Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ellenberger Home Then and Now

The Ellenberger family first moved into Warren Township in the 1850s.  By the end of the Civil War, they had made enough money from farming to build a grand Italianate home along East 10th Street.  Their investment proved to be a wise one as the land was fertile for agriculture and later for profit as the demand for housing increased with the expansion of nearby Irvington.  Although they grew crops, the Ellenbergers made much of their income from hogs.  In the early days, the family had to drive the hogs to Cincinnati down the Brookville Road by foot.  Mr. and Mrs. Ellenberger lived out the remainder of their lives in the home.

In this image, taken in the late nineteenth century, family members gathered for a photo on the east side of the farmhouse.  Thelma Murphy, the granddaughter of John Ellenberger, recorded the names of the people in the picture.  Her mother took the photo.  The people are labeled as:

1.  Alice and Columbus Barker
2.  Jack and Ellenberger
3.  John Ellenberger (in chair) and the Wagner Family
4.  Eva and Flora Ellenberger
5. Johan Ellenberger (in chair)
6.  Ellie (Deel) and Charles Shearer
7.  Morehouse Family and "Lizzie"

The extended members of the Ellenberger family gathered for a photo in the late nineteenth century at their farmhouse. (5602 East 10th Street)

The Ellenberger Home on March 25, 2013


By the 1910s, the Italianate style for homes was considered old-fashioned and passé. Descendants of the Ellenbergers must have noticed the interesting Arts and Crafts, Tudor Revival, and Mission Revival homes just to the south of the farm.  After World War One, the family completely remodeled and changed the home to be more contemporary. They removed windows and added some.  They eliminated the Italianate brackets along the roofline.  They removed doors and added others.  They tacked on an enclosed brick porch and a porte-cochère with a new side entrance.  They completely stuccoed the entire house so that any vestige of the farmhouse was gone.  For nearly one hundred years, most eastsiders have only known this version of the home and it has looked like this longer than the Italianate style.  The home still sits on a nice plot of land although developers eventually bought up all of the meadows nearby and built houses and at least one church on several acres near the dwelling.  So would a preservationist restore the home to the vintage 1860s-era or keep the 1910s style?  These are the kinds of questions that one debates in the preservation world.

The information and photo are courtesy of Thelma Murphy via Bob Alloway.

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