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-1800s. 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 park’s landscape plan. Here are just a few of the historic delights to be found (building and structure-oriented, naturally, due to my own bias):
Dedicated in 1886, this limestone-faced Romanesque Revival building was designed by James W. McLaughlin. McLaughlin also designed the three-story Art Academy Building finished in 1887. The Museum added several wings during the 20th century and a $17.9 million over-haul of the Art Academy is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2013.
2) 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.
3) 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.
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.
5) 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?