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Rentschler House

Rentschler House, 643 Dayton Street, Hamilton, built in 1882 and enlarged in 1900, "is significant as an example of late 19th century eclectic architecture and for its long association with one of Ohio's foremost industrial families," according to Ohio Historic Preservation Office (OHPO) of the Ohio Historical Society.

"For over 60 years the classically articulated house . . . served as the residence for three generations of Rentschlers." The OHPO web site said "George Adam Rentschler (1846-1923), born in Wurttemburg, Germany, was Hamilton's most successful immigrant industrialist. Following employment with iron founders in Cincinnati and Indianapolis, Rentschler, in 1873, came to Hamilton where he managed a small foundry. By 1876 Rentschler had become a partner in the firm of Sohn & Rentschler, manufacturers of cast iron and specialty castings. During Rentschler' s remarkable 50 year career, Hamilton grew from a small riverside settlement of 12,000 (1880 census) into a manufacturing giant of national importance." The OHPO said "the Rentschlers were instrumental in forging Hamilton's rise to industrial prominence. In 1880 George Rentschler was elected president of the Hooven Owens Rentschler Co., Hamilton's largest manufacturers of Corliss engines and sugar mill equipment. By 1892 Rentschler had incorporated the Hamilton Foundry & Machine Co. and the Phoenix Caster Co. Rentschler's business ventures also included the formation of the Hamilton Ice Delivery Co. and the Royal Pottery Works. As a financier, Rentschler served as director of the Hamilton Dime Savings Bank and treasurer of the Citizens Savings Bank and Trust Co. In 1904 he erected the eight-story Rentschler Building" (southeast corner High and South Second streets), which was Hamilton's tallest office building until 1999.

OHPO said "George Rentschler died in 1923 at the mansion he had built on Dayton Street. The influence of the family continued, however, as four of Rentschler's sons followed their father as "captains of industry." The eldest son, Henry A. Rentschler (1866-1941), became president of the Citizens Savings Bank and Trust Co. and secretary-treasurer of Hamilton Foundry and Machine. Like his father, Henry died at 643 Dayton Street. Gordon Sohn Rentschler (1885-1948), was perhaps the most successful financier in the family. After serving as vice-president of the Hamilton Foundry and director of the Miami Conservancy District, Gordon Rentschler moved to New York City where he was subsequently elected president and chairman of the board of the National City Bank. National City (Citibank) was one of the world's greatest financial institutions, and over 1,000 people attended Rentschler's funeral in 1948. Frederick B. Rentschler (1894-1963), who also lived at 643 Dayton during his early years, was treasurer of the Hamilton-based Republic Motor Car Co. and later served as chairman of the United Aircraft Corporation. George Rentschler's grandson, Peter E. (1897-1976), was the last member of the family to live in the house before it was sold in 1945." For several years, 1946-67, Brothers of Mary priests teaching at Hamilton Catholic High School (a block west on Dayton Street) resided in the house.

"The succeeding generations of the Rentschler family are still active in business, commerce and the arts throughout the nation. The present owner of the house, Dr. Sherry Corbett, has sensitively restored the mansion and stable to their turn-of-the-century splendor," said the OHPO web site. She acquired the property in 1977. Dr. Sherry Myers Corbett, a Miami University professor and moving force behind formation of the Dayton Lane Historic District in the 1970s, was shot to death July 27, 2002. She had restored more than 20 homes in the district. (See Dayton Lane Historic District and Walden Ponds.)

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