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Hunting Lodge Farm

The Hunting Lodge Farm, 5349 Bonham Road, northeast of Oxford, also was known as The Gothic and Glen Ellen. It was added to National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Following are excerpts from the web site of the Ohio Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio Historical Society: The Gothic. "built in 1833, is significant for its distinctive architectural elements of English Gothic Revival. The house is probably the only one in Oxford Township designed specifically as a hunting lodge. It was converted about 1840 into a residential home. The house is distinguished by a steep roof pierced with pointed gabled dormers and by four lancet windows in the gable ends. The dormers have triangular panes, while the lancet windows have diamond-shaped panes. The interior and exterior of the house, which are in good condition, retain much of their original picturesque character and feeling. Architecturally, the design of the house and its unique features are a product of the ideas and imaginations of the first two owners, Henry Orne and Isaac Gere."

The OHPO report continues: "Their exposure to the architectural styles of England and Massachusetts, their former places of residence, may have influenced the original design of the house and the later additions. The eclectic Gothic Revival style is atypical of Southwestern Ohio and only a few examples are found in Oxford and Oxford Township." "The three main owners . . . held prominent positions in the Oxford community. The lodge was built by Henry Orne, a wealthy Englishman and attorney practicing law in Cincinnati. Orne purchased the land in 1832 and used the 106 acres as a game preserve, mainly for wild turkey hunting. Orne owned the property which he called The Hunting Lodge Farm with John Brown. In 1839, Orne sold the property to Isaac Gere, a broadcloth manufacturer from Deerfield, Mass. The following year, Gere added a frame kitchen, bedroom, laundry room, two gable ends and porch (on the southwest elevation), and a New England picket fence to the originally six room house. Before Gere's death in 1872, an undivided one-seventh of the land plus the house was given to his daughter, Ellen G. Bonham. "Lazarus Noble Bonham renamed the house Glen Ellen in honor of his wife. Bonham was born in 1830 in Hamilton County, Ohio, and was raised on a farm. He graduated from Miami University in 1855. Bonham was one of the first members of Alpha Delta Phi, the first Greek letter fraternity west of the Alleghenies. A plaque with his name was located on the Mansion House in Oxford. The plaque states that beginning in 1840, the Miami University chapter occupied quarters and held meetings in the Mansion House. From 1856-57, Bonham was a professor of Greek and Latin languages at National Normal University in Lebanon, Ohio. He then taught high school in Dayton from 1857-59. In 1859, he established Bonham's Female Seminary in St. Louis. He was principal of the school and taught Latin and moral science until it closed in 1871-72. (Ulysses S. Grant's daughter, Nellie, attended the school). Bonham moved to Oxford in the summer of 1872 and took charge of the farm and house. "With his combined scientific and practical knowledge, Bonham successfully employed advanced methods of farming and stock breeding. He was the first farmer to introduce the cornplanter and riding plow to the Oxford community and the first to breed pedigreed sheep and swine. From 1880-91, Bonham was the agricultural editor of the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette and the editor of the Poland-China Record. As a farm journalist, he wrote many articles including, "The Horse, Its History and Breeding" in The Live Stock Encyclopedia and "Live Stock for One Hundred Years" in American Commerce. Bonham was also a correspondent to the Ohio Farmer and the National Stockman and Farmer. From 1884-95, he was the secretary of the Ohio State Board of Agriculture. From 1872-88, he was a member of the board of trustees at Miami University. In the Columbian Exposition of 1893, Bonham served as the chairman of the Committee on Agricultural Exhibits. Around 1885, Bonham was a member of the Commission for building Butler County Courthouse in Hamilton. In Oxford, he held an official position in the Presbyterian Church. An excellent educator, farmer and journalist, Bonham was identified with many of the important developments of the Oxford community. "Llewellyn Bonham inherited the property after his father's death in 1918. Llewellyn was a civil engineer and did much experimental work in mechanics. He invented a traffic recorder,  a device for recording railroad passenger traffic. After it was patented in 1914, the device was used by several leading railroads of the country. It recorded the number of passengers carried between any two stations, the total passenger mileage of each trip, the number of cash and ticket passengers, and a summary total of all financial and mileage statistics of each trip. Llewellyn married Frances S. McFarland, daughter of R. W. McFarland, the president of Miami University from 1885-88. W. Wylie Spencer, professor and chairman of the philosophy department at Miami University from 1930-56, bought the property from Llewellyn in 1938. In 1966, Spencer sold the property to Mr. and Mrs. George Abell, both graduates of Miami University."


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