Cincinnatians know that Eden Park is among the best historic parks that the City offers its residents. As an aside, the park is a wonderful place to walk your dog—one reason why I happen to live just steps away from its entrance in Walnut Hills (remember, it’s all about location in real estate!).
The park was named for the Garden of Eden by Nicholas Longworth, who owned most of the land in the mid-19th century. In 1859, the City began land acquisition in order to construct a new water reservoir and, today, the park covers 186 acres. Landscape architect Adolph Strauch, who also designed Spring Grove Cemetery, prepared the initial landscape plan. Here are just a few of the historic delights to be found (building and structure-oriented, naturally, due to my own bias):
Cincinnati Art Museum – Dedicated in 1886, this limestone-faced Romanesque Revival building was designed by James W. McLaughlin, who also designed the three-story Art Academy Building finished the next year. The Museum had several wings added in the 20th century and a $17.9 million over-haul of the Art Academyis scheduled to be completed in Spring 2013.
Springhouse Gazebo -The oldest of Cincinnati Parks’ structures, this gazebo was designed by Cornelius M. Foster, in 1904 and replaced a spring house. Its brightly painted scalloped arches, tile roof and ball finial give the gazebo a fanciful air, reminiscent of Moorish architecture.
Mirror Lake/Reservoir Ruins – Although the old reservoir is long gone, its remnants are still visible just south of Mirror Lake.
The lake features a fountain that shoots a 60-foot geyser into the air and provides a popular circuit for walkers and runners.
Krohn Conservatory – Greenhouses have been part of the Eden Park landscape since the 1880s. The “new” building we see today was designed in the Art Deco style and built of aluminum and glass. The Eden Park Conservatory opened to the general public on March 26, 1933, and was named for Irwin M. Krohn in honor of his 25 years of service on the Board of Park Commissioners.
Eden Park Station – This 7,000 square-foot, 118-year-old structure was designed by Samuel Hannaford and features a red brick facade and decoration.
Adjacent to the former reservoir, the pump station ceased operations in 1908. In 1939, the building was repurposed as a central radio communications center for the city, which lasted until the mid-1980s. Later used for storage, the old pump station could soon become a brewery. A local father-son team, consisting of Jack and Bryon Martin of Cincinnati Beer Company, have put together a plan to purchase and transform the building into a microbrewery, complete with a taproom and beer garden. While still waiting for City Council to sign off on the project, for Cincinnati, with its rich brewing history, wouldn’t that be one step closer to the Garden of Eden?