Own a slice of history with this Queen Anne–style home in East Walnut Hills. Built in 1882, it’s currently owned by Graeter’s CEO Rich Graeter and is chock full of historical details. “The home was once owned by the Hudepohl brewing family,” Graeter says. “After that, local political fixture Jake Held lived there for the next 30 years. We have made the house our home for the past 21 years.”
Designed by Cincinnati architect Gustave Drach, a lot has changed in the home since then. The Graeters have invested more than $750,000 to preserve and upgrade many elements of the home. That includes expanding the rear porch, adding a detached two-car garage, energy efficient upgrades, a new kitchen, a remodeled attic, a second-floor laundry room, and plenty more. “We both fell in love with the historic elements unique to older homes from this era,” Graeter says. “Homes like this have simply not been built in over 100 years.”
The five-bedroom home, with three full and two half baths, is nearly 6,000 square feet. From the street, the meticulous landscaping frames the facade and its dreamy wraparound porch. Most of the first floor features hardwood floors, and wide doorways with pocket doors separate each room. “The openness and interconnectivity of the design allows the home to accommodate large parties, as guests can easily mingle and pass from one room to another,” Graeter says. “We have had holiday parties with 150 guests without feeling cramped or crowded. It is one of the home’s magical features.”
A hand-painted mural depicting European scenes from the 1930s decorates the foyer. In the formal dining room, a large carved antique oak table is the centerpiece. The table can expand from a five-foot diameter circular arrangement to an oval configuration that seats 20—and it’s included with the sale of the house. Between the dining room and the kitchen, the butler’s pantry features a wall-size glass-fronted hutch and a pocket wet bar. The kitchen itself boasts a nine-burner range, paneled fridge, and bench seating under the window. Upstairs you’ll find each of the bedrooms and a laundry room, plus a renovated attic that includes four rooms and a full bath.
More unique elements include eight fireplaces that are currently inoperable, a working elevator, and light fixtures that are 1890s originals. “These are extremely rare fixtures as they were only made for a short period of time when utilities were changing over from gas to electricity,” Graeter says. “For a period of time, the electricity was not very reliable, so it was common in upper-end homes to have both gas and electric lighting.”
Perhaps the most unique element of the home is in the basement—a Prohibition-era rathskeller. “[It’s] a secret bar where I am sure the Hudepohl family entertained private guests with beer during the 1920s,” Graeter says. “The rustic, hand-carved door is complete with a Wilkommen sign.”
Outside, the wraparound front porch and the renovated and expanded back porch both offer plenty of room for entertaining. While the Graeters have loved raising their children in this home and in the neighborhood—they could walk the kids to school at Seven Hills School’s Doherty Campus, right across the street—but now that their youngest is in college, they feel “it is time for us to pass it on to a new family,” Graeter says.