Monday, March 9, 2009

Laurel Court & the Homes of the Archbishop

Part I: Laurel Court

A three-part series of the homes of the Archbishops of the Cincinnati – spurred by the purchase of a home in Anderson Township for the incoming Archbishop and my subsequent visit to Laurel Court.

Laurel Court, at 5870 Belmont Avenue in College Hill, was designed by James Gamble Rogers and built for tycoon Peter G. Thompson, owner of Champion Paper. (And avid member of the Cincinnati Athletic Club I mighht add.) Construction began in 1902 and was completed in 1907. The Beaux-Arts style main home was modeled on La Petit Trianon in Versailles, France and sits on the highest point in Hamilton County. French Chateau-style outbuildings contained garages, a game room, and servants quarters.

In 1947 the home and land purchased by Louis Richter and donated to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The home was then used as a residence for Archbishop John McNicholas for a time before his death in 1950 and by Archbishop Karl Alter from 1950 – 1969. It was during this time, 1958, that much of the 30 acres were divided and donated to the Sisters of Mercy to construct McAuley High School and the Mother of Mercy Convent.

In 1977, the Archdiocese sold the property to Buddy LaRosa.

This was a Rookwood tiled swimming pool. All the tile had been covered by a previous owner!
Main Hallway
Music Room
This was the Chapel when the Archbishops lived here.
Dining Room Silver
There is a wonderful, original glass skylight that actually rides on rails and opens the space up completely to weather.
For more on Laurel Court, check out their fantastic website. Tours are given monthly. And I have only shown you a piece of the whole picture!

Next: Part II - ‘Archbishop’s House’, Norwood


CityKin said...

I heard that Buddy Larosa sold the sculptures from Laurel Court and made back the purchase price of the house. Not sure if that is exaggeration, but probably has some truth to it.

Dan said...

What was said during the tour was that when the Thompson family sold the home they did so with all the furnishings including light fixtures, rugs, furniture, statues, etc. This was all worth considerable money. It was donated all to the Church and all that remained in the house through the sale to Buddy. However, when Buddy sold the home they auctioned nearly all the contents first, then sold the home. All that was kept were the light fixtures. So I have no doubt Buddy did ok financially in the end. Nothing in the house is original to the Thompson family but the current Moyer family has tried to use photos to replicate in some way what was there.

VisuaLingual said...

I want to live live an archibishop! I think I went into the wrong field. These photos are amazing!