Monday, August 20, 2012

Statewide organization names Gamble House 'endangered' for third year in a row

Westwood's James N. Gamble House has made Preservation Ohio's 2012 Most Endangered Historic Sites list for the third year in a row.

The house, located at 2918 Werk Road, is one of 12 sites the organization believes are facing a precarious future due to proposed demolition, disinvestment, or indifference. Sites remain on the list until the imminent danger of loss is lessened.

The annual list is meant to raise public attention and focus on the preservation of Ohio's architectural, cultural, and natural heritage.

"My initial reaction is mixed – happy that such a well-respected organization as Preservation Ohio continues to acknowledge the importance of the structure, but sad that its owners continue to neglect it," says Bob Prokop of local advocacy group Save the Historic Gamble Estate Now.

A local historic landmark, the 1870s High Victorian house is named for the first mayor of the Village of Westwood, better known to Cincinnatians as a local philanthropist and the inventor of Ivory Soap.

In late February 2011, Cincinnati's Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted to uphold a Historic Conservation Board decision denying a certificate of appropriateness that would allow Indian Hill-based owner Greenacres Foundation to raze the house and turn the surrounding 22-acre grounds into an outdoor, agrarian youth education center. The demolition permit application was allowed to expire that same month, and the house has been left to deteriorate.

On September 11, a hearing of merit on Greenacres' appeal of the Board of Building Appeals' denial of a demolition permit is scheduled to be heard by the Hamilton County Court of Appeals in Courtroom A.

Also making this year's list is the Gunning House in Reynoldsburg, the Sheet & Tube Company Homes in Campbell, Memorial Hall in Ironton, Stanley Block in Cleveland, the Warner & Swasey Observatory in East Cleveland, the Zoar Historic District, the Knox County Infirmary near Mt. Vernon, Midland City Depot, Unionville Tavern in Madison, Rock Bridge in Ontario, and the Shawen Acres Cottages in Dayton.

An additional local site, the Greenhills Historic District, was dropped from this year's list after appearing on it for the previous three years.

Photo courtesy of the Westwood Historical Society.

Previous reading on BC:
Nominations for endangered Ohio sites due June 8 (5/30/12)
Gamble House wins latest round (3/1/11)
Fight over Gamble House now in courts, Council (1/31/11)
Greenacres rejects CPA plan for Gamble House (8/16/10)
Ohio's 'Most Endangered' nominations open through April 9 (3/29/10)