In 1846, George S. Stearns and Seth Foster founded Stearns & Foster here in Cincinnati. They were the first to produce cotton wadding—the layer of material in between fabrics, also known as “batting”—and later expanded their business into mattresses and other cotton products. The original Lockland factory is now demolished, but the historic mansion of the three-generation family exists in preserved condition. A relative of George Stearns, Edwin built the home on nearly four acres in Wyoming and later took over the company Stearns & Foster. He occupied the home up until his death in 1914. His son Evan Stearns moved in, followed by Evan Stearns Jr., who lived there all his life until 1984.
The foursquare mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as exemplary turn-of-the-century architecture by renowned Cincinnati architects Alfred Oscar (A.O.) Elzner and George M. Anderson. Several time-period elements speak to the historic nature of the home. “The west wing of the home is where the horse and carriages would pull in for meat and milk deliveries,” says listing agent Kristine Green. Green adds that the home has two-foot walls made of limestone and rebar with a terra-cotta roof, Tiffany glass shades, silver sconces, crystal and alabaster chandeliers, and three Rookwood fireplaces. There’s also a three-story pipe organ that is currently inoperable, but in original condition, complete with porcelain knobs that are labeled with instruments and an oak cabinet that holds sheet music in the parlor.
Aside from a plethora of history, the home boasts 10 bedrooms, four full and three half-baths. The entry to the home is a covered porch that also hangs over the driveway. Inside, the sprawling floor plan features crafted woodwork in oak and mahogany including wood floors, 11-foot coffered ceilings, and a grand staircase. The dining room and kitchen are connected by a butler’s pantry with glass cabinets that display fine dishes and glassware. A seemingly no-frills kitchen includes more custom woodwork and stainless appliances with a massive fridge disguised by wood panels. The first floor also features an outdoor space that overlooks the surrounding woods. “The veranda has three doors opening into the house,” says current owner Kay Landers. “It’s great for having a large or a small number of guests due to the openness of the floor plan.”
Other spaces and elements to note include the lower-level Rathskeller with loads of entertaining space, seven pocket doors throughout, and a total of 10 fireplaces. The town surrounding the Oliver Road home includes a bakery, several restaurants, a florist shop, dentist, architect, and meat market. “The Wyoming neighborhood truly is a neighborhood,” Landers says. “People have yards, children play outside, and the arts and culture thrive with the small town feel that many movies promote. Not to mention that Cincinnati with sports, theater, shopping, and a buzzing nightlife is only a few minutes away.”