branch of the Cincinnati Public Library) and others, which I chronicled in my 1965 pamphlet, Sites and Scenes in Clifton:  An Historical Tour, done for Clifton Town Meeting.  Many of these houses I photographed in the 1960s and 1970s (a good number of which are now gone -- the reason I went professionally into Historic Preservation work).

The one which first excited my interest was the McDonald-Balch estate ("Dalvay"), fronting onto Clifton Avenue, but south across McAlpin Avenue from Clifton Elementary School.  It had great ornamental gates which interested me as a child, two on Clifton Avenue, one on Wood Avenue (its back gate); these later ended up in College Hill at the former Archibishop's Palace, "Laurel Court," later the home of Cincinnati's so-called "Pizza King."  Alexander McDonald, who built the house, was an associate of John D. Rockefeller in Standard Oil; I'm not sure who (George?) Balch was, but his widow lived until 1958, when she bequeathed the property to the Episcopal Church.  The church, in turn, finding no use for it, sold it to the Cincinnati Board of Education, which demolished the house and erected the present Clifton School annex (or is it now the main school?) on the property, across McAlpin Avenue from the original 1905 Clifton School (which my grandmother, my mother, my sister, and I attended), and which succeeded the earlier Resor Academy on that site.

My interest in historic houses prompted me, in 1958 (I was 12), to tour the Balch estate two times before the house was to be torn down.  It had a stained-glass dome over the main staircase (lit from above by electric bulbs, not atypical of great houses for that era), a fine billiard room with a classic-sized pool table, and an incredible ballroom (a later addition) on the back end, which included a very Baroque-decorated pipe organ.  It also had -- most impressive! -- a set of blue stained-glass doors leading onto a patio on the McAlpin Avenue side (I believe there was a conservatory there at some point, which had since disappeared).  In the attic was a copper [zinc?] tank, which was an emergency cistern for the house.  On the grounds back of the house was a carriage house (it may still be there, for all I know) and a building which housed a concrete indoor swimming pool, which looked, I swear, like the hippopotamus tank in the Herbivore (Elephant) House at the Cincinnati Zoo.  (But this was typical of swimming pools of the era -- cf. the one in the basement of Biltmore House, Asheville, North Carolina.)

During my college years, I miraculously acquired (some at "Acres of Books" -- see discussion above) both the architect's rendering of the original facade of the Balch estate (later altered slightly) on oiled linen, and a small series of photographs of both the house's exterior and its interior in its prime.  I was also fortunate enough to tour the Cincinnati publisher (whose firm was the world's largest publisher of textbooks) Obed J. Wilson's estate (cf. the Art Deco Wilson Auditorium at U. C., now apparently demolished), later the Julia Jurgens (Jurgens hand lotion) Joslin estate (I was sadly disappointed on entering its Italianate tower, which was far smaller than I'd imagined it from the street, and its even smaller octagonal cupola to the east), and its two-story carriage house, on Lafayette Avenue at the northern end of Middleton Avenue before it was torn down to make way for the modest subdivision that is now there.  I've also had access to the towers of William Neff's "The Windings" (for many years te Convent of the Sacred Heart, which was also a Catholic girls' school), Henry Probasco's "Oakwood" (he was famous for funding the Tyler Davidson Fountain on Fountain Square in memory of his brother-in-law -- see way above on this Forum), and George K. Schoenberger's "Scarlet Oaks", for many years now the Methodist Home for the Aged, where the Hudson River School's noted painter Thomas Cole's larger version of his series of four paintings on "The Voyage of Life" (the smaller ones are in the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York) hung for many years in its art gallery until Cincinnati Enquirer publisher Frank Dale got them sold to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C., in the 1970s to increase his political standing with the Nixon administration (see my diatribe earlier on this subject on this Forum -- some rather unfortunate copies -- daubs, rather -- now hang in the "Scarlet Oaks" gallery in their place).

In short (I've been too long), there are wonderful houses (some early 20th-Century ones, too, in the neo-Tudor style) on Clifton Avenue, on upper and lower Ludlow Avenue (ignoring the commercial district), on Lafayette Avenue and its eastern end, Lafayette Circle, on Middleton Avenue, on Morrison Place and environs, on Glendale Place, on Belsaw Place, and on many minor streets in between.

As to the "castles" of the "Seven Barons of Mount Storm" (again see my 1965 history of Clifton), all on Lafayette Avenue, four of their houses are still standing:  Schoenberger's "Scarlet Oaks"; Probasco's "Oakwood"; William C. Neff's "The Windings" (on the hill above my modest 1940s house on McAlpin Avenue), now, I think, if it's still there, the focal point of a subdivision; and the Huenefeld estate.  These others are gone:  Robert B. Bowler's "Mount Storm" (now the site of Mount Storm Park -- I have pictures of his original Italianate mansion); Obed J. Wilson's "Sweet Home"; George W. McAlpin's "Sunflower House" (a site now occupied by the Cincinnati Woman's Club); and Rufus King's Italianate structure.  (Okay, that was eight, rather than seven; there is some debate as to which were the "Seven Barons of Mount Storm.")

But above all, there remain, on Lafayette Avenue and Middleton Avenue and Lyleburn Place and elsewhere in Clifton, the superb 1890's Welsbach gas lamps, which formed and effected my Victorian outlook on life for ever and ever. 

10/25/18 07:47 AM #3721    


Paul Simons

I was wondering about those gas lamps - glad to hear they're still there and burning bright! Phil you're a walking trove, a walking compendium, and I thank you for the info, and I have to ask for more. I have heard that there are Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings in Cincinnati, AKA Porkopolis. Where are they? I could just Google it but something tells me it's info that belongs on this website.


Larry - thanks for the info - my error - Erie - I'll fix it. I was following Cincinnati residents, first to a place called Dutch's that has great barbeque every 2 weeks, on Erie, but they weren't open yet, so the next stop was a Mexican place on Madison, and I mixed up the street names. 

10/25/18 12:38 PM #3722    

Barbara Kahn (Tepper)

I love old houses too and live in one built in 1930 that's been in my husband's family since it was new. 

By the way, have you seen the HGTV Urban Oasis Sweeptstakes house is in Cincinnati this year?

10/25/18 01:15 PM #3723    


Philip Spiess

Paul (and others):

There are three Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Cincinnati by my reckoning:  the Cedric Boulter house, 1 Rawson Woods Circle, Clifton, built in 1954 (near the Rawson Woods Bird Preserve); the Gerald B. Tonkens house, 6980 Knoll Road, Amberley Village, built in 1955 (near French Park); and the William Boswell house, 8805 Camargo Club Drive, Indian Hill, built in 1957 (near the Camargo Country Club).  Since Frank Lloyd Wright died in 1959, all of these houses were done very late in his career, designed in his Taliesin West studio (possibly assisted by his student-associates).  

10/26/18 01:09 PM #3724    

Barbara Kahn (Tepper)

It's possible that someone who went to WHHS lived in that Frank Lloyd Wright house in Amberly but I cannot remember. Anybody know?

10/26/18 11:44 PM #3725    


Gail Weintraub (Stern)

Barbara, I believe that Jane Tonkens, WHHS Class of 1963, lived in the Amberley Village Frank Llyod Wright house.

10/27/18 12:35 AM #3726    


Philip Spiess

Gail:  Wow!

10/27/18 05:45 PM #3727    

Barbara Kahn (Tepper)

Gail, You have a fabulous memory! I knew there was someone who went to Walnut Hills in the FLW House but couldn't remember the name. Thanks so much!

10/28/18 11:15 AM #3728    


Paul Simons

I remember her driving a new Oldsmobile - her family had a dealership if I remember right. A number of people at WHHS drove sharp cars. Convertibles etc. in that student parking lot. In many cases classier than the teachers' cars. Life in the fast lane, for some. But there were"jalopies" too. Like mine.

10/28/18 10:52 PM #3729    


Philip Spiess

I remember the day I drove our carpool to school and was halfway home on my usual after-school schoolbus when I suddenly remembered the family car was still at school.  I had to get off at Samuel Ach School and walk back all the way down the hill and up the other hill to Walnut Hills to get the car.

10/29/18 05:07 PM #3730    


Ann Shepard (Rueve)

I just want to congratulate Ira and Wendy, who were engaged and married “under the dome” in the WHHS Library!! Sursum ad summum to you both!!

10/30/18 01:11 PM #3731    


Ira Goldberg

Many thanks for your well wishes, Ann et all. Turning a page in a new chapter of life, as many of you have done. Had a smallish wedding, with one family essentially meeting the other. Stories abound for another day. 

10/31/18 01:15 PM #3732    


Judy Holtzer (Knopf)

Congrats to Ira and Wendy. What a sweet place serving as a wedding chapel. I can't wait to hear those stories!

11/07/18 01:53 AM #3733    


Steven Levinson

Ira and Wendy, heartiest congratulations and best wishes.  Ain't serendipity grand?


All the best,



11/10/18 12:59 AM #3734    


Philip Spiess

Sunday, November 11, is the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice that brought World War I to a close.  If you want to celebrate in regal style, watch Charlie Chaplin's 1918 film on the war, Shoulder Arms.  Like his World War II movie, The Great Dictator, it is one of Chaplin's greatest films, and can be found on the Internet.  (Your Cultural Historian at work.)

11/11/18 12:41 AM #3735    


Philip Spiess


More on the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice bringing World War I to a close:  Although the Armistice was widely hailed because it brought the "Great War" (a really stupid enterprise, if you look into it) to a close, the "Versailles Treaty" Peace Conference, conducted by the French under Clemenceau, the British under Lloyd George, and the Americans under Wilson -- the Italians under Orlando were basically there in name only -- (and a true peace was never signed among the belligerents) was a disaster, as written about by the British economist (and member of the Bloomsbury Group) John Maynard Keynes (The Economic Consequences of the Peace, 1919), who attended the Peace conference -- the Peace, as written, brought about World War II.

From a cultural history standpoint, World War I had the best songs ever of any war, even including the Civil War; these musical tributes were led, of course, by the compositions of George M. Cohan; that is why his statue stands in Duffy Square (a part of Times Square) in New York.  But more:  World War I had probably the best outpouring of war poetry of any other war (unfortunately, many of the poets died in the war).  Probably the two most famous poems are the Canadian John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" (1915) and Alan Seeger's "I Have a Rendezvous with Death" (died 1916; published posthumously).  Even the British novelist and poet Thomas Hardy wrote a poem, "'And There Was a Great Calm' (On the Signing of the Armistice, November 11, 1918)."

But now let's shift to irony and historic preservation (my profession over the years):  the Armistice (read:  German surrender) was signed in a wooden railway car in the Forest of Compiegne, France, by the viciously gloating French premier Georges Clemenceau (the "Tiger of France") and some pathetic German politicians, who were later executed for their "crime" (the signing of the surrender, i.e., the "stab in the back") by Hitler's death squads.  (Kaiser Wilhelm II had already abdicated and fled to his royal cousins in Holland.)  This railway car, you may suppose, became an important French historical monument, preserved on the site of the Armistice signing as a precious historical relic.  Come 1940 -- and the Germans under Hitler invade and conquer the eastern half of France.  Hitler personally visits the railway car at Compiegne, which he uses as the site for making the French sign their surrender to the Germans.  Surrender signed, Hitler (who literally dances at the surrender; you can see the films) has the railway car and its tracks packed up and shipped to Berlin to form a museum of German victory.  Count five years later:  Allied bombers, attacking Berlin, hit the museum and the railway car and all its accoutremonts go up in flames.

O tempora!  O mores!

11/12/18 10:37 AM #3736    


Ann Shepard (Rueve)


The renovation of the Union Terminal is complete. It was opened Sunday to honor service veterans for Veterans Day, since it played such a significant part in the lives of the military during WWII. The terminal will open to the public on November 17.

This story aired last night. Great memories of going to the station to meet out of town relatives when I was a kid, then shopping at Lohmann’s in the eighties. Of course, that was the location for our 40th reunion dinner in 2004, and the location for the Children’s museum and IMAX theater where I’d take my grandkids. The youngest grandkid is driving now, so I’ll just have to make a special trip to see the renovation for myself.


P. S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Paul Simons!!

11/12/18 12:15 PM #3737    


Ira Goldberg

Yes! Evidently it is actually your Birthday, Paul Simons. Hope you are taking the day off. It IS a federal holiday!


11/13/18 04:10 PM #3738    


Ann Shepard (Rueve)

A little more about the Union Terminal renovation:

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