Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Laurel Court & the Homes of the Archbishop

Part II: ‘Archbishop's House’, Norwood

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.

Prior to the Archbishop living in Laurel Court, this grand building located at 5440 Moeller Avenue in Norwood was constructed specifically for the Archbishop’s residence. Henry Moeller became Archbishop in 1903 and he had a grand vision to build a “new cathedral, archbishops’ residence and seminary” complex. In 1907, 16 acres of land in Norwood were donated to the Archdiocese and construction on the residence started in 1908. Completed in 1911, the architect was the firm of Samuel Hannaford & Sons.

Archbishop Moeller died in 1925 and was succeeded by Archbishop McNicholas and he lived in the residence from 1925 until 1947 when he moves to Laurel Court. Then, in the same year, the Teacher’s College relocates to the facility. The Teacher’s College would close in the early 1950’s. The building presumably then becomes part of the adjacent Mt. St. Mary’s of the West Seminary complex completed in 1923 as part of Archbishop Moeller's vision.

In 1981 the seminary moves to Mt. Washington and eventually the entire seminary complex is used by the Marianists as a retreat center, Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center. Currently the former Archbishop’s residence is divided in to apartments for the Center.

I am curious about where the Archbishop may have lived prior to 1911. A post in the Catholic Telegraph Photography Project indicates that it may have been in the rectory of St. Peter-in-Chains. That would make some sense. I have seen accounts that Father Stephan T. Badin for instance lived there in retirement from 1850 until his death in 1853.

Next: Part III: St. Louis Church, Downtown

Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center
The Catholic Telegraph Photography Project
The Athenaeum of Ohio - Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary
Historic image from Library's Cincinnati Memory Project.

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