Samuel Hannaford & Sons

 Copyright © 2006 Betty Ann Smiddy

The Legacy of Samuel Hannaford Main Page

City Hall (1887-1893) This is the City’s finest surviving example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. While Music Hall made Hannaford’s reputation, City Hall secured his name for posterity. People came from across the country just to visit this building. City Hall brought together the best artists and workmen to make this a truly outstanding building. A thesis could be written about this building alone. Ceiling detail.

Cincinnati officials met in a variety of downtown locations but by 1851 the City built its first building for its offices and meetings on a corner lot purchased from Jacob Burnet for $60,000. An adjoining lot was acquired for $195,800. The combination of these two lots is the location of today’s City Hall.

Architects were invited to submit their designs in 1887 and a board of City Hall Trustees chose the Hannaford & Sons plan. The trustees were Robert Allison, Thomas B. Paxton (house by Hannaford, later sat on board for the Ohio State Annex Building, designed by Hannaford & Sons), James M. Glenn (Hannaford designed his 1887 German Mutual Fire Insurance Co. building in Covington, Ky., his Westwood house in 1890 and his office building in 1894) and Charles A. Miller (Hannaford built this funeral director’s Northside home in 1887). This first design submitted by Hannaford & Sons had the tower at the corner of 8th and Central but quicksand was discovered at that location and the tower was moved. The foundation took longer than expected to prepare, with many pilings needed because of the quicksand.

“Boss” Cox overshadowed the committee, and he too, had a house designed by Hannaford. This was the beginnings of a strange partnership between Cox and Hannaford. For whatever reasons, the flamboyant and corrupt Cox threw his patronage behind the staid and moral Hannaford, resulting in lucrative public contracts for Hannaford’s firm. Even though Cox never held a public office, he was the power that had the mayor elected, committee members appointed and contracts awarded.

At the time of City Hall’s construction, Cincinnati was the largest city in Ohio. A center for river trade, manufacturing and political clout, the city thrived and the population grew. The optimism of that time is reflected by Cincinnati’s construction of a new and much larger city hall than the building it replaced.

The design of City Hall reflected the tastes of Cincinnati’s predominantly Germanic population. Echoing the buildings of the “old country” its style was familiar and comfortable. Solid and permanent. It was not ostentatious for the times and its substantial structure reflected the importance of government. It was a major building for a major city.

The building lifts your eyes up. You are drawn to the clock tower. Turrets and gables break up the mansard roof line. Varieties of exterior stone were carefully picked for their color and surface texture. The carved arch doorways, the decorative gargoyles, even the building’s size makes you feel the significance of the building, and hence the importance of the building’s function.

Once inside you are struck by the beauty of the stained glass windows, which dominate both the Plum Street and Central Avenue stairways. The stairwell skylight is of stained glass, as are the arched windows in council chamber. The interior stonework is a study in contrasts, rough surfaces against the smooth polished granite columns, the expertly carved marble staircases against the worn concavity of the stairs.

The wide cool corridors surround an open courtyard. Carefully planned, the windows overlooking the courtyard provide light and air to the building’s interior. There is a wealth of detail still existing in City Hall; from the one ton iron and brass chandelier in council chambers to the pier glass in the mayor’s anteroom. In other cities, a building such as this may have already been replaced by a glass and steel monolith, a move our city council was contemplating in the 1960s following a fire in 1957 that destroyed many records.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, City Hall was praised in the 1893 dedication booklet: “Unless one has been privileged to visit her (Cincinnati) sights, to participate in her business and to live in her suburbs, one can hardly understand the love which each citizen has for his Queen (City of the West) and it is just that love which makes Cincinnati what she is; which has given her the opportunity for becoming great;...which has last of all given her a city hall of which every citizen on the community is today speaking with pride.”

The author thinks this is the finest example of Hannaford’s institutional designs - buildings which have lasted many years with little maintenance, sturdy interior surfaces which withstand wear and are easy to clean. Good “bones” which last during neglect, and an overall pleasing design.

Major contractors of City Hall were: David Hummel - stone; James Griffith & Sons - woodwork; Standard Electrical Works - electric lights; M. H. Crane Estate - heating and ventilation apparatus; Cincinnati Gas Fixtures - gas and electric fixtures; Buckeye Bell Foundry - tower bell; Richard W. Hennessy - plain and ornamental plastering; Joseph Foster & Sons - marble wainscoting and stairways; F. Pedretti’s Sons - interior decorative frescos; James McDonough - marble lavatories and police gym; William L. Kayser - painting and finishing of woodwork; C. E. Holley & Co. - marble in the two main entrances; S. J. Osborne & Co. - sidewalks; Palm Lettering Co. - lettering; J. B. Schroder & Co. - hardware; Nolan & Armleder - plumbing; Laidlaw Dunn Gordon Co. - pumps; Frank T. Foster - awnings; Potter & Stymus of New York - stained glass; Herter Bros. of New York - mosaic floors.

City Hall was completed over a five year period, 1888-1893, and cost $1,863,440. Hannaford stipulated that he would oversee the construction and for his services he would be paid 4% of the building’s cost. Hummel bid $513,000 for excavation, foundation, stone, brick and granite work. The reddish sandstone came from Wisconsin, buff stone from Amherst, Ohio, granite from Vermont and Missouri, flat rock limestone from Indiana; marble from Tennessee and Italy for the staircases and wainscoting. While the building is tall (the clock tower is 253 ft. high), an illusion of height was created by making the windows progressively smaller each story higher. Even in the slate roof the bottom courses were made of larger slates that those across the roof line.  The clock cost $2,725 and has four dials, each 10 ft. in diameter.  An iron portcullis (still seen at one entrance) was dropped down across the steps on Sunday or during a riot, stopping citizen access. The stained glass cost $16,000. A fiberglass replica of the original 16 ft. finial now tops the main tower, the original being removed years ago.

On the ceiling of the Safety Director’s office is an oil painting of “Justice” painted by Frank Duveneck and John Rettig. In the lobby is a ceiling mural by Charles Pedretti. Hidden under the ceiling tiles of Council Chamber is another Charles Pedretti mural which the city declined to uncover and restore in 1990 because of the cost. Pedretti painted the hall and room murals in City Hall for $25,000.

Frances Pedretti (1829-1891) was born in Chiavenna, Italy and came to America in 1850. He was already trained in fresco and had important commissions. He was hired to fresco the Burnet House and decided to stay in Cincinnati, moving here in 1854 with his wife, Catherine Maitland.  They first bought property at the corner of today’s Foley and Pedretti Roads. They had three children: Raphael, Charles and Eugenia. The boys were sent to Milan and Europe to study art and fresco for four years. Frances’ sons joined him and after his retirement in 1891, they took over the firm. In 1905, Charles retired and Raphael and his son, Francis C., continued in business. The firm was at 10 W 9th street.  Hannaford designed a house on Greendale Ave. in Clifton (1896) for Mrs. Catherine Pedretti.

Francis Pedretti, Sr. decorated the interior on the 1861-62 renovation of an earlier Cincinnati City Hall. He decorated the Statehouse Rotunda in Columbus while his son, Charles, decorated the Statehouse Annex (designed by Hannaford & Sons). Charles also did the interior of the Chamber of Commerce building and Plum Street Temple and as a result of these commissions he was chosen for City Hall. Raphael Pedretti & Sons decorated the interior of Memorial Hall (designed by Hannaford & Sons) and the Montana state Capitol at Helena, Montana.

David Hummel (1822-1894) was born in Wurttemburg. Germany and grew up near a quarry in one of Wurttemburg’s provinces. After a three year apprenticeship there, Hummel came to the U. S. in 1841. He arrived in New Orleans but went to Columbus, Ohio where he found work on the Ohio Statehouse. The bulk of the Statehouse labor was performed by convicts but there was a need for supervisors and skilled detail workers. After that project was finished, Hummel moved to Cincinnati.

His stone yard was at Elder & Logan streets, near the canal because that was how stone was transported. Stonework is labor intensive and before 1860 the city’s buildings were mostly of brick with stone trim. Some even had wooden fronts that were carved and painted to mimic stone. It was not until after the Civil War that fashion shifted to stone.

David Hummel had three sons - George, Frank and William, and the company remained in their hands. Hummel Restoration is the name of the company today, repairing some of the same buildings that they built over a century ago. Hannaford & Sons designed George Hummel’s house on Whitfield Ave. in 1892 and a building at the stoneyard in 1891. Coincidentally, George Hummel and Samuel Hannaford died within a day of each other.

Hannaford’s drafting table and a color rendering of City Hall are in possession of the Cincinnati Historical Society.

In 1988 the corner stone time capsule was removed by Hummel Industries, a century after they had installed it. Inside a copper box were found railroad maps and timetables, business cards,  a brass plaque engraved with all city officials and trustees, coins, city directory, newspapers, a silk handkerchief embroidered with the Swiss coat of arms, and many other items.

Sacred Heart Chapel (1887) Hannaford & Sons added this Gothic chapel to the “The Windings,” the Lafayette Avenue home of pork baron William Clifford Neff. The building was built 1864-67 and was designed by Thomas Sargeant to exactly model England’s Kenilworth castle. The gray ashlar stone was local. The elaborate woodwork was carved by German workers. The four story tower, distinctive Gothic windows and massive scale made this one of the “must see” mansions of the Clifton rich. Home to Neff for only nine years before its costs outstripped his pockets (probably because of the post Civil War depression), it then was bought by the Ladies of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Sisters of the Sacre Couer). They used the home as a convent, later converting Neff’s Castle into Sacred Heart Academy, a Catholic girl’s school. The school closed in 1970 because of a rising deficit. The vast empty building was bought by the city and became the site for SWAT training. In the 1980s it was converted to condominiums with John M. Kurak, Jr. as architect. Only three of the original buildings remain, the castle, a central connecting building and Hannaford’s chapel. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hoffner Lodge (1885, Hamilton Ave., Northside) Home to the Northside post office, this building also housed the Hoffner Masonic Lodge #254, (organized in 1854) on the upper level. On the ground floor Kroger had a grocery store. The cornerstone was laid June 24, 1885. The lot was donated by Jacob Hoffner, whose house was across the street where Hoffner Park now stands. Hoffner, in 1824, joined the first Masonic Lodge of Cincinnati. The Hoffner family lived in Mt. Healthy but Jacob purchased a tavern in Northside and later bought 50 acres and farmland there. His stone lions that guarded his house and formal gardens are today at McMicken Hall and are known as Mick and Mack. They were donated to the University of Cincinnati in 1904.  The lions are copies of the statues at the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, Italy.  

Krippendorf-Dittman & Co. (1888) This building at 7th and Sycamore was the second building on the site, replacing one destroyed in a fire. The company manufactured shoes. The building has been converted to modern apartments. Hannaford& Sons also designed a house for Charles Krippendorf in 1893 (location unknown).

William Miller Department Store (1889) This photo was taken by Frank Wilmes when the Miller Department store opened on Race Street. The building is still there today and has been converted to lofts. Photo courtesy of the William H. Deak collection.

The Queen Anne style George Nelson Stone house (1890-1891) on Oak St. is the second that Hannaford built for the owner. Stone’s first wooden Stick-Style house was built about 1880 at 3025 Observatory Road. The Observatory Road house was featured in Walter Langsam’s “Great Houses of the Queen City.” This second house was of stone and sat in the neighborhood of Vernonville, across from the Vernon Manor, also a Hannaford & Sons building.

George N. Stone was a colorful businessman. A decorated Civil War veteran, president of the Cincinnati & Suburban Telegraph Co., director of the Cincinnati Street Railway Co., he was also the owner of Chester Park, known for its race track. His horse, Maude S., named for his daughter, broke world records seven times from 1880-85. He sold her to William H. Vanderbilt, another gentleman gambler.

Mrs. Stone’s claim to fame was as a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic.  By 1912 she was a widow and was returning home after a year’s stay abroad with her stepdaughters.

The 2-story building is now a home for Alcoholics Anonymous.  

Shubert Theater (1892, Y.M.C.A.) Originally built for the Young Men’s Christian Association, this building is remembered as the Shubert Theater.  It was converted to a theater in 1921 and featured vaudeville, films and plays. The ornate ceilings came down in 1976, along with the Cox Theater next door, when the block was demolished.

Odd Fellows Temple (1891) This Gothic style design won out in an architectural competition. Fifteen proposals were submitted and this was chosen over even James McLaughlin’s design. This 7 story building dominated the corner of Seventh and Elm streets. It held the offices of the Queen & Crescent system railway. The Odd Fellows founded the Mt. Washington cemetery (Anderson Twp.) in 1855. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was a fraternal organization that was founded in England. Samuel Hannaford belonged to the Odd Fellows.  

The Richard Mitchell mansion was built in 1893 for the son of furniture millionaire Robert Mitchell. The Robert Mitchell Furniture Co. was located on W. 4th Street, later became McAlpin’s, and this former department store is currently undergoing renovation into apartments.

This French Chateau/Richardson Romanesque home has fine stone carvings especially over the main entrance and inside, the wooden mantel on the first floor is carved with the name “Eniskillen” which is the Irish village that Robert Mitchell left behind. Both Robert and Richard Mitchell speculated in land and were responsible for the building of North Avondale.

In the 1920s the mansion was given to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and was used as St. Thomas grammar school. In 1970 the building was leased from the Archdiocese to be used for The New School. The New School purchased the building in 1984.

Parkview (1895) The Clifton home of George Barnesdale Cox sits at the corner of Brookline and Jefferson Ave. It is a polychromatic stone building with a prominent tower (Cox’s poker room) in the French Renaissance Revival style. Hannaford & Sons also designed a store and apartment building on 7th street for Cox. Parkview was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Parkview contains some unusually shaped rooms - circular and triangular. The ceilings had murals by Pedretti but they were painted over in the 1920s. Stained glass windows, elaborate light fixtures and secret passages in the walls (still there) made this a fabulous mansion when it was built.

Hummel cut and set the stone. In Hannaford’s specifications for Parkview (Cincinnati Historical Society) the foundation walls were specified to be of Indiana limestone and the exterior walls of regular coursed sandstone backed with limestone. The exposed stone was to be “clear Columbian freestone-the contractor is required to see that this stone is of even color and texture.” The stone varied from buff to orange and Cox threatened to withhold payment. He eventually paid the $8,000 for the stonework to Hummel and awarded Hummel city contracts. George Hummel built his Hannaford designed home a block away at 3423 Whitfield Ave.

Cox was a very important man in the political history of Cincinnati. While he never held office, his fingerprints were on everything that City Hall did, from which mayors were elected to which and to whom contracts were awarded. A complete discussion of Cox is found in “Boss Cox’s Cincinnati” by Zane Miller. But here is a short version about Cox, broadly taken from the Miller’s book, because Cox was important to Hannaford through his patronage.

Cincinnati politics was a mess in the 1880's. The Court House Riot (1884) was caused by jury fraud. (This is another reason City Hall had iron grills that could be lowered, to keep the populace out if another upheaval occurred.) In 1886 there was a general labor strike. The Democrats ruled City Hall and their elections were full of ballot box fraud. Joseph Foraker, who became governor of Ohio in 1886, considered a Democratic Cincinnati as a threat. He wanted the Republican governor of Ohio, William McKinley, to become president and to do so he needed a Republican Cincinnati City Hall. Foraker sat on a citizen committee to end City Hall corruption and through his committee, the Board of Public Affairs, he appointed Cox to administer the 2,000 jobs it controlled.

Cox owned a saloon at John and Longworth Streets from which he conducted his unofficial business. Cox’s control brought some stability to the city. Under Cox the water works and sewers improved, he saw that sewer lines and miles of streets were lain, taxes were low, police and fire service improved and utilities became a public regulated monopoly.

The saloon was his base as a Republican ward boss. “Bosses” took care of the ill, unemployed, elderly and poor in their ward and rewarded the political party with the best bribe by delivering a block of votes at election time. The city was a patchwork of tiny fiefdoms of these bosses at war with each other. Cox, because of his past occupations as a saloon keeper and gambling house lookout, knew a lot of people across socio-economic lines. Always one to spot and seize an opportunity, Cox had a broader view than most of the state and the city. He wanted to forge a cohesive political front and he started to do so by dispensing jobs and votes.

Through political favors, Cox rose to power. He was the campaign chairman for Foraker’s bid for governor. Cox saw himself as a political lawyer, although without much education. Cox expected “the men who made possible the nomination should be first considered when favors are passed around.” He influenced the bipartisan board which controlled every aspect of Cincinnati. He saw that the appointments were divided in favor of the Republicans by a 3 to 2 ratio but by allowing Democrats that proportion of appointments, he was able to make his position more secure and he was able to form a Republican/Democrat alliance.

Cox was part of the party fiances. The lowest level Republican office holders kicked back 10% of their first year’s salary, and 2.5% every year thereafter to his “campaign” fund. There were large contributions from higher elected officials, contractors, merchants and saloon keepers. Cox moved his saloon “office” to Wierlert’s Cafe on Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine and where all saloons were kept open on Sunday, in violation of the law. Cox owned the Cincinnati Reds and the Cincinnati Trust Co. where the city invested its monies. He also controlled the World Film Company - the distributor for the Shubert, Albee and Keith theaters.

Cox was backed by people as powerful as Nicholas Longworth and at times, William Howard Taft. Here are a few other backers - note the ties: Simon Krug, a photographer and party boss whose brother, Frank, was a civil engineer and a member of the construction company for park commissioners; Frank Kirchener, president of a cremation firm and a bank director; Frederick Bader who served 20 consecutive terms as president of the Hamilton Co. League of Building Associations; August Herrmann who carried Cincinnati’s financial statistics in his head, and Cox’s brother who was the purchasing agent for the city. Hannaford designed Herrmann’s Hollister Street house by the park now with his name (Hollister and Vine Sts.).

Cox was the power that helped elect several Ohio Governors - Joseph B. Foraker (1886-1890), William McKinley (1892-96), Asa Bushnell (1896-1900) and George Nash (1900-1904).

Cox wanted to be accepted in society and thus built Parkview at the fringe of Clifton. The trolley car line passed in front of his house - less private than some other of Clifton’s mansions.  He continued to be snubbed by society but Parkview was well known in political circles.

Cox led the argument that the suburbs should become annexed to the city whether the suburbs wanted to or not. Cox saw that they would increase both the city’s tax base and size. In exchange these villages would get city utilities because the suburbs were struggling with individual water and sewerage systems. During 1896, Clifton, Linwood, Avondale, and Westwood were added to the city. Adding these more affluent communities to the city played a part in Cox’s downfall. The residents were embarrassed and appalled to Cox’s city politics.

While from 1891-1897 Cox was a major figure in Republican politics, he started to lose power in 1897. The business and professional men had enough if his “undue influence” and scandals. For the only one reform mayor’s term it seemed that Cincinnati wanted low taxes more than city government reform and by 1899 Cox was back manipulating behind the scene. In 1911 Cox left politics with “I am retiring. I hope my enemies will find other targets” and turned over his contacts to Rudolph K. Hynicka, who owned a chain of burlesque houses. Cox died in 1916 but his influence through Hynicka lasted until 1924, when the Charter Committee was founded and the ward system of politics ended with an at-large system of government

Cox’s funeral was held on the front lawn of Parkview. When his wife, Caroline - a former dance hall girl, died in 1938 she willed the property to the Union Bethel and it became a woman’s dormitory. It has been the home Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity since 1947 when they bought the building.  

Across from Parkview is the Charles B. Russell (1890) house on the corner of Brookline and Wentworth Ave. It is distinguished by a beehive dome topped with a finial. Its Richardsonian Romanesque style is less often seen in houses than in public buildings because the house is masonry and costs more to construct. Russell was the president of the Eclectic Cincinnati Ice Co.

Sorg Opera House (1890) P. J. Sorg Tobacco Factory (1890), Sorg Mansion (1887), Sorg Cottage ( Lake View, N. Y.). Located in Middletown, Paul J. Sorg (1840-1902)  was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, the son of German immigrants. His family came to Cincinnati in 1851 and it was here in 1864 that Sorg met John Auer while they were working in the tobacco business. Sorg had studied bookkeeping in night school and Auer knew the tobacco industry well so they formed a company together, moving to Middletown in 1878. This grew to become the major employer in Middletown and the P. J. Sorg Tobacco Co. became the third largest manufacturer of chewing tobacco in the U.S. The Richardsonian Romanesque style red limestone Sorg mansion is at 206 South Main St. The 700 seat Sorg Opera House eventually closed, was revived and in 2005 faces an uncertain future.

Armory of the Ohio National Guard (1886) on Freeman Avenue was home to the 1st Regiment, Ohio National Guards who fought in France during WW. I.  

Sisters of Mercy Academy and Convent (1897). The Sisters of Mercy are a teaching order and founded Edgecliff College. The former Academy is located on Freeman Avenue and is now the headquarters of the Job Corp Center. On the back porch is decorative fretwork containing the words >Sisters of Mercy.’ Built of yellow glazed brick, it matched the brick on the next door Armory. The building was Our Lady of Mercy high school from 1929-1957.

St. Francis of Seraph College (1898) St. Francis of Seraph School (1908). St. Francis of Seraph church was designed by James W. McLaughlin and dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi. It originally served a large German Catholic population. The statue of St. Francis above the doors was cast at the same foundry as the Tyler Davidson Fountain. The current yellow glazed brick wrap was added in 1925 to preserve the original church building. The Seminary portion of the church moved to Mt. Airy in 1924 and closed in 1980. The Order is responsible for Roger Bacon High School.  The college building is next to the church on Vine St. and the school on Liberty Street and has been converted to apartments.  

University of Cincinnati After a selection of designs from many architects, including James McLaughlin, U. C. chose Hannaford & Sons for the new campus carved out of Burnet Woods.  The specifications given to the competing architects were that the three buildings were to be related, made of stone or brick with stone or terra cotta trim, and to cost no more than $175,000. The first McMicken Hall was dedicated Nov. 23, 1895. Van Wormer Library  (1899, NeoClassical) was added slightly later, designed by Hannaford & Sons and costing $64,000. William A. Procter, son of Procter & Gamble’s founder, bought part of the private library of Robert Clarke, a book publisher and collector. The 6,790 volumes was the start of the library’s collection.  All the stone was provided by Hummel Building.

From 1971-1977 the president of U.C. lived in Clifton’s Thomas Morrison house (1875), 750 Old Ludlow Ave. It was designed by Hannaford for William Procter. The house was for his daughter, Olivia Procter, and her husband, Thomas Morrison.  Morrison came from Ireland to Cincinnati in 1860 with his two brothers. They all made a fortune in meat packing. Morrison was director of Spring Grove Cemetery 1892-1908. The brick Victorian house has sandstone trim. When it was built, cows grazed on the lawn. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Citadel (1905), 114 E. 8th Street, was built for the Salvation Army and looks like a romanticized citadel. The Salvation Army came to Cincinnati in 1885. Originally this was the Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee divisional headquarters of the Salvation Army. Later it served as the Citadel Hotel for Workingmen, giving men a place to sleep for a quarter a night.  

The Phoenix Club (1893) Built as the first private Jewish businessman’s club in Cincinnati, a mosaic Star of David is inlaid on the floor under the carpet of the public front entrance.

The Phoenix Club was founded in 1806 by Cincinnati’s German Jewish upper society and had programs on art, literature, music and theater. In 1911 the Phoenix became part of the Cincinnati Club and was connected to that building by three walkways. The third floor of the Phoenix had a theater. Tiffany glass windows line the banquet hall. These windows were stolen in the 1987-1988 renovation but were located and returned. The basement held a six lane bowling alley with an automatic pin setter but it may have originally held a swimming pool. The stone, brick and elaborate terra cotta was provided by Hummel Building. This Italian Renaissance palazzo has extensive and elaborate terra cotta work.

Calvary Episcopal Parish House and Sunday School (1887) 3766 Clifton Ave. While William Tinsley designed the Gothic Revival church, the later additions by Hannaford & Sons are in a complementary style.  In the parish house is a plaque to the memory of Eldridge C. and Louise Hannaford. The church is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Westwood United Methodist Church (1896, Westwood Methodist Episcopal church) This church, on the corner of Epworth and Urwiler Avenues, was originally founded in Cheviot. The land of the current church was donated by James N. Gamble who agreed to donate $5 for every $1 that was contributed to the church building fund. The Gothic stone church cost $50,000 to build and was dedicated April 11 -16, 1897.

The Gamble and Nippert families were very active congregation members. The bells were donated by Mrs. Gamble, who also gave a stained glass window in the memory of her sister, Elizabeth Penrose. Olivia P. Gamble was the first organist.  It was here in 1898 that Alfred K. Nippert married Maude Gamble.

Northside United Methodist Church (1887, Northside Methodist Episcopal Church) Standing at the corner of Chase and Delany Streets, this Gothic church’s cornerstone was laid in 1892 and the church was dedicated in 1894. It cost $34,000 to build and is on the National Register of Historic Places.   

This church was in the news in 2004 when it was auctioned by the Methodist church as excess property following years of declining membership and revenue problems.

Eden Park Water Tower (1894), Pumping station (1889) at the Reservoir. The Romanesque Revival style water tower is 172 feet high and was used until 1912. The cylindrical tower has an octagonal brick turret and looks like a watch tower of a great castle. It cost $135,000. to build. At one time a copper conical roof crowned the tower but it was removed in April 1943 during a W. W. II scrap drive. The tower once had a spiral stairway and elevator leading to an observation deck. It cost a nickel to ride in the hand operated elevator to the top observation platform. The water tower is 997 ft. above sea level and provided a breathtaking vista of the city and northern Kentucky.  In W. W. I it was used as an infantry guardhouse and was later outfitted with a revolving beacon when airplanes became common. The tower is used today for communications. It was designated as an “American Water Landmark” in 1971 by the American Water Works Association - one of only 12 in the nation. The foundations of both the pumping station and tower are rough stone. The tower is crowned with gargoyles while griffins watch over the pumping station.  The Romanesque Revival style pumping station stands at the edge of the reservoir and once served as a radio station for the Cincinnati Police Department. The stone and brick for the above structures was provided by Hummel Building, who also was responsible for the stone used in a double decker bridge that once spanned the current Gilbert Ave. entrance.

Our Lady of Providence Academy and Chapel (1902) Founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in Newport, Ky., this sprawling Beaux Arts style building was a Catholic girls’ school, closing in 1983. In 1986 it was converted into an apartment complex, then it became an extended stay hotel (Hannaford Suites). In 2005 it was repurchased again, this time to turn it into luxury condominiums available in the spring of 2006. Many fixtures and interior details remain from the original building, although the rooms have been gutted and reconfigured. It is on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Newport Mansion Hill Historic District.

The Strobridge Lithographing Co. (1882), the Model Laundry can be seen and the Bell Telephone Exchange are Hannaford & Sons buildings.  The Strobridge building was located at 124-132 West Canal (Race St. & Central Parkway). Hines Strobridge came to Cincinnati in 1843. He started his own lithography business in 1854. His company made its reputation on lithographs produced from oil paintings and for fine local maps. Later his company was known for its circus, wild west show and theater posters. In 1882 the factory moved to this location on the canal. It moved to Norwood in 1937 and closed in the 1950s. This photo was taken from the Electric Power Company on Plum Street. The Miami-Erie canal runs through the center and was drained in 1919. Looking east is the Holy Cross Monastery on Mt. Adams, site of the original Cincinnati observatory. To the left is the Art Museum. Rashig School is the three story brick building in the foreground. The picture was taken by Frank Wilmes using a glass negative. Photo courtesy of William H. Deak collection.  

German National Bank, 1127-29 Vine Street, is recognized today as home for the Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati.  When the bank moved into a new building downtown, its former location became the Italian Consulate and also housed the Union Savings Bank & Trust Co., before it housed Fifth Third Union Trust.  The Robert T. Morris Printing Company was located here in 1964 and the Jack Otto & Sons printing company was here in the mid 1970’s. The building front was repainted shortly after the building was converted into a theater in 1988.  

6th Street Market (1896) was in the German Renaissance style. With its bell tower and eagles flanking its doorways, it stood between Elm and Central Aves. It cost $60,000 to build. Hannaford had designed the Pearl St. Market House earlier in his career and the firm also designed the Jabez Elliott Flower Market, 6th Street.

Weidemann house, brewery and stables (1893, Newport, Ky.) While the Chateau style red brick and red sandstone house of Charles Weidemann still stands, commanding a view of the Ohio River valley, all that remains of the brewery and stables are terra cotta horses heads from the stables which have been mounted at River Downs. The stables (1897) and brewery (1910) and a house for George Weidemann (1899) were all in Newport, Ky.

Statehouse Judiciary Annex (1899-1901) was designed in the Neoclassical style to house judicial offices and state library. It later was remodeled for offices. In 1991-1993 the Annex was renovated at a cost of $88 million to restore it to its original condition as much as possible. It cost $900,000 to build. Of the original thirteen contractors, the following were from Cincinnati: Scully & Moss; brickwork, plastering, cement work; S. & J. Osborne & Co, asphalt work; Pelt & Shunter, sheet metal work; Francis A. Pedretti & Sons painted the murals, stenciling and decorations which dominate the grand marble staircase - the Annex’s most impressive feature.

The renovation was conducted by Schooley Caldwell Associates. During renovation, brick arches and the basement foundation were uncovered, as well as vestiges of the original plumbing. The original stained glass state seal was found and remounted in the top of the rotunda. 

George Cox’s crony, Asa S. Bushnell, was the governor that laid the Judiciary Annex’s cornerstone in 1899. Hannaford & Anderson designed Bushnell’s house (1869) in Springfield, Ohio.

Columbia Tusculum 6th District Patrol Station (1901) Known for the last 25 years as Jeff Ruby’s The Precinct Restaurant, Delta Ave. and Columbia Parkway, it is an example of adaptation of a building that has previously sat empty for decades. Hannaford also designed the Methodist Episcopal Church across the street at the corner of Delta and Columbia Ave. and the Yeatman Masonic Lodge diagonally across the street. Another example of a Hannaford & Sons Patrol Station is District 8, Fairview Heights (1895), 355 W. McMillan Street. This Romanesque Revival station originally was for patrolmen and a horse drawn patrol wagon. The second floor served as the hayloft. Of note are the friezes in the rounded arches of the stations exterior.

Twin Towers (1902, Methodist Home for the Aged) 5343 Hamilton Avenue, College Hill. This is probably the last building that Samuel Hannaford directly was responsible for.  Founded in 1899 in a former hotel at Yellow Springs, Ohio this was the first institution of its type in the state.  One of the original trustees was Pres. William McKinley. The former wooden hotel was completely destroyed in 1902 by fire, but no one was killed or injured. Mr. and Mrs. Obed J. Wilson offered twenty acres of their summer home property in College Hill for the building of a new home and a check for $10,000 to start the building fund. They also pledged $70,000 for the completion of the main building and chapel, the latter to be named in their memory. After the building was complete they also donated their private art collection, which still hangs there today.  Hannaford donated the plans for the full building, but the second (south) wing was not built until 30 years later. Samuel Hannaford was also the supervising architect.

A key part of the building specifications was to make the building as fireproof as possible. There has never been a fire at Twin Towers. The vitrified golden brick exterior was provided by Hummel Building. Bedford stone was used as trim. The building had a steel and concrete frame with wide tiled halls and a red tile roof. There were no wooden floors or wooden stairways. L. P. Hazen & Co. was the contractor. The roofing tile was donated by the National Roofing Tile Co. of Lima, Ohio. Plumbing was by the Gibson Co. Several thousand common bricks were also donated. The towers stand 150 feet and make the building a landmark that can be seen from the city basin.

Ground was broken June 2, 1903 and a photo taken at the ceremony clearly shows Hannaford seated along side other dignitaries, including Bishop John M. Walden, who also attended Farmers’ College.

The building was constructed in stages as to avoid debt. The entire building was estimated to cost $220,000, including a huge retaining wall to create more level ground in front and a long driveway crossing the slopes of the ravine. There was a cave at the head of the ravine gully  that was the source of a stream that ran down towards Northside. This cave supposedly hid  escaping slaves. The driveway and part of the retaining wall later collapsed. The cause was attributed to the collapse of an Underground Railroad tunnel running under the driveway and leading to the Cary mansion next to Twin Towers. 

The central building was opened in 1908 and the Wilson Chapel in 1909.

Twin Towers has a comprehensive archive on the building’s history. The following is a letter from Samuel Hannaford showing his involvement in the building:

                                                                                            Winton Place O. April 8 1905

My dear Mr. Wilson

  In reply to your inquiry regarding the progress of the Home for the Aged. I can state that for the last three weeks the work has been on the market. We have received bids by departments, and as an entirety, or lump bids. We have also had bidders from abroad, that is from reliable contractors from other parts of the State, as this was deemed advisable by the Building Com. and we consider that we have thoroughly sounded building market with the following result. The lowest estimate, based upon a combination of the lowest department bids, amounted to the sum of $131,548. for both buildings.

The lowest lump bid, all the work going to one bidder, is that of “Hazen & Co.” for the sum of $131,273. or $275. below the combination estimate.

  This is remarkably close bidding considering the magnitude of the work, and may be regarded as a clean competition without any collusion or attempted fraud.

  I may state that the above figures do not include all the items, as for instance the facing brick is being furnished by the Trustees. The same being mostly on the ground. Then again Mr. Weakley has received several thousand common brick as donations - these to be used by the Contractor and paid for by him at current market rates.

Neither does it include the “roofing tile” which is donated by the “National Roofing Tile Co.” of Lima, Ohio. (I think that is the name of the Co.)

In regard to the plumbing - it has been determined to have this done by The Gibson Co. On a basis of 10/100 profit.

The heating also is outside of the contract.

As you are aware the letting of the contracts was postponed last summer in hopes of more favorable prices but this has proved a dissapointment (sic). There has been no decline in prices - indeed an advance - but very slight. Our building demand, that is Cincinnati, has held its flood height in a remarkable manner, indeed the building permits of February and March 1905 far exceed in number & value those of last year. It is one of a half dozen cities in the country in which this is the case.

We received a lump bid from a Contractor of Zanesville Ohio that came highly recommended but he was a few thousand dollars higher than Hazen.

In regard to the North wing. The cost will exceed slightly the sum of $60,000. I have not the amt. of this separate estimate with me. I regret this but it is impossible to exactly gauge the building market in these days. If you desire the exact statement of the expenditures to date and the figures of the lowest bid on the North wing I can furnish them early next week.

In conclusion I would state that it is intended to award the contracts immediately, to that end I have an engagement with Hazen on the ground on Monday 10th inst. to look over the site. That there may be a thorough understanding of the condition of the buildings and the work to be done.

I have been on the site several times within a month. My latest visit being on Thursday 6 inst. Everything is in good condition and has passed through the winter without damage from frost or weather. As you may be aware I had the walls well covered with tarred paper last fall. The retaining wall is also in good condition. There is a slight amount of grading to be done. We hope to begin the same immediately. The main driveway I propose to macadam as soon as the grade of same is fully made. This driveway will be about 600 feet long & 20 feet wide. We also propose to build a parapet wall about 3'0" high the entire length of retaining wall and the same to be furnished with a so called “Scotch Coping.” or similar to the finish of the wall across “Poplar Avenue” (note: Windermere Way) from the Home grounds. Unfortunately our stratified limestone fails when placed on edge which is strikingly evidenced by the wall mentioned. I am going to investigate the cost of making concrete blocks for the “Scotch Coping.” I am of the opinion that they will cost less than the same out of our hill stone or out of the “Flat Rock” stone of Indiana, which is also stratified limestone but closer in texture than our hillstone. The concrete blocks will not be stratified and therefore will not split and disintegrate as the copings on the wall referred to.

I think that we have a sufficiency of building limestone that we have quarried out of the cellars of the buildings and in the grading to build the retaining wall and they of most excellent quality, better than any we have bought.

Excuse the length of my letter. I hope to see you soon.

Yours truly

                           Samuel Hannaford.     

East End Public Library, Columbia Tusculum (1906, 3738 Eastern Ave.) This Beaux-Arts style library was one of many sponsored by Andrew Carnegie and designed by Samuel Hannaford & Sons along the guidelines specified by Carnegie. Closed in the early 1990s, it was returned to the community in 1993 and carefully restored to the design plan of Hannaford & Sons. It is now The Carnegie Center of Columbia Tusculum.

Memorial Hall (1908, Hamilton County Veterans Memorial Building)

The Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War veterans group of former Union soldiers, lobbied the Ohio legislature for years to provide for the statewide construction of fourteen memorial halls between 1876-1925.

Samuel Hannaford & Sons, Cincinnati’s premier architectural firm, designed this imposing example of the Beaux Arts style. Clement Barnhorn, a Cincinnati Art Academy instructor and locally prominent sculptor, carved above the exterior doors six figures wearing uniforms from the Revolutionary War through the Spanish American wars. The 600 seat balconied concert hall with perfect acoustics has crystal chandeliers, bas-relief plaster scrollwork and a sky ceiling mural. Across the arch of the theater are listed virtues of the original organization: patriotism, will, integrity, manliness, martyrdom, philanthropy. Marble staircases, flowing halls, a carved stone room for a Civil War military museum, and several meeting rooms originally frescoed and stenciled by the well known company of Francis A. Pederetti & Sons completes the 2 2 story building. The finest craftsmen and well known Cincinnati firms designed and finished Memorial Hall, demonstrating its importance to Hamilton County.

The board of trustees for the Memorial Association of Hamilton County were: Elias R. Monfort, president; Aaron McNeil, secretary; Benjamin R. Cowan, Paul M. Millikin, Charles A. Miller, George B. Fox, and Matt. J. Day, assistant secretary.

For the first several decades, the memorial building was used by patriotic and veteran organizations. But as the population shifted to the suburbs and fraternal organizations started to decline, the building was unused, neglected, and deteriorating. Ownership was passed to the Hamilton County Commissioners. Necessary repairs and maintenance were not performed and a leaky roof caused plaster to melt and ceilings and walls to crumble.

The Board of County Commissioners determined the feasibility of preserving and restoring Memorial Hall and in 1988 formed a partnership with the Cincinnati Preservation Association. With renewed hope and Cincinnati Preservation Association’s expertise, a massive fund-raising and promotional campaign was begun. Founded in 1864, the nonprofit Cincinnati Preservation Association is one of the state’s leading organizations that promote the revitalization of historic buildings and neighborhoods. They moved their offices to Memorial Hall to oversee the repairs and expert restoration. Through their efforts Memorial Hall’s structure and status started to be restored to its former grandeur.

This restoration sparked new interest in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood around Memorial Hall. The City turned back time on a two block length of Elm street, in front of Memorial and Music Hall, restoring it to the original granite paving blocks.  

Memorial Hall was painstakingly restored by the Miami Purchase Association (Cincinnati Preservation Association) under the leadership of Mary Ann Olding. The Mighty Wurlitizer organ from the old Albee Theater is to be installed in the auditorium. There is a fantastic collection of memorial items inside - a plaque cast from the metal of the USS Maine whose sinking touched off the Spanish American War, flags, photos, lists of Revolutionary War Veterans of Hamilton Co., etc. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ohio Mechanics Institute (1909), Emery Auditorium (1911) The OMI was founded in 1828 for the education of craftsmen and mechanics and provided courses in mathematics, engineering, and mechanical drawing. This lead to well educated employees for the city’s industrial base. In the early years it moved to various locations, offering classes, a circulating library and free evening lectures. This library later became the core of the Cincinnati Public Library in 1870. One of the early presidents of O.M.I. was Miles Greenwood, owner of Eagle Iron Works. In 1848 the school had its first permanent home in the Greenwood Building, 6th and Vine Streets. In 1853 the fire alarm bell for downtown Cincinnati was mounted atop the school, the tallest building in the city. Before the Art Academy was built in Eden Park, Frank Duveneck taught classes here and had among his pupils Clement Barnhorn and John Twachtmann. Samuel Hannaford was a professor and his sons, Charles and Harvey, began teaching in the Architecture department.  Until 1898 only evening classes were offered. In 1904 the current site was purchased which was the location of Miles Greenwood’s machine shop.

The O.M.I. was designed by Harvey E. Hannaford in the Jacobean Tutor Revival style. Harvey was both the treasurer of the O.M.I. board and managing director of Hannaford & Sons at that time. The O.M.I. sold off its old building and moved into the new one in 1911. On the roof was a garden in which produce was grown to supply the lunchroom. Mary Emery donated half a million dollars for the construction of the Institute and Auditorium. Years later it merged with the University of Cincinnati and was renamed the Ohio College of Applied Science, which closed the downtown location in 1989.

The building was endowed by Mary Emery who requested that the theater be named for her husband, Thomas J. Emery. Before his death in 1906 he had planned to build a technical school. The theater style concert hall was unusual for its time, having two cantilevered balconies, which only became possible at the turn of the century when reinforced concrete and steel technology had developed to that point. This was the first concert hall in Cincinnati with no obstructed sight lines. While its design was adapted from Adler and Sullivan’s Auditorium Theater in Chicago, the plans had additional input from Mrs. Emery and famed conductor Leopold Stokowski.

Leopold Stokowski conducted the first concert in Emery Auditorium on Jan. 6, 1912 and declared that the acoustics rivaled that of Carnegie Hall. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra moved from Music Hall to Emery Auditorium because of the improved acoustics, not returning to Music Hall for 24 years. After the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra left in 1936, the auditorium was the home of the Midwestern Hayride

The OCAS building has been turned into the Emery Center Apartments.  

Emanuel Community Center, 1308 Race St. The architectural design of the center was done by Samuel Hannaford & Sons.  The ground was broken, Feb. 5, 1923 and the cornerstone was laid, July 8, 1923. The Emanuel Center has been a part of the fabric of Over-the-Rhine for 137 years. Emanuel provides education and shared neighborhood experiences that connect all residents of Over-the-Rhine. The Center is next to the Nast German Methodist Episcopal Church, built by Samuel Hannaford in 1888.

Cincinnati General Hospital (1912, 1915, 1928) The hospital moved from its location next to the Miami & Erie canal at 12th street in 1914. Key to the move was Dr. Christian R. Holmes who practiced in the old hospital. He believed that a new teaching hospital near the University of Cincinnati would better answer the needs of the citizens and the rapidly expanding technology of disease and patient care. General Hospital was built in the European Pavilion style. The many pavilions would permit patient grouping by disease and in the aftermath of an epidemic, if an individual building could not be cleaned thoroughly, it could be burnt. The buildings were connected underground by a tunnel system so that patients could be moved without going outside. The tunnels also connected to nearby hospitals. Logan Hall, the home for the nurses, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Dalton Street Post Office was designed by Hannaford & Sons in 1932-33. This is a gem of Art Deco splendor. There are bronze doors, marble wainscoting, and  spectacular Art Deco lighting fixtures. The sandstone and granite building was originally built as a mailing annex, and later became the main post office. The postal service left the Dalton St. station in 1998 and its future is unsure. At one time it was connected to the Union Terminal for ease in handling mail that came by rail.  

Times Star Building. Samuel Hannaford & Sons designed both of the Time Star buildings. The first was in 1891 and was on the corner of 6th and Walnut. The second (1931) is the limestone Art Deco building that we know today at 800 Broadway. Adorning the 16 story building are statues representing Truth, Patriotism, Progress and Speed.  Above the doorway is a spread winged eagle which was the logo used on the old Times Star newspaper. On the 3rd story level are reliefs of famous printers - Gutenberg, Caxton, Franklin, Elzevier. The building is now used as court rooms. Hummel Building once again partnered with Hannaford & Sons on this structure.

Mt. Storm Shelterhouse (1935) This modern stone pavilion overlooks the Mill Creek Valley.

Other buildings of interest:

1st Universalist Church, 1898, 2600 Essex Pl., Walnut Hills

A. E. Burkhardt house, 1887, 400 Forest Ave, Avondale

Archbishop’s Residence,1911, 5440 Moeller Ave.,  Norwood

Avondale Masonic Lodge (Avon Lodge) c 1910, Windham near Reading Road

Bethesda Hospital, 1937, old section

Booth Memorial Hospital, 1915, E 2nd St., Covington

Cheviot Masonic Lodge, c 1910, Harrison & Montclair

Cincinnati Federation of Colored Women building ,1888, 1010 Chapel

Cincinnati Orphan Asylum Children's Home , 1937, now a doctor's building, Wellington Place, Mt. Auburn

Cincinnati Public Library, 1954, old section, downtown

Crosley Corp. Main Manufacturing Plant, 1937, Colerain Ave.

Deaconess Hospital, 1937, old section, 311 Straight St., Corryville

Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1890, Stanton Ave. & Wm. Howard Taft Road, Walnut Hills

H. W Derby building, 1884, Elm & W. 4th, South east corner

Holmes Hospital, 1937, Eden & Bethesda Ave.

Hooper building, 1893, 131-151 W. 4th Street

Hooper building, 1893, 4th & Elms Sts.

Monroe County Courthouse,1906-1908, Woodsfield, Ohio

Mother of God, Church & School remodeling, 1900 & 1905, W 6th Street, Covington, Ky.

Mother of Mercy Academy, 1922, 3036 Werk Rd.

Northside Presbyterian Church,1894, Hamilton Ave., Northside

Norwood Masonic Lodge, c 1920, Weaver Ave.

P. R. Mitchell Co., c 1900, Harrison & Spring Grove Ave.

Papenheimer Building 1887, 221 W. 4th Street

Police Patrol Station #5, 1896, 1024 York St.

Price Hill Masonic Lodge, c 1915, Price & Purcell

Ransley Apt. Building, McMillan & 2309 Kemper (Walnut Hills)

St. Paulus Facade,1900,1117 Pendleton, Over the Rhine

U. S. Post Office, 1937, Government Square

United States Playing Card Co.,1910, U. S. Printing Co.,1909, Beech and Park Aves., Norwood

Vernon Manor Hotel, 1926, 400 Oak St.

Virgo County Courthouse,1888, Terre Haute, Indiana

Walter Fields Residence, 1884, 3725 Reading Road, Avondale

Washington Co. Courthouse,1901-1902, Marietta, Ohio

Westwood 1st Presbyterian Church, 1926, 3011 Harrison Ave.

Winton Place School, 1888, old section, 4750 Winton Rd.

Wyoming Presbyterian Church, 1888, 225 Wyoming Ave.



Copyright © 2006 Betty Ann Smiddy