Friday, September 7, 2007

The House that Radio Built

(Note: Larger photo to come.)
If you start reading summaries of attractions in cities across the United States, you'll find them peppered with millionaires' mansions. That is, mansions that were built back when having a million bucks meant something, from the birth of the nation through the 1960s. Just about every good-sized city has its _____ Mansion or ______ Estate, often more than one.

There are several such in Cincinnati, including the Fleischmann estate, but one in particular went without notice for decades: the Crosley Mansion, Pinecroft. Pinecroft sits on the grounds of Cincinnati's Franciscan Mercy Hospital, outside College Hill. The 73 acres surrounding it and now home to the hospital originally included a working farm (with a house for the tenent famer), Powel Crosley's daughter's home (vacated after he died in 1961), tennis courts, a large swimming pool, gatehouse, and a variety of garages and other outbuildings. Lots of stained glass windows--even in the basement--and a monkey wearing headphones, mounted on the main staircase newel post.

When I began researching CROSLEY: Two Brothers and a Business Empire that Transformed the Nation in earnest in 2000, I had already been on the grounds of the mansion several times, and found it fascinating. I'll talk about the interior in a later post, but here's a photo of the main part of the mansion. Not shown to the left is a small wing that ties into an open, walled outdoor party area with a stone gazebo. To the right is a larger wing that contains an immense kitchen, dining area, two of the many garages, and other rooms. The house boasts two walk-in safes--one for booze, as it was built in 1927 during Prohibition.
Photo © Copyright 2007, Michael A. Banks


Flaum Family Blog said...

I'm in the middle of reading your biography on the Crosley brothers; it is truly a fascinating story. I had no idea that Powell Crosley had such a defining role in the evolution of public radio in this nation. I hope that Pinecroft will be opened for public tours someday. Is there a museum somewhere with a display of Crosley radios, etc.?

Brian Siegel said...

It is interesting and quite certainly fascinating that Mr. Crosley not only resided in Cincinnati, but was an amazing innovative spirit and leader who built his empire and inventions right here in the Cincinnati area. He is someone that all too often is forgotten, but his legacy extends beyond the grave from his connection to cars, refrigerators, radios, the Reds, and more I am certain yet personally naive and must improve my knowledge economy. Ironically, I was there today.

Carol Inskeep said...

What happened to the carved wood monkey wearing headphones that sat atop the newel post of the staircase in the front entry? I saw it there once in the early '70s when I went with an interior design class of mine while in high school.