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Lane-Hooven House

Lane-Hooven House, 319 North Third Street, Hamilton, was originally built for Clark Lane. The octagon brick structure -- one of the featured buildings in the German Village Historic District -- was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The Lane-Hooven House was built in 1863 by James Elrick, a local carpenter, for Clark Lane (1823-1907), a Hamilton industrialist and philanthropist. Lane, who first came to Hamilton at age 21 as a blacksmith, resided in the house for more than 11 years. Lane was part of the Owens, Lane & Dyer Co. that in 1846 built the iron and stone cells in a new Butler County Jail on Court Street. Lane's varied industrial enterprises included farm machinery, some steam powered.

In 1866, Lane built a library, also originally an octagon, across Third street (300 North Third Street). In 1868, he conveyed the library to the city and it became the basis for the Lane Public Library system in Hamilton, Fairfield and Oxford. In 1875 the Lane house was acquired by John L. Martin (1814-1882), a Vermont native who moved to Ohio in 1837. Martin, a trained engineer, came to Hamilton in 1846 to build flour mills and to supervise lock and dam construction. He was on the State Board of Public Works, 1858-1862, and Internal Revenue Collector, 1862-1866, through appointment by President Abraham Lincoln. In 1867 he became president of the Second National Bank and served until 1870 when he retired to a farm east of the city. Shortly after this his wife died and in 1874 he married Mrs. Mary C. Roosa. In August 1875 he moved back to Hamilton to the house on North Third Street.

Gordon and his wife, Caroline, had a son, Fred, and a daughter, Lillian. They also adopted Frederica Jane Smithson, known as Jenny, who was the orphaned daugher of Alexander Gordon's sister. Lillian and Jenny were raised as sisters. Mrs. Caroline Gordon died in 1894. In 1895 Jenny Gordon married C. Earle Hooven, a grandson of John P. Hooven, who, with his sons, had moved from Xenia to Hamilton in 1877 to begin an agricultural implement business. In 1878 the company became known as the John C. Hooven Co. The business was sold in 1879, and in 1882 Hooven helped organize and incorporate the Hooven, Owens, Rentschler Co. The company was the direct successor to the company originally founded by Clark Lane. The company manufactured portable and Corliss style stationary machines in addition to threshers and sawmills. John C. Hooven had married Jennie Enyeart, a niece of Alexander Gordon, in 1867. They had four children, including C. Earle Hooven. C. Earle Hooven and Jenny Gordon Hooven and their family resided in the house at 319 North Third Street for about 47 years. In 1942 the house passed to their daughter, Mrs. Marian (Rennick) Hallowell of Middletown. The next year, 1943, Bertrand Kahn, who had once lived in the house immediately north, presented the Lane-Hooven House to the community for civic and charitable uses. It was donated as a memorial to his father, Lazard Kahn, a Hamilton industrialist (Estate Stove Co.) and civic leader. In 1951 it was conveyed to the Hamilton Community Foundation, and that organization has restored and maintained the building adapted it as its offices. The Ohio Historic Preservation Office (OHPO) of the Ohio Historical Society says "the 11-room octagonal brick house is Victorian Gothic Revival. It differs from most octagon houses, which are wood and have flat roofs.

Exterior features included a cast-iron fence with stone base; a greenhouse formerly on the south side of the house; and on the front lawn, a fountain -- a first in Hamilton -- that drew water from the Hamilton Hydraulic, two blocks east of the house and adjacent to Lane's shop. The entrance is a Tudor carved wood door framed by stained glass and surrounded by Gothic arched windows. Other highlights," says the OHPO, "are ornamental cast-iron balconies; decorative jigsaw bargeboard on the eaves; a slate roof; and a brick tower topped by a cupola. A circular open stairwell extends to the third-floor turret." (See Lane Public Library and Butler County Children's Home.)

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