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Lisa Murtha


The Address: 307 Wanoka Woods

A short walk from the landmark St. Thomas Episcopal Church, the 1970s-era Wanoka Woods subdivision is something of an anomaly for Terrace Park, which is known more for its historic homes. And yet, nestled on a wooded lot alongside the Little Miami River, this contemporary home successfully pays homage at every turn to the waters it sits beside.

The Address: 1840 Madison Rd.

This 1904 Colonial Revival manse, now on the market for $1,575,000, originally served as a single family home for railroad executive William C. Greene, but its history holds more than just generations of genteel Cincinnati families. Between 1935 and 1988, it was known as McNicholas Hall, part of the Institutum Divi Thomae (St. Thomas Institute)—a research facility and partnership between inventor George Sperti and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Here—our hand to God—Sperti is said to have developed Preparation H, and possibly even Aspercreme. The Archdiocese supported the Institute by selling many of Sperti’s patents; legend has it that the formula for Preparation H fetched $1 million, says current homeowner Frank McWilliams.

The house didn’t fare as well. Sperti grew ill and in 1988 the institute disbanded. The abandoned building eventually fell into disrepair. By the time Frank and his wife Janna purchased it in 1990, the living room floor had caved into the basement. Undaunted, the McWilliamses set out to reconvert the Institute’s science labs back into bedrooms, and restore and update everything from the living room floor (it’s now solid hardwood) to the woodwork, bathrooms, fireplaces, ceilings, copper gutters, windows, roof, and even the third-floor skylight.  There’s also a fully functional dumbwaiter in the back stair hall.

Buyers craving a modicum of tranquility will be pleased to know that the 1.86-acre lot affords plenty of distance between the house and busy Madison Road. There’s even more local history out back: The property abuts the Scarborough Woods nature preserve, which gets its name from the property’s original owner, W.W. Scarborough, once the president of the Cincinnati Gas Company.

John Morris Russell

The CSO has finally found someone feisty enough and fun and talented enough to fill the shoes of the late, great Eric Kunzel. A chat with the new owner of the red dinner jacket on the eve of his debut as permanent maestro of the Cincinnati Pops.

The Address: 4117 34th St.

Your body’s already a temple; now your home can be, too, if you buy this Oakley property for just $325,000. Formerly the Oakley Christian Community Church, it’s now definitively a single-family home thanks to the decade-long efforts of creative owners Gregg and Nora Martini.

The Address: 18 East Fourth St.

If you’re looking to move downtown, you can’t get much more centrally located than this condo in the Fourth National Bank building. Even though Tom Borcher and Valerie Louis are selling this 10th floor, 1,950-square-foot unit for $385,000, they plan on staying in the neighborhood. “I’ve walked to work every day for 15 years,&rdq

The Address: 66 Rio Vista Drive

Rio Vista means “river view” in Spanish, but in Northern Kentucky, it just might mean “fun.” At least, that’s the impression you get from this 9,000-square-foot contemporary home for sale (list price, $1.4 million) in one of Ft. Thomas’s most exclusive river-view communities.

Room With a View

In the glory days of Cincinnati dining, the Gourmet Room loomed large, with its five Mobil stars and starry-eyed views. But times and tastes changed, leaving the restaurant—and the Terrace Plaza—behind. A look back at the rise and fall of a landmark.

Real Estate: 309 Oregon St.

The first time he looked at the steep, narrow lot at the end of Oregon Street that would become The Palisades of Mt. Adams, architect John Senhauser knew it would pose a challenge—and that he could meet it. “There aren’t many places in Mt. Adams where you could really do flats like this,” Senhauser sa

Real Estate: House Hounds

The weekend’s highlight will undoubtedly be the off-site tours. All three Usonian homes will open for conference participants, as will a myriad of other modern gems, including Richard Neutra’s Schneider house in Amberley Village, Ray Roush’s and (later) Jose Garcia’s Dwivedi-Schiff house in Hyde Park, and the Lowrie house in Clifton (home to former DAAP Dean Jay Chatterjee, this was the city’s first modern house). Springfield’s Wescott House (pictured above) is also on the itinerary.