Monday, November 28, 2011

Abbe Observatory

Cleveland Abbe (1838-1916) at the request of the Cincinnati Astronomical Society became director of the neglected Cincinnati Observatory in 1868 and it was at this time he developed a system for daily weather forecasting. Abbe and his team of observers scattered throughout the country would report on weather conditions at specified times and record and report forecasts via telegraph. Abbe was known as, “Old Probability” and in 1870 helped establish the US Weather Bureau and became Chief Meteorologist. The bureau later became the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Cleveland Abbe also founded the Monthly Weather Review, which is still published today. He also laid out a plan for standardized time zones in the United States.

The Abbe Observatory was built in 1915 by the US Weather Bureau and was the only weather station with a commemorative name. The Georgian Revival building located on Lafayette Circle once had weather equipment stationed on the roof and was the home to the Chief Meteorologist for the bureau. Ownership of the observatory was transferred to the University of Cincinnati in 1965. Today it serves as a private residence.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cincinnati Woman's Club

Founded in 1897, the Cincinnati Woman’s Club is an organization created to promote social, educational, and artistic growth in the community. Among some of the successes of the club are the introduction of the 1904 antismoke ordinance in the city created to fight pollution, the introduction of playgrounds in the community, and penny lunches.

Their original building was located on Oak Street but was torn down in the 1960’s to make way for Interstate 71. The organization is now on Lafayette Avenue and still has the mission of civic betterment through volunteering and philanthropy. Their Philanthropic Endowment Fund makes grants to a variety of charities throughout the year.

Cincinnati Woman’s Club
330 Lafayette Avenue, Clifton

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mt. Storm Park

This 57-acre park was once home to the estate of Robert Bowler, a former mayor of Clifton who earned his wealth in the dry goods business. The estate once contained greenhouses, gardens, a waterfall, and a lake. Also on the property is the Temple of Love gazebo designed by Adolph Strauch who is also known for the Imperial Gardens of Vienna and as the designer of Spring Grove Cemetery. Designed in 1850, the gazebo was used as a cover to a reservoir that once provided water to the greenhouses and lake. There is also a cave on the estate that was used by Bowler as a wine cellar and back in the 19th Century, Bowler hosted many celebrities at his estate including the Prince of Wales and Charles Dickens.

The home was torn down in 1917 and all that is left of the estate is the gazebo (shown above) and the wine cellar. In 1935 a shelterhouse, designed by Samuel Hannaford & Sons was built for the park.

The park today provides great views of the Clifton skyline and of Millcreek Valley. There are flower gardens, a playground, and large green spaces. Mt. Storm Park is another jewel in the Cincinnati Park System.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Academy of the Sacred Heart

The Academy of the Sacred Heart was founded in 1869 as a Catholic boarding school for girls operated by the Ladies of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The academy started on 6th street but moved to this location in 1876. The building is the former mansion of William Neff, a wealthy pork packer and was built in 1867. William Neff called his estate, “The Windings” and is modeled after the Kenilworth Castle in England. The Gothic style home is constructed of gray ashlar stone and all of the woodwork was carved by hand. The home proved to be too costly for Neff who sold it to the Academy of the Sacred Heart. A chapel and additional buildings designed by Samuel Hannaford were later added.

The academy closed in 1970 and in 1989 the building was converted into condominiums. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Academy of the Scared Heart
525 Lafayette Avenue, Clifton

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bethesda Home for the Aged

Built in 1867, this castle-like home was built for 19th century iron merchant George K. Schoenberger who also was one of the developers of Spring Grove Cemetery. The home was name Scarlet Oaks after many of the oak trees that grew on the property. The home is a Romanesque style building made of stone with French-Gothic style windows.

The home was purchased in 1908 by Ernest H. Huenefeld and given to the Bethesda Methodist Deaconess to use as a home for the elderly. Additional buildings were added over the years and today the grounds contain a health center and residential units. The original home is used as a chapel, library, and recreation center.

Bethesda Home for the Aged
440 Lafayette Avenue, Clifton

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Clifton Gaslight District

Incorporated in 1850 the village of Clifton became known for its stately mansions with lush gardens, wooded acres, and parks. Clifton is considered one of the first of Cincinnati suburbs and was annexed in 1896.

The area around Ludlow and Clifton Avenues is called the Clifton Gaslight District because of its use of the original gas lamps that line the streets. Ludlow Avenue is filled with many unique shops and restaurants as well as the Esquire Theatre which shows many independent films.

Many Victorian mansions can be seen along Clifton Avenue and there are many historic homes still standing in the gaslight district such as the Lloyd House, the home of pharmacist Dr. John Uri Lloyd, known for the Lloyd Library. The Lloyd House is a Richardson style home designed by James McLaughlin. In Clifton you will also find the Henry Probasco House, “Oakwood” (shown above) designed by William Tinsley and built in 1860.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Probasco Fountain

Henry Probasco (1820-1902) worked as a wholesale hardware merchant and as a partner in a hardware store owned by his brother-in-law Tyler Davidson. Henry Probasco was a prominent figure in Cincinnati and held many positions throughout his life like manager of the public library, president of Spring Grove Cemetery, member of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History, and Mayor of Clifton. He is probably best known for the Tyler Davidson Fountain, a gift he gave to the city of Cincinnati in honor of his former partner and brother-in-law Tyler Davidson.

The Probasco Fountain was dedicated in 1887. Based on a design by Samuel Hannaford, the fountain is made of bronze with a granite base and has an ornate design of chrysanthemums. It was originally built to be used as a drinking fountain and has several basins. A dipper once hung from the fountain for people, a larger basin for horses, and smaller basins for dogs. The fountain was a gift to the residents of Clifton and inscribed on the fountain is, “Thirsty and ye gave me drink”. The Probasco Fountain is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Probasco Fountain
Clifton Avenue near Woolper Avenue, Clifton

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The Cincinnati Zoo opened in 1875 and is the second oldest zoo in the country. It started on 65 acres of land and with just a few animals including a circus elephant and a talking crow. Over the years the zoo has acquired more land and today contains more than 500 animals of all species. The are many exhibits at the zoo which focus on different parts of the world with cheetahs, tigers, giraffes, gorillas, polar bears, white lions, as well as the only Sumatran rhinos in the country.

As well as the animal exhibits the zoo is also a botanical garden with over 3,000 plant species. Around the park you will find a variety of plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs that are both native to this area and from around the world as well as some endangered plant species.

The Cincinnati Zoo is designated a national historic landmark for its history and the structures in the park. One of the structures is the old aviary building which is now the passenger pigeon memorial in honor of the last known passenger pigeon that passed away here in 1914. The reptile house (shown above) was built in 1875 and is the oldest standing zoo building in the country.

The Cincinnati Zoo is ranked one of the best zoos in the United States.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
3400 Vine Street, Avondale

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Children's Hospital

Established in 1883, Children’s Hospital got its start in a rented home in Walnut Hills. The hospital was formed when a group of concerned parishioners got support from their bishop and The Hospital of the Protestant Episcopal Church was started. Several years later in 1887 a new, larger hospital was opened in Mt. Auburn and in 1926 the hospital moved to the location where it stands today. The hospital and its research facilities continued to expand in the 1970’s, 1980’s, and up through today.

A lot of research and discoveries have been made at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital through the years. After World War II, Albert Sabin came to the hospital and researched and developed the oral polio vaccine. Others included the preservation and transportation of whole blood, the study of birth defects, and the first functioning heart-lung machine to name a few.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is ranked one of the best in the United States.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
3333 Burnet Avenue, Avondale