Langdon House turned 10 the year Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Built in 1855 for Dr. Wesley P. Elstun, this Victorian Gothic home is named for the family of doctors who owned it for 91 years starting in 1865 (Henry Archer Langdon was the first). A former outbuilding from the property now stands at the Heritage Village Museum in Sharon Woods, but the main house is still intact. It was built in the style of a “Downing Cottage,” popularized by landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing, who designed the White House grounds in Washington. The term cottage doesn’t refer to the size, says the Cincinnati Preservation Association’s Margo Warminski, so much as the style: “one-and-a-half stories, symmetrical facade, center hall, steeply gabled roof, Gothic arch windows, and usually a porch.” The place is now something of a mascot for the historic district in Columbia-Tusculum, which lays claim to the title of Cincinnati’s oldest neighborhood. And at 3,460 square feet, this cottage is hardly small.
Like many aged homes, Langdon House was divided into apartments at some point. When the CPA’s predecessor, the Miami Purchase Association, took ownership of the property in 1968, “it was a wreck,” says Warminski. “We saved it from demolition.” The organization also had it added to the National Register of Historic Places (allegedly the first private residence in the city to receive that designation), and eventually sold the property back to private owners. The CPA maintains a deed covenant on both this structure and a neighboring one, which keeps both buildings “from being torn down or seriously altered,” says Warminski.
After some major sprucing up by its previous owners (kitchen renos, plus a master bath), the home sold this past May. Its asking price, $458,000, was significantly higher than the $8,000 Henry Archer Langdon was said to have paid when he bought it in 1865. Here’s hoping the new owners continue the recent tradition of good stewardship, and that Langdon House sees another 161 years.