Friday, October 31, 2008

Raise the Rutherford!

Part V – Hayes in Cincinnati

The Taft Museum?

A continuing, slightly humorous series to raise awareness of Rutherford B. Hayes and erect a statue of him in Cincinnati.

Well, the final post for Rutherford B. Hayes Month and the final post in the "Hayes in Cincinnati" series were going to be about the Taft Museum. I read a post in Hayes’s letters and diary at the Hayes Presidential Center about Hayes going to the home of Joseph Longworth.

CINCINNATI, October 15, 1860.
DEAR UNCLE:--Glad to know that you will not object to my traps in your chamber. I shall move up my books, etc., this week. Mother has returned home from Delaware after a good visit with Mrs. Wasson. Stem told me of your visit to Green Spring. We have had jolly good times rejoicing over the elections. Lucy and the boys had the best of it. On Saturday I dined out at Joseph Longworth's. He has a few paintings--only ten or a dozen,--but they are superb, some of them equal, no doubt, to any in the world. He told me to bring you to see them without fail. He likes to show and talk about them.

However I realized, as do you probably, that the Taft Museum was Nicholas Longworth’s estate and not his son Joseph’s. In 1860 Nicholas Longworth, the patriarch of the Longworth family, is still alive. He possibly is still living at 316 Pike Street although I can find nothing that says definitively. Nicholas dies in 1863. It is possible that maybe the home has passed in to the hands of Nicholas’s only son Joseph by this time. I do not know. I do not know if Joseph ever lived there as his own home at all. We do know that it was Joseph that built an estate on Grandin Road called "Rookwood" that his daughter Maria would eventually name her company after. I do not know when that home was built nor when precisely he lived in it. The land had been in the Longworth family for generations. I believe at least initially Joseph had a "city" home as well but I do not where that was either. Was it the Taft Museum building? We know when Joseph dies in 1883, he dies at Rookwood and was even buried there for a time. My guess is that when Hayes says "dined out at Joseph Longworth’s", he is referencing "Rookwood" out on Grandin Road but I am only speculating and making an educated guess.

I believe the Rookwood home is gone. (Anyone confirm?) Portions of the estate were sold and developed as a subdivision with Rookwood street names. The gates were brought to the Rookwood Pottery building in Mt. Adams. And some land is now part of the Cincinnati County Club I believe.

All that said, I am certain Hayes gazed upon the home of Nicholas Longworth. Built c. 1820, it is one place he would still recognized today to a large extent. Heck, his friend John Herron lived across the street.

The Baum Longworth Sinton Taft Home. (And that is a mouthful.)



Historic images from Library's Cincinnati Memory Project.

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