Friday, September 27, 2013

St. Joseph's Catholic Orphan Asylum

While researching a home in Northside, I came across this map which shows a Catholic Orphan Asylum. I wondered just what this was and if anything remained...
1869 Titus Map - Source
This orphanage was started in 1829 by two Sisters of Charity, who decided to begin caring for poor and orphan children. This first orphanage was located near present-day St. Xavier Church on Sycamore Street in downtown Cincinnati. The first official name in 1833 was the St. Peter's Benevolent Association. By 1852, the orphanage required more space and it was decided to move to Northside (then called Cumminsville) to land once owned by Jacob Hoffner. You can see by the map above the location of the orphanage just off Blue Rock Street, abutting Mr. Hoffner's land at the corner of Blue Rock and Hamilton Avenue, which is present-day Hoffner Park. The name change to St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum.

Circa 1896 - Source
"Erected 1852-1854. Built of brick and stone, 180 x 180 feet. Cost $19,000. Number of orpahns: 360. Sisters of Charity, twenty-four in number, are in charge. The institution is under the management of St. Joseph's Orphan Association whose President is Archbishop Elder, and Vice-Preseident, Rev. James Hnery. Sister Alphonse is the Superioress."
The orphanage stood behind St. Patrick's Church at Blue Rock and Turrill Street, which was started around 1853. By 1861, the parish has grown so large that it was decided to split along ethnic lines with the Irish remaining at St. Patrick's and the Germans creating a new church, St. Boniface just west at the corner of Blue Rock and Lakeman Streets. As St. Boniface grew, a new church was built in 1927 at Chase and Pitts Avenues
Original St. Boniface, built in 1863
Source
St. Boniface, built in 1927
Source
St. Patrick Church, built in 1873
Source
The orphanage grew as well over the years, with additions being added as necessary. In the 1870 Census, 255 children lived here, ranging in age from 2 to 14 years old. By 1914, over 8,000 children from all denominations had been cared for. Starting in 1864, an annual picnic and feast for the orphans was held on July 4th. The orphanage was described in the 1883 book "Picturesque Cincinnati" published by the John Shillito Company as such:
St. Peter's and St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum. — In the northern part of Cumminsville, about three squares from the Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Dayton Railroad depot. The building is a large four-story brick structure, surrounded by nearly twenty acres of the society's property. The average number of children in the asylum is 350; and the annual expenses are between $16,000 and $18,000. Children, one or both of whose parents are dead, are admitted, usually without charge; but when the surviving parent or friends are willing to pay, a moderate charge is made. The institution is conducted by the Sisters of Charity, and is supported by public charity. A bazaar and a picnic, held once a year, are the chief sources of income; but the St. Peter's, St. Joseph's, and the St. Xavier's orphan societies, as well as many individuals, make liberal contributions yearly. The asylum is also known as the Cumminsville orphan asylum, or as the Catholic orphan asylum. It can be reached by the Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Dayton Railroad (fare 15 cents), and by the Cumminsville and Spring-grove line of horse-cars (fare 5 cents). - Source
1937 Sanborn Map showing the orphanage, St. Patrick Church and St. Boniface Church
Source
Demographics began to change in the orphanage from true orphans whose parents had died to children from broken homes in need of a place to stay. By 1952, 200 orphans resided at St. Joseph's and in 1959, plans were made to move the orphanage to a new building in Monfort Heights where it remains today as St. Joseph Orphanage. They continue to serve children who have been abused, neglected or who have emotionally or developmental disabilities.
Cincinnati Post & TimesStar; Aug.14 1959, pg 1
The new building was ready in 1962 and the old one became temporary overflow for the St. Francis Seminary, which was located in Mount Healthy. This arrangement continued until 1964, when the site was sold to the Cincinnati Board of Education, for a new school to be built to replaced the aging Chase School on Chase Avenue.
Cincinnati Enquirer; May 11, 1964 pg. 10
It took many years for the new Chase Elementary School to be built. The land closest to Chase Avenue was used to build the McKie Recreation Center and finally in 1979, the old Chase School, built in 1886-1888 was replaced, giving students a modern educational facility, including a cafeteria which was not in the old building. Children for over 90 years had been eating lunch on benches in a hallway!
"Old" Chase Elementary, closed in 1979, became condominiums in 1998
Source
Chase Elementary, built in 1979, demolished in 2009
Source
While the Chase Elementary School built in 1979 was modern for its time, by 2008, it was determined that the space was not adequate for the 21st-century. The school was rebuilt on the same location and opened in February 20, 2012.
Chase Elementary, opened in 2012
Source
 For over 160 years, this plot of land in Northside, from Blue Rock Street to Chase Avenue, has cared for and educated the children of Cincinnati.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Castle on the Mount

I came across this home while looking at a list of National Register places in Cincinnati. This beautiful castle-like building sits on a hill in Mount Airy, across Colerain Avenue from Mount Airy Forest.
2005 Hamilton County Auditor
Named "Cote Bonneville", it was built in 1902, but the story of this land starts long before then. In the 1850's, this rural location was purchased by Charles Frederick Adae, who was born in Wurttemberg in 1815 and arrived in the United States in 1833. He began in business in Cincinnati around 1846, investing in sugar and imports of liquor, wines and tobacco. He was appointed Consul for some of the German States and eventually for all of Germany. He was trusted among the German community of Cincinnati, especially in regards to their surplus funds. When Germans had money to collect from Europe, they asked C.F. Adae, as Consul, to assist. In order to help, he opened a banking business, commonly called the German Savings Bank.

He moved his family to just north of Northside (then called Cumminsville) on a plot of land they called "Adae's Woods".
1869 Titus Map - Source
Source
C.F. Adae passed away as a successful banker in 1868 and his wife, Ellen Woods Adae remained in the home. The banking business, however, found itself in trouble under the leadership of  his nephew, Carl A. G. Adae, and in 1878, it closed, having to pay depositors about $0.30 for each dollar. Ellen sold the estate to Napoleon DuBrul in May of 1884 and she passed away in December of that same year. The Adae family is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery.
Napoleon DuBrul
Source - "Napoleon DuBrul, a Cincinnati Inventor," THE CINCINNATI HISTORICAL SOCIETY BULLETIN  v38:#3  (Fall, 1980)
Napoleon DrBrul was born in Quebec, Canada in 1846 and at the age of fourteen began an apprenticeship as a pattern maker for steam ships. As a French Canadian, he was not keen of the English leadership of Canada and in 1867, he left his home country for Chicago. He became an accomplished pattern maker and was granted his first patents for tin-lined cigar molds, which were actually never commercially introduced.

In 1872, he moved to Cincinnati and lived in the West End. He returned to Canada to marry Marie Liliose Le Gault and returned to the city with his bride along with his four brothers and one sister, since their mother had died. His father soon joined them all in Cincinnati. Napoleon entered the business of Schwill & DuBrul, The Cincinnati Cigar Mould, but then later joined Miller and Peters, who were also in the same line of business. As his family grew, they moved from Everett Street in the West End to Dudley Street near Mohawk. Business remained strong, securing thirty-five patents in cigar manufacturing between 1871 and 1895. He also marketed cigarette machinery to Europe and South America to avoid the monopoly held in the US by American Tobacco.

The DuBrul's enjoyed the former Adae's Woods, hosting parties such as this one:
Cincinnati Enquirer (1872-1922); Apr 7, 1893;
ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Cincinnati Enquirer (1841 - 1922)
pg. 4
However, by the early 1900's, Napoleon desired to build his own home on the estate and enlisted the help of architect W. W. Franklin, who was born and educated in England and had come to Cincinnati in 1877. He was a professor of architecture at the Ohio Mechanics Institute. Franklin is also known the homes of Henry PogueWilliam Oskamp and many others in Cincinnati. DuBrul had only three of his nine children still living at home, so there was no need for nurseries or other accommodations for small children.
Source - "Napoleon DuBrul, a Cincinnati Inventor," THE CINCINNATI HISTORICAL SOCIETY BULLETIN  v38:#3  (Fall, 1980)
The house was built with a concrete foundation and limestone with steel beams supporting the floors. The interior partitions were made from brick and the ventilation system was designed by DuBrul himself. The home was three-stories tall and has 24 rooms in total. No detail was left out when designing his home. Venetian stained glass, pine and oak flooring, imported mosaics, murals on the ceiling, hand carved doors and banisters, carpets from Austria were just some of the things in the home. DeBrul named his home "Cote Bonneville" because this means "beautiful city" in honor of Cincinnati and also because Bonneville was an old family name.
Source - "Napoleon DuBrul, a Cincinnati Inventor," THE CINCINNATI HISTORICAL SOCIETY BULLETIN  v38:#3  (Fall, 1980)
Source
DuBrul only was able to enjoy his home for about fourteen years until his death on October 23, 1916. His wife sold the home in the early 1920's to Herbert Faber, co-founder of Formica Corporation and developer of the Raeburn subdivision next-door to this home. Faber sold the home and 27 acres to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in the early 1950's and they sold in 1954 to the Glemary Sisters.

The Glenmary Sisters used the estate for a convent for training women to become nuns. With the decline of members in the early 1970's, the order began to look of other options for the home and land, since the building was becoming too large to serve their small numbers.
The Cincinnati Enquirer; June19, 1976; pg. C2
Less than a month after this announcement, another came saying the nuns had decided not to sell to the city but instead hired consultant Guy Chamberlin to study possibilites. In 1978, it was announced that the land and home would be developed by Chamberlin into more of the Raeburn neighborhood. Luckily, the castle-like home would remain along with its pool house and garden. It was purchased by Tony and Roberta Michel, of the well-known business Michel Tires.
The Cincinnati Enquirer; June 14, 1981; pg. E4
In June, 1981, the Michel's offered a tour of their home to Sharon Peters of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Roberta shared that while the convent had made some changes to the home, such as converting a bedroom into a dormitory-style bathroom, they were lovingly and painstakingly restoring the home to its former splendor.  All but one of the murals and all of the stained-glass were gone. However, the wood floors, woodworking, tile and stone work remained. Even brass and silver lighting fixtures were still there, needing a bit of polishing. Mrs. Michel enjoyed the enormous rooms, some with private terrances, 8-foot windows, a butler's pantry with a 6-foot built in oak ice box, marble fireplaces and 6 acres of property.
The Cincinnati Enquirer; June 14, 1981; pg. E4
The Michels continue to own "Cote Bonneville" today and I am sure over the last 30 years have put much more loving care into this 111-year old home. As Roberta Michel said in 1981, "But now I wouldn't leave it for the world. We've put so much of ourselves into it that to get me out, they're going to have to carry me in a pine box."
The Cincinnati Enquirer; June 14, 1981; pg. E4

The Cincinnati Enquirer; June 14, 1981; pg. E5
From Cote Bonneville's Facebook Page

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

History Fun on a Budget

The e-mail came with our second Mission for Livin’ In The Cin: plan a weekend of fun for less than $50.00. Well, of course, I had to find history-related fun! I started with the Cincinnati USA’s 2013 Official Visitors Guide and went through circling many things related to Cincinnati and its history. Then I had to narrow it down. This was hard! There are so many things to do in Cincinnati that really won’t break your budget.

So for my first day I decided to go “old school” and use the old Queen City Tour guidebook, last updated in 1996, to learn more about Cincinnati. This tour was originally designed in 1970 by the Greater Cincinnati Beautiful Committee along with the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and was meant to be a driving tour to highlight to locals and visitors the sights to see in Cincinnati. The iconic signs of purple and gold could be seen along this route for many years. The tour was updated in 1996 and so I went to the Main Library on Vine Street to get our copy.
However, since we (my daughter and I) were already downtown, we decided to make this a walking tour of the area. We started where the book starts, Fountain Square, the heart of our town. It was lunchtime and we were enticed into the Westin Hotel to get lunch at Ingredients ($13.14).
 After our bellies were full, we started following the tour, going east on Fifth Street to see such sights as the United States Courthouse, the Cincinnati Masonic Temple/Taft Theater, and Procter and Gamble.

Federal Courthouse

Taft Theater/Masonic Temple
P&G Historical Marker

P&G Towers


Turning the corner at Pike Street we found a Queen City Tour sign! We headed back on Fourth Street and stopped to look at the Taft Museum of Art, Lytle Park, the Literary Club, the former Guilford School, Western-Southern, the University Club, the Queen City Club, Christ Church, Cincinnati Gas & Electric, Dixie Terminal, the Bartlett Building, the Ingalls Building, PNC Tower, the former Gidding Jenny storefront and Tower Place, all the while reading along in our tour book, learning more history than we knew before!
Taft Museum of Art
Literary Club

Guilford School
Queen City Club
University Club
Western & Southern
Tower of Christ Church Parish House
CG&E Building
Inside the Dixie Terminal Building
Ingalls Building
The former Gidding-Jenny Building
PNC Tower
We turned up Race Street and headed back to Fifth, making a stop in the Hilton Netherland Plaza to admire the architecture and stopped at Abby Girl Sweets in the Carew Tower Arcade for a sweet ending ($5.50) to our walking tour of just a small area of our beautiful downtown. We left our parking spots under the fountain ($8, it was a weekday) wanting to take more of the tour another time. This truly could be a whole weekend trip alone, if you stop to visit the insides of many of these buildings and sites. Check out a copy of the book from the library or you can use this blog, where they have marked all the sites and have even added some new ones! http://queencitytour.blogspot.com/

Tower Place plague dedicate to the H & G Poguel Co.

Entrance to the Hilton Netherland Plaza
Palm Court Cafe, inisde the Hilton Netherland Plaza
Carew Tower under construction
The Carew Tower
Abbey Girl Sweets
Our next trip out, this time with my husband and our son on a Sunday afternoon, we learned about one of our nation’s presidents at the William Howard Taft National Historic Site, the only national park in our city. This tour is free to everyone and they are open seven days a week from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm except for New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. We learned a lot about this hometown boy and the home that he lived in for his youth. We also learned about his time serving the nation in his many positions from U.S. Solicitor General, to governor of the Philippines, to President of the United States and finally Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was well-loved in his time and it was a great experience learning about Will Taft.







After visiting the Taft house, we drove up to Mount Lookout to see the Cincinnati Observatory, which is a National Historic Landmark. The Observatory was founded in 1842 on Mount Ida, which was renamed Mount Adams after a visit from President John Quincy Adams, who laid the cornerstone on the original building. The Observatory offers historic tours on the 2nd and 4th Sundays from 1 pm to 4 pm. Donations of $5.00 are requested but not demanded. 

After taking a look at the large sundial next to the parking lot, we picked up on a tour about halfway through, where we entered O.M.  Mitchel building, the smaller of the two buildings. We learned about the 1842 Merz and Mahler telescope and, with a solar lens, we got to take a look at sun spots and a solar flare. 

We then headed back to the main building and went upstairs to see the 1904 Alvan Clark and Sons 16-inch telescope. We took a look inside the telescope to learn how the light from space is focused into our eyes and also learned how the dome operates.



We went down to the basement to see the German-made clock that once served as the official time for the City of Cincinnati. Back on the first floor, we looked at exhibits that explained more about the history of the Observatory and some of the scientific research that has made the Observatory world-renowned.



Since our visit to the Observatory was so inexpensive and we had money left to spend, we topped off our Sunday afternoon with a trip to Graeter’s ($13.51) in Hyde Park Square to end our weekend of fun on a sweet note. Total spent was $45.15 but the value of the memories made and the things we learned are priceless!

More photos from our trips can be seen on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/diggingcincinnatihistory