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GREAT HOUSE TOUR

Hanna House 2581 Grandin Road Cincinnati, Ohio

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati Board of Trustees President Michael P. Kelley, IIDA, LEED AP Vice President Jay Schuermann Treasurer Nick Rosian Secretary John C. Krug Past President – Ex-Officio David S. Arends, AIA, OAA Trustees J. Wickliffe “Wick” Ach Kyle L. Campbell Robert Grace Jamie Humes Eric Todd Inglert, AIA Gary Meisner, FASLA Mario San Marco Christine Schoonover Mark Schlachter Gary R. Volz, IIDA William E. Woodward, PE Randy G. Merrill, AIA Executive Director Kit H. Anderson Administrative Assistant Krysten Stein

Michael P. Kelley Pamphlet Author

F R O N T A N D R E A R FAC A D E S

Front facade, 1937.

Front facade, 2012.

Rear facade, Architectural Record 1908.

Rear facade, 2012.

HANNA HOUSE
In 1905 – 1906, Mary Hanna who had recently inherited her father’s significant estate, commissioned the Cincinnati architectural firm of Elzner & Anderson to design and oversee construction of her new home in East Walnut Hills. She would occupy the home for the next 50 years. The property of approximate 10 acres (now slightly smaller) is located between the Hill & Hollow Subdivision and the Woods’ Estate and McGuire Estate on Grandin Road. The land is a sloping hillside with a commanding view of the Ohio river below and the city of Cincinnati in the distance. Elzner & Anderson, were the celebrated architects of the recently completed Ingalls Building (1903) the first reinforced concrete skyscraper in the world, at the corner of 4th and Vine Streets. The team was known for their diverse and complimentary design styles, while also incorporating each architect’s personal artistic sensibilities. Both men were trained and accomplished artists. The design of the home is an interpretation of Gothic Revival; with its Bedford stone facades, pointed & arched windows and stone details, turret, battlements and pinnacles, along with steeply pitched roofs. Elzner & Anderson have simplified this rather symmetrical and stern architectural style by minimizing the decorative details, accentuating horizontal lines (bringing your eye to the landscape and not the sky), moving the battlements lower on the roof structure, and incorporating the use of green tile shingles instead of the classic use of slate. Simple but elegant adornments were added to the exterior of the home; the turned copper downspouts soften these normally harsh vertical lines, and the iron, copper and glass suspended canopy with simple Gothic adornments

over the main entry to the home provided a welcoming focal point as you entered the property (canopy is no longer in place). The interior is a further display of the artistic capabilities, innovative design, style simplification and the architect’s expertise with concrete and fire separation. We also see subtle elements of the Arts & Crafts movement. When the estate was first developed, the only other structures on the grounds were the Stable and Caretakers Cottage. The Stable, detailed to compliment the main house, housed horses, dairy cows, estate implements and an attic apartment for the male employees. The design of this three story structure built into the hillside uniquely incorporated reinforced concrete floors, a real innovation in its day. Several years later, a Garage structure and Greenhouse were added on the hillside below the Stable. The Garage is also a three story, reinforced concrete building and was designed with a mechanic’s service pit and overhead automobile washing machine. One of the last documented improvements that the Architects made to the home was an addition to the west façade of the main house to accommodate an electric refrigerator.

Rookwood Images: Hanna Library, Rookwood Faience Mantel, executed in colored mat glazes, special design, one of a kind. Hanna Garden, Rookwood Swan Garden Seat

EXTERIOR DETAILS

Greenhouse..

Stable.

Garage.

INTERIOR DETAILS

BIOGRAPHIES
Mary Hanna, Estate Owner
Mary Hanna was born in Cincinnati on June 10, 1860 and died May 23, 1956 just a few days short of her 96th birthday. Mary was the daughter of Henry Hanna, a leading financier and industrialist and Mary Jane Ellison Hanna. One of nine children born on East Fourth Street, on the property currently occupied by the Residence Inn at the Phelps, Mary lived with her parents in that home for 46 years until the death of her father. Hanna was related through her mother, to the mother of Anna Sinton Taft, who married Charles Phelps Taft, the brother of the President William Howard Taft. Mary Jane Ellison Hanna and Jane Ellison Sinton were first cousins. At the age of 49, Mary no longer had any immediate family and was on her own for the first time. She traveled widely and between 1910 and 1949 Mary and her companion Rebecca Larkin made at least a dozen ocean voyages to England, France, Italy, Spain, the Bahamas, and Hawaii; often traveling with a group of friends. These trips sometimes lasted between three and five months. Mary also owned a summer home near Camden Maine and in her later years purchased a home in Clearwater Florida where she spent the winter. Mary was an avid art patron for half a century, with a special interest in the Cincinnati Art Museum. Over the years she generously donated both works of art and significant financial gifts to the Museum. She also was an active volunteer there as a member of the former ladies auxiliary of the Museum. In 1928, she contributed the funds to design and build the Hanna Wing of CAM, dedicated to the memory of her parents. In 1939, Mary continued her support with the financing of the addition of galleries and a balcony on the second floor. Mary also made a generous annual gift to the Museum for many years. In 1946, she gave her collection of 32 oil paintings to the Museum; including valuable examples of French, English and Dutch schools of painting. Among the art donated were works by Gainsborough, Renoir, Canaletto, Raeburn, Homer, and Degas. At the time these works were valued at over $1,000,000. Mary lived quietly and instructed her attorney John B. Hollister to make her donations known when she was traveling. Her philanthropy was done without publicity or fanfare. In addition to her lifelong support for the Cincinnati Art Museum, Mary also contributed scholarships and funds for special research projects to the University of Cincinnati and other educational institutions. Mary honored her mother‘s charitable giving by supporting her favorite organizations, the Orphan Asylum in Mt. Auburn and the Fresh Air Farm in Terrace Park. Upon her death in 1956, Mary’s estate was valued at approximately $5,400,000 after taxes. (In today’s dollars that would be worth about $52,000,000.) In her will, Mary Hanna made generous gifts to her long-time staff, a few friends and distant relatives, godchildren, Christ Church, the Widows Home, and the Institute of Fine Arts. But by 1956, most of Mary’s close friends and relatives mentioned in her will had already died. The Estate provided remembrances, gifts and life annuities amounting to about $500,000. The remainder of her estate was split equally between the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Art Museum. Mary left her beloved home of 50 years on Grandin Road to her friend and attorney John B. Hollister.
Hanna Wing,Cincinnati Art Museum.

Henry Hanna, Mary’s Father
Henry Hanna was born in Washington, Ohio, December 28, 1812, and died March 27, 1905 at 83. His father, Thomas Hanna, was a pioneer and successful merchant in eastern Ohio. In 1825 he moved to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, to pursue the iron and coal business. Henry graduated from the Washington and Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, and studied law in Pittsburg but decided to pursue a business career in iron and coal, starting first in Hanging Rock, Ohio. In 1841, where he met and married Miss Mary Jane Ellison. In 1846 they moved to Cincinnati and Hanna’s business interests grew significantly as he invested in real estate in some of the most valuable areas of the growing city and made numerous investments in local industries. Hanna was known as a shrewd investor. His statute in the city grew alongside his fortune and he was an active member of the business community. For years he was vice president of the Little Miami Railroad Company and from 1884 until 1890 was president. He was a member of the board of directors of the Cincinnati Street Railway, was a director and President of the Cincinnati Bell Telephone Company, and extensive stockholder in the Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company. He also owned a large share of stock in the Cincinnati & Covington Bridge Company and the Newport Iron & Steel Works, the Addystone Pipe Works and several of the national banks. Tragically, his personal life was marked by tremendous loss. Henry and Mary Hanna had nine children. But only four of which lived to adulthood. The sons died in adulthood all within a period of thirteen months; Charles [42], Thomas [46] & Ellison [52]. At this time in 1895, Henry commissioned the granite Sarcophagus at Spring Grove Cemetery. Hanna gave forty thousand dollars to the University of Cincinnati in 1895 for the erection of the Hanna Hall as a memorial to his deceased sons and later added twenty thousand dollars for the equipment of the building. Henry Hanna’s Estate in 1905 was valued at $3,172,000. In today’s dollars, the estate would be worth $83,500,000. The Estate was divided between Henry’s wife Mary Jane (receiving 1/3) and his daughter Mary (receiving 2/3).
Background: Hanna Hall, University of Cincinnati.

Hanna Sarcophagus, Spring Grove Cemetery.

BIOGRAPHIES
Alfred Oscar “A.O.” Elzner, Architect 1862–1933
Alfred was educated in Cincinnati, including art studies with Frank Duveneck, as well as technical training at the Ohio Mechanics’ Institute and attended M.I.T. He contributed architectural designs to the 1883 Cincinnati Exposition; worked for J.W. McLaughlin in Cincinnati in the early 1880s, possibly introducing the influence of H.H. Richardson for whom Elzner worked in Brookline, Mass., ca. 1885. Elzner set up his own office in Cincinnati early in 1887, proudly citing his recent association with Richardson, although he seems to have soon abandoned Richardsonian influence. This move away from late Victorian styling in 1890’s when Elzner was joined by George M. Anderson, of the prominent local and national family of Larz Anderson. It was apparently Anderson who brought Beaux-Arts methods and styling to the firm. The firm remained Elzner & Anderson even after Anderson’s death, dissolving at the brink of World War II, after Joseph Nardini, Elzner’s designated successor, made some important studies of wartime housing. The firm is perhaps best known for the design of the Ingalls Building, Fourth and Vine streets, recognized as the first reinforced concrete high-rise office building in the world. Elzner’s clients included Cincinnati’s WASP establishment, such as members of the Taft, Emery, Procter and Bullock families and he also served Cincinnati’s German-American elite. Elzner was an active community volunteer as well as artist, designing facilities for the Cincinnati Country Club on Grandin Road, Hyde Park and other such institutions.

George M. Anderson, Architect 1869–1916
George was educated in Cincinnati, the Department of Architecture at Columbia University and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris (in the atelier of Godefroy & Frenyet, 1894-1896)—the first Cincinnatian known to receive a diploma from the Ecole. He also studied under Louis [Comfort] Tiffany, the eminent decorator. Anderson is said to have worked with Hannaford & Sons on return to Cincinnati; but soon became the partner of A.O. Elzner as Elzner & Anderson from 1897 until his death 20 years later. He was a son of Larz Anderson, Jr. (1845-1902) and the artist Emma Mendenhall, and connected to the Longworth family and other prominent Cincinnati families. George M. Anderson was perhaps responsible for the firm’s relatively authentic Colonial Revival work at the turn of century, especially in East Walnut Hills and Hyde Park. Anderson’s brother Robert became a vice-president of the Ferro Concrete Construction Co. (since absorbed by the Turner Construction Co.), which built Elzner & Anderson’s pioneering 1902 reinforced-concrete Ingalls Bldg as well as numerous other important structures in Cincinnati and elsewhere. George Anderson served as president of the Cincinnati Chapter of the AIA, and was active in several important Cincinnati clubs and institutions, such as Spring Grove Cemetery (which has a rare photographic portrait of him, shown above) and the Cincinnati Country Club. Both awarded Elzner & Anderson several commissions. In 1904, he was a delegate to the International Convention of Architects in London. Excerpts from online biographical data, multiple sources.

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The Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati would like to extend a special thank you to:
Brent Coleman – Cincinnati Enquirer Charles W. Gay - Estate Caretaker Amanda Davidson - Enquirer photographer Alexandra Avery – Student Photographer Phil Nuxhall – Spring Grove Cemetery Jason Revalee - Volunteer Conky Greiwe - Summit Country Day School Weini Mehari - Volunteer Coldwell Banker

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