Biographical Dictionary of Cincinnati Architects, 1788-1940
Author: Walter E. Langsam
Contemporary photographs: Alice Weston
Editors: Susannah Sachdeva and Sue Ann Painter
Publisher: Architectural Foundation of
Nardini, Joseph A.
Successor of Elzner & Anderson; according to Elzner's will, his assistant, Nardini, was to receive all the firm's office equipment and plans, as well as to succeed to the business, which survived until ca. 1940.
Obituary (for Elzner), Cincinnati Enquirer (12/7/1933).
Nash, Albert C. (A.C.)
(New York, 1826-1890)
Said to have had experience in New Haven, Conn., Nash began practice in Bridgeport, Conn., 1848; in Southport (1854-1856); moved to Milwaukee, Wisc.; he is said to have worked in N.Y. In 1867, Nash came to Cincinnati to design Cincinnati General Hospital; listed as architect on own 1868-1890; He was a charter member of the Cincinnati Chapter of the AIA in 1870. His son M.R. Nash succeeded to the firm, 1891-1895.
A.C. Nash worked in an emphatically "eclectic" style, beginning with the innovative, multi-pavilioned Second Empire or "modern French style" in the Hospital, located on the west side of the Miami and Erie Canal (now Central Parkway north of Plum St.) above 12th St. The most extreme surviving example of his High Victorian preference for diverse towers, a potpourri of rather vaguely evoked historic/stylistic elements, and nervous surfaces marked by a predilection for alternating voussoirs, is the Campbell Co. Court House, Newport, Ky. (1883-1884), visible from much of downtown Cincinnati. The almost contemporary former Bourbon Co. Court House, Paris, Ky., was transitional between the Second Empire Cincinnati Hospital and the more eclectic Campbell Co. Court House.
According to an 1891 account, A.C. Nash's "specialty was church work, in which he must have made plans for no less than a thousand structures." Those known, several of which survive with truncated towers, were almost invariably eccentric but interestingly massed. Among the earliest was the (2nd) Glendale Presbyterian (1873); also the former Central Christian, Ninth St. west of Plum (1869-1872); the Stick/Shingle Style frame Wyoming Baptist (1882); the Parish Hall of Grace (now St. Michael & All Angels) Episcopal Church, 3626 Reading Rd, Avondale (1880); the Church of the Presentation, Kemper Lane, Walnut Hills (1884); Roman Catholic Church of the Assumption, Gilbert Avenue, Walnut Hills (1885); Price Hill Presbyterian (1888); the Church of the Atonement; one phase of the Church of the Advent; Walnut Hills Baptist and Congregational; and, to supplement this eclectic array of Christian sects, a colorful Jewish Synagogue, formerly NEC Eighth and Mound streets (also attributed to Hannaford), West End.
Nash designed the first Motherhouse (1883) in Delhi Township for the Sisters of Charity; a signed elevation drawing is in the archives there. It survived the great fire that destroyed most of the buildings. (See illustration in Sue Ann Painter Painter and Larry Duba, The History of Delhi Township, 3rd ed., Delhi Historical Society.)
Among Nash's other works are several lodge halls, such as those in Northside (probably erroneously also attributed to Hannaford) and Ludlow, Ky., that remain minus the top stories of their towers. The addition to the fashionable St. Nicholas Hotel (originally the Groesbeck [double] mansion), SEC Fourth and Race streets, was a Richardsonian tribute to Richardson's own Chamber of Commerce building at the opposite (Vine St.) end of the block. Nash also designed the St. Clair Hotel. The Bodman Building (ca. 1891; until recently the Fort Washington Hotel), 619-621 Main St., combines disparate elements on a flat façade. He was the architect of the Carlisle Building, SWC Fourth and Walnut streets, "and of the Carlisle estate generally." Also, various mansions, including the former "Holmes Castle" in Covington, Ky., originally incorporated in Holmes High School and later demolished; railroad depots; and the Latonia Race Track and Jockey Club featured more picturesque skylines. The first Dueber Watch Case Co. building on Washington St. in Newport survives as a shopping mall; the more impressive second factory, for many years a popular clothing outlet, has been demolished to provide a parking lot for the orphaned earlier building.
Withey (1956, 1970), 437;
Leading Manufacturers (1886), 96;
The City of Cincinnati and Its Resources (1891), 141;
Illustrated Cincinnati (1891, 2nd ed.), 28;
additional information and references from Jan E. Cigliano, 1987;
Painter, AIC (2006), 65, 66, 69, 116, 117, 127.
Albert C. Nash
Campbell County Courthouse, 1884
24 West Fourth Street, Newport
Nash’s eclectic designs were distinguished by their varied and interesting rooflines.
Born presumably between 1856 and 1867, when his father A.C. Nash was practicing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. M.R. Nash entered his father's office in 1879 and succeeded to the business at his death in July 1890; apparently he then joined the important, innovative, and artistic architect Lucien F. Plympton in partnership; several commissions are recorded in 1891-1895. In Newport the firm probably designed a Swiss Chalet for one of the judges who commissioned the Campbell County Courthouse from A.C. Nash.
Illustrated Cincinnati (1891, 2nd ed.), 128;
The City of Cincinnati and Its Resources (1891), 141;
(Brno, Bohemia/Czechoslovakia, 1878-1949)
Fine cabinet-maker, who came to the U.S. shortly before the outbreak of World War I. In Cincinnati, worked for Charles Dannenfelser’s Art Joinery, Greiwe's, Inc., and John Coburn, contracting carpenter; with the last he "helped shape the palatial Albers and Leonard Smith residences in Indian Hill ["Alberly Manor," by Bloodgood Tuttle, and "Ambleside," by John Henri Deeken, respectively], the Luedeking residence on Keys Crescent ["Les Tours," also by Tuttle, E. Walnut Hills]."
Obituary, Cincinnati Enquirer (4/3/1949);
Langsam (1997), 121.
Neff, John R.
Listed only 1869-1875. Designed the splendid all-stone St. Paul Episcopal Church, Newport, Ky. (1871) opposite the (former) Campbell County Court House. In 1873 a J.R. Neff, listed as of Chicago, Ill., contributed a "Design for City and County Buildings" to the Cincinnati Exposition.
Painter, AIC (2006), 117.
(near Baltimore, Md., 1821-1919 )
Builder; active for David Sinton and the McMicken Estate; "remodeled or rebuilt nearly all the [fire] engine houses of the city"; as well as constructing large commercial buildings and fine residences.
The City of Cincinnati and Its Resources (1891), 143.
Neutra, Richard [Josef or Joseph]
(Vienna, Austria, 1892-1970)
Designed Michael Bizzarri House, Blue Ash, near Cincinnati, Ohio . Also Dayton (Ohio) Museum of Natural History. Neutra also served on the jury for the 1938 competition for the Covington, Ky., Post Office and Courthouse.
Lee (2000), 256, 271.
R.G. Wilson (1984), 216-17 (by R.G. Wilson);
Van Vynckt, ed., I, 610-12, (by John Winter);
Langsam (1997), 2, 5, 125, 127-28, 132, 142-43, 145, 155, 157.
Niland, David L.
Attended Withrow High School in Cincinnati, Denison College, Granville, Oh., and later the Yale University School of Architecture, after several years in the Army and a Cincinnati advertising firm. While at Yale "during a Golden Age of [late Modern and incipient Post-Modern] architecture," he was exposed to the influence of Louis Kahn, Paul Rudolph, Vincent Scully, (Sir) James Stirling, Buckminster Fuller, and Konrad Waxman; among fellow students were Stanley Tigerman, Charles Gwathmey, Der Scutt, Jacques Robertson, and Robert A.M. Stern.
Jayne Merkel, Architecture in Cincinnati, 2006: “No Cincinnati citizen has had a greater impact on the city’s physical environment in the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and thereafter than David L. Niland. Although his own architectural work is largely confined to private houses, he served on the city’s Urban Design Review Board throughout the period and was its most influential and articulate critic. A professor at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning in charge of the sixth-year architecture program throughout this period, Niland’s influence was so great that students used to call the final year the “David Niland School of Architecture.” The only Cincinnati architect whose work was published internationally, he made important contributions to the art of architecture in the area of handicapped accessibility, an area that became important during this period as a result of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which affects almost every aspect of design. In two important houses, for the Irwin Hanensons in Bond Hill and for the Hugh Hawkins family in Indian Hill, Niland proved that aesthetics not only need not suffer but can actually be advanced in buildings designed for clients who depend on wheelchairs.”
In 2003, the Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati gave him its Apple Award.
Articles by Jayne Merkel, Cincinnati Enquirer (1983);
Cincinnati Enquirer (1/26/1986), E1, 2;
Global Architecture (GA 13);
Merkel, AIC (2006),247;
Langsam (1997), 3, 125, 130-31, 141, 146-47.
(Philadelphia, Pa., 1869-1937)
Internationally recognized landscape architect and planner, Cambridge, Mass. Planner of Mariemont, Oh., for Mrs. Mary Emery and The Mariemont Company/Thomas J. Emery Memorial Association; with Philip W. Foster, associate (1923-1926).
Educated at the University of Pennsylvania, with a Master's degree from Harvard. "During his life he was engaged on more than 400 public planning projects, including 50 cities in 20 different states and as many towns and suburbs." From 1933 until his death he was a consultant with the Department of the Interior in the National Park Service, the National Resources Committee, the housing division of the Public Works Administration, and the Resettlement Administration, all significant New Deal programs.
Obituary, Cincinnati Enquirer ( 2/19/1937);
Painter, Sullebarger, AIC (2006), 137, 178, 208.
Langsam (1997), 4, 94;
Klaus (2002), esp. n. 25, p. 176.
(Edinburgh, Scotland, 1810-1865)
Trained in Edinburgh as a builder (like his stone-quarrier father) and architect, Notman arrived in Philadelphia in 1831, and soon began his long and prolific career as an architect and designer of cemeteries. Among his best-known works are the elegant Italianate (Barryesque) Philadelphia Athenaeum (1845-1847); and "Riverside," the home of Episcopal Bishop George Washington Doane in Burlington, N.J. (1839), the first known Italianate villa in the U.S. (This Bishop Doane is not to be confused with James W. McLaughlin's client on Mt. Auburn, Doane, author of many famous 19th-century hymns.)
He also designed a Chinese-inspired "cottage," several admirable and Ecclesiologically-approved Gothic Revival churches, the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum, near Trenton (1845-1848), a pioneering hospital on the Kirkbride system (also employed by Isaiah Rogers for the Longview Asylum in Carthage, Oh., just outside Cincinnati), and additions to the New Jersey State Capitol in Trenton and to Nassau Hall at Princeton University, as well as other structures at Princeton.
Several of Notman's designs were popularized through publication in A.J. Downing's pattern-books and other sources. According to Greiff, Notman was "one of America's most innovative architects in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Although not stylistically an innovator, he was an importer of sophisticated design ideas from Britain, translating them skillfully for his American clientele. He was quick to utilize the technological developments that transformed the art of building in the nineteenth century, and he was alert to the availability of new materials and new techniques" (p. 14-15). Notman designed one of the first American "rural cemeteries," Laurel Hill, in Philadelphia (1835), which brought him several other commissions for similar cemeteries.
Notman was a founding member of the American Institute of Architects in 1857 and of the Pennsylvania Institute of Architects, 1861 (later the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA).
Notman seems to have had several Cincinnati connections, perhaps through the Western Horticultural Society, which was supported by his known clients in Cincinnati. Notman provided the original plan for Spring Grove Cemetery, 1845, but it was rejected as too artificially complex and because of "the excessive cost of the many roads and walks." Greiff also suggests that "Probably Notman did not visit the site, but sent a design from Philadelphia, for his plan did not suit the terrain." Howard Daniels of Cincinnati and Dayton supplied the alternate layout, later significantly revised by Adolph Strauch, who became superintendent of the cemetery in 1855.
Although other Cincinnati commissions are not included in Greiff's catalogue, Notman did design the powerful Peter and Isabella Neff sarcophagus in Spring Grove, according to a labeled lithograph in a 19th century report; it is said to have been the first monument erected in the cemetery. Maxwell also indicates that he was the architect of the A.D. Bullock house "of the Italian style" formerly on Oak St., Mt. Auburn (1868; the site of the present Vernon Manor Hotel). Its grounds were improved by "Messrs. Strauch and Nerney, well-known landscape gardeners of Cincinnati."
Withey (1956, 1970), 445;
Tatman and Moss (1985), 577-79;
Van Vynckt, ed. (1993), I, 616-17, (by Nancy J. Volkman);
Langsam (1997), 84;
Greiff (1979), esp. 28, 82, 142;
Stewart Shillito Maxwell, Jr.