The James N. Gamble Residence in better times**
THE JAMES N. GAMBLE RESIDENCE--CINCINNATI, OH
Title of Installation:
James N. Gamble Residence Tiled Fountain/Pool and Tiled Fireplaces
Ceramic tiles clad the first floor fountain/pool, and at least two fireplaces had surrounds made of tiles.
Additional Materials Information:
One of the tile inserts in the pool was found in the 1928 Cambridge-Wheatley Co. Tile Catalog and shows the tile as design 1072 at the bottom of the page. The tile is only 2” x 2”.
"The James N. Gamble House is one of the most historically significant buildings in Cincinnati. It is the property that best represents the life and work of James N. Gamble, civic leader, industrialist, and Mayor of the Village of Westwood. In his work with the family business, the Procter & Gamble Company, Gamble invented Ivory Soap, a groundbreaking consumer product still in production today. The house is a High Victorian Italianate villa with a wealth of intact, detailing, including porches, roof brackets and a mansard-roofed tower." There is a rectangular tiled fountain with pool on the first floor, as well as two tiled fireplaces.
The residence and estate are currently owned by the Greenacres Foundation, which has been in conflict with local environmentalists who wish to preserve the Gamble residence.** "...There was disturbing activity at the property in Westwood in the past week [September 2010]. Beginning Monday neighbors of the historic Werk Road estate reported that work crews were removing parts of home’s non protected interior trim and detailing. Later in the week reports came that the workers were also dismantling protected exterior elements, including window sashes and decorative molding. ...Greenacres Foundation [the current owners of the property] appeared poised to tear down the house in anticipation of a receiving demolition permit. City officials refused to grant the permit. ...Are there still options to protect this property that is owned privately, yet obviously of high public interest? In short, yes. It is important to remember that the house is protected from demolition by the Landmark designation that City Council unanimously passed in May . That law also requires the owner to maintain the house and to prevent weather related damage. Greenacres is ignoring this requirement and continues to let water enter the building in a number of locations."*
Technical Information (Size,mfg., etc.):
It was originally thought the ceramic tiles cladding the fountain pool and the fireplace tiles were manufactured by the Rookwood Pottery of Cincinnati, OH. Now, it is known if these are actually tiles made by the Cambridge-Wheatley Tile Company of Cincinnati.
Year Installed, if different:
Does Installation Still Exist?
On April 1, 2013 the owners of the Gamble House began its demolition.**
If Not, What Happened?
According to the "Save the Historic Gamble Estate" organization (02-16-2011), "you may have seen the wonderful article written by Cliff Radel about how Greenacres with the help from the City of Cincinnati is allowing this beautiful home to fall in around itself. The city of Cincinnati is NOT enforcing their own laws! Greenacres is in VIOLATION with MANY City building codes YET for over a year...one WHOLE YEAR the city is NOT making Greenacres maintain this home. The city laws that Greenacres are in violation of are being enforced every single day on folks like us...but for some reason the laws are not being applied to Greenacres!"****
Location of Installation:
Westwood section; 2918 Werk Road
Additional Information, Websites, Citations:
*http://www.cincinnatipreservation.org/gamble (This link is no longer operative.)
***Photos taken by Angela Strunc for the Cincinnati Preservation Association: http://picasaweb.google.com/CPAcoordinator/AngelaStrunc20100421GambleHouse#
Submitted by and Year:
Michael Padwee (tileback101"at"collector.org); December 2010, November 2013.
From a "Letter to the Editor" at The Cincinnati Enquirer:
"GLAD GREENACRES DOESN'T OWN OTHER LOCAL LANDMARKS
Congratulations to Carter Randolph, lawyer C. Francis Barrett, Greenacres Foundation and all other wealthy, privileged Americans who value private property rights and maximizing the bottom line over all other concerns such as historic significance, community pride, identity and aesthetics.
The well-to-do have won another battle for the all-mighty dollar and their American way and the rest of us have been put in our place and retaught a lesson we didn’t learn from the Albee Theater. Kudos.
Sometime in the future when Greenacres decides to sell the Gamble property to a developer to build more crappy modern housing stock, the rest of us can take solace in the memory of the gem that once sat there and be thankful that Louise and Greenacres never got their hands on the Taft Museum, Union Terminal or Mount Vernon.
Still, I can’t help but wonder what could have been if a well-endowed charity with a heart for the Westwood and greater community had gotten control of this landmark, instead of a super well-endowed Greenacres, who didn’t give a rat’s a**."
Tim -------------, Northside"