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
John Hall Rankin | C.W. and George L. Rapp | George W. Rapp | Walter L. Rapp | Wallace A. Rayfield | Edward G. Reed | Hubert E. Reeves | Arthur Jacob Reichert | George E. Rendigs | Renwick, Aspinwall & Russell | Max Reutti | H.H. Richardson | Theodore A. Richter, Jr. | Anton Rieg | J. Philip Rinn | Adam Ritter | Henry John Ritterholz, Jr. | W. Stanton Robinson | Rodgers & Rhine | John A. Roebling | Isaiah Rogers | Solomon Willard Rogers | James Gamble Rogers | Willard G. Rogers | Herman Ronsheim | John Wellborn Root | William S. Rosecrans | Emery Roth | George F. Roth, Jr. | Ray Roush | Emil G. Rueckert | F.E. and Oscar Ruffini | Michael Rumbaugh | BIBLIOGRAPHY
Rankin, John Hall
(Lock Haven, Pa., 1868-1952)
Rankin, Kellogg & Crane won the competition for the present Hamilton Co. Court House, east side Main St. opposite Court St. (1913; 1915-1918). Rankin & Kellogg had designed the somewhat similar U.S. Court House and Post Office, Indianapolis, Ind. (ca. 1900), as well as numerous other large-scale commissions, often won after competition. Rankin, Kellogg & Crane designed the U.S. Department of Agriculture Building in the Federal Triangle in Washington, D.C.
Rankin was senior partner in one of Philadelphia's most successful, basically Beaux-Arts architectural firms, although Rankin himself did not attend the Ecole. He was trained at M.I.T. (1889), and then worked in Philadelphia for James J. [H.] Windrim and Wilson [not J.K.] Bros. & Co. In 1891 he moved to New York City to work for Boring & Tilton, but returned that same year to work for Frank Miles Day. By the end of 1891 he had joined fellow M.I.T. graduate Thomas Kellogg, and in 1903 the firm was expanded to include another M.I.T. graduate, Edward A. Crane (who had worked in the office of the Supervising Architect of the Treasury; see Lee, Architects to the Nation ). Rankin outlived his partners, and aside from the firm's long list of diversified work, was active in local and national architectural and city-planning issues and organizations, and was recognized as an authority on architectural competitions.
Tatman and Moss(1985), 643-47;
Painter, AIC (2006), 163.
Rankin, Kellogg & Crane
Hamilton County Courthouse, 1915-1919
Main Street and Central Parkway
The Courthouse occupies a prominent site on Central Parkway. Although the interior has been extensively remodeled over the years, the lobby and library have been beautifully restored.
Rapp, C.W. (Cornelius War)
Rapp, George W. Leslie
(Carbondale, Ill., 1878-1942)
Prominent Chicago designers (listed in New York City 1928-1936, after the death of C.W. Rapp) of more than 400 theaters, most during the 1920s, Rapp & Rapp designed the Cincinnati Keith Theater Building and the Palace Theater, on the north side of Sixth St. east of Vine St.: Cincinnati's last downtown movie house when it was demolished ca. 1984. They also designed the Cleveland Keith's Theater and Office Building.
George W.L. Rapp and his elder brother C.W. Rapp were sons of an architect. George W.L. Rapp was educated at the University of Illinois at his birthplace and also studied architecture abroad. He gained experience designing theaters with Edmund Krause in Chicago. According to Withey, "soon after the turn of the century came the sudden expansion of the old 'Nickelodeum' in store buildings to modern Moving Picture Houses, and in 1906 the Rapp brothers began work in that field of architecture." They were responsible for the design of many of the most splendid (and innovative) "movie palaces," in America, as well as much other varied work. [Not to be confused with Cincinnati architect George Washington Rapp.]
Withey (1956, 1970), 497;
NYCOPAR (1900-1940), 63;
Macmillan Encyclopedia, III (1982), 532 (by Richard W. Longstreth and Steven Levin);
Dennis Kiel, UC M.A. thesis on Cincinnati movie houses.
Rapp, George W.
(Cincinnati, ca. 1852-1918)
(Not to be confused with George W.L. Rapp of Chicago, 1878-1942.) Trained in the office of James W. McLaughlin, "the Nestor of Ohio architects," Rapp is listed on his own 1873-1900; as Rapp & Son, 1901-1902; as Rapp, (John) Zettel & Rapp 1903-1912; and, curiously, on his own again 1915-1917. His son, Walter L. Rapp, practiced in various combinations after 1900; Rapp & (Standish) Meacham practiced 1931-1958. John H. Boll took over the office while G.W. Rapp was on an extended European trip in 1888-1889; in 1892 he formed a short-lived partnership with William M. Aiken; in 1893 they competed together for the Phoenix Club design (won by Hannaford).
George W. Rapp was active in civic affairs, serving as the City's progressive Building Commissioner from 1913 until his death, establishing a separate housing department, high construction safety standards, and equitable handling of improvement efforts. He was also active in the architectural and building professions, particularly the AIA, at the local, state, and national levels.
Rapp and his firm's works were numerous; they specialized in large-scale industrial and commercial projects, particularly breweries; their clients included the Gerke, C. Moerlein, Herancourt, W. Stichtenoth, Windisch-Muhlhauser, and Gambrinus Stock Co. (many of them later clients of E.F. Glaser) breweries. Rapp designed the delightful Highland House at the top of the Mt. Adams Incline Plane (1878); the German Protestant Orphan Asylum and the Cincinnati Branch Hospital; as well as extensive improvements to the factory community of Addyston, west of Cincinnati (1888).
A curiosity was the building for the Order of Cincinnatus covered in corrugated iron (1884); an 1882 store building featured an iron front open "as far as possible."
Rapp, Zettel & Rapp were also prolific. Their work included the German National Bank Building, SEC Main and Court streets (1903); alterations to Heuck's famous (or notorious) opera house on Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine; several buildings for the Cincinnati Milling Machine Co. in Oakley (1907); a factory for the Rudolph Wurlitzer Mfg Co., Tonawanda, N.Y. (1909); and mansions and other projects for prominent families such as the Tafts and LeBlonds.
Walter L. Rapp and eventually his partner Meacham specialized in even grander estates, especially in Indian Hill, for the Pogue, Geier, Harrison, and other families, for whom the elder Rapp may well have designed factories or commercial buildings.
Among those who worked in the Rapp offices were Oscar Ruffini (ca. 1858-1967) in 1875-1877.
Roe (1895), 179, 174-75;
Obituary, Western Architect, XXVII (1918), 16;
many references in Inland Architect and AA&BN;
Painter, AIC (2006), 69, 91, 158.
Rapp, Walter L.
The last member of an important Cincinnati architectural dynasty, Walter Rapp was graduated from M.I.T. in 1900; he was listed with Rapp & Son after 1901; with Rapp, Zettel & Rapp 1903-1912; Zettel & Rapp 1913-1930; Rapp & (Standish) Meacham 1931-1958. (Standish Meacham was Rapp’s son-in-law.)
According to his obituaries, which help penetrate firm names and indicate design responsibility, “Among Mr. Rapp’s architectural commissions were the Krohn Conservatory (Eden Park), Proctor [sic] Memorial Wing of Children’s Hospital (Mt. Auburn), Jenny Porter High School, Hillsdale and Lotspeich Schools, Lincoln National Bank (NWC Fourth and Vine streets), and buildings of the Fifth Third Union Co., R.K. LeBlond Machine Tool Co. (Hyde Park/Norwood), Cincinnati Milling Machine Co. (now Cincinnati Milacron, Oakley) and Trailmobile Co. His firm also was associated with five other architects in the design of Laurel Homes and the Lincoln Court housing projects (West End, now Ezzard Charles Drive; partially demolished after 2000).”
Rapp & Meacham were best known, however, for their residential work, to which they were almost entirely devoted, according to the interesting (if snobbish) biography of W.L. Rapp by his daughter, Mrs. Standish (Eleanor) Meacham. Among their larger Indian Hill estates were those of Frederick V. Geier and Dr. William T. and Louise Taft Semple, called “Mt. Olympus“ (demolished ca. 2007); in Tusculum, the R.K. LeBlond mansion provides a further example of continuing client-architect relationships. In their industrial/commercial, residential, and even institutional work for given clients the Rapp family firms suggest some parallel with Detroit architect Albert Kahn (who worked with them on the original design for the Cincinnati Milling machine complex in Oakley).
Obituaries, Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati Post (3/6/1974);
Meacham and Meacham (1982);
Painter, AIC (2006), 179.
Rayfield, Wallace A.
A “colored architect of Birmingham, Ala.,” “Mr. Rayfield” designed the Antioch Baptist Church, 956 W. Ninth St. (1924-1925), West End, according to Dabney. One of the few identified African-American architects to work in the Cincinnati area before World War II, Rayfield was in fact one of the first and most noted of African-American architects. Best known for his design of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham (built in 1911 by the Windham Brothers Construction Co.), which was the site of early civil rights protests in the area of the tragic bombing in 1963 that killed four young black schoolgirls and wounded others (the damaged front of the church was later rebuilt). Rayfield designed DELETE of structures for prominent institutions and members of the Birmingham African-American community, and probably elsewhere, as this Cincinnati commission indicates.
Dabney (1926), 299;
http://www.soulofamerica.com/cityfldr/birm 1 .html;
See Cleveland and national sources.
Reeves, Hubert E.
New York City architect (listed 1917-1930) who designed the extensive and exquisite Resthaven Demonstration Farm (until recently  a maintenance facility for the planned community of Mariemont), as well as the Resthaven Gardens, near Mariemont, Oh. (ca. 1924).
NYCOPAR (1900-1940), 63;
Reichert, Arthur Jacob
(Cincinnati, born in 1911)
Educated at Withrow High School and UC, B.S. Architecture, 1935; in "L'Atelier," 1931-1935; worked for Garriott & Becker, 1935-1936; Harry M. Price, 1936-1938 and after 1947; Century Machine Co., 1938-1946.
Rendigs, George E.
(Cincinnati, born in 1881)
Like his partner Panzer, educated in Cincinnati as a civil engineer, with experience in construction (the L. Schreiber & Sons C., metal-works) and the city before establishing partnership with Panzer & (George E.) Martin in 1920. The firm survived with many transmutations, and may survive.
Memoirs of the Miami Valley (1920);
Painter, Sullebarger, AIC (2006), 112, 211.
Renwick, Aspinwall & Russell
This prominent firm—consisting of James Renwick, Jr., James L. Aspinwall, and William Hamilton Russell—designed a residence for George Bullock on Vernon Place, near Oak St. and Reading Rd, Avondale (then known as Vernonville; on the site of the present Vernon Manor Hotel), ca. 1895. Renwick, Aspinwall & Owen exhibited the C.W. Wetmore house in Oyster Bay, L.I., N.Y., at the 3rd CAIA/CAM (1903).
Withey (1956, 1970), 23-24, 533;
Painter, AIC (2006), 83;
Langsam (1997), 3, 32, 38, 39.
(Lahr, Baden, Germany, 1856-1896)
Prolific Hamilton, Oh., architect. Educated at Karlsruhe; moved to the U.S. in 1880: Indianapolis, then Hamilton, 1883; major works the former Hamilton Central High School and First National Bank, and buildings for the Niles Tool Works. He was also a publisher active in promoting German-American relations.
Illustrated Cincinnati (1891), 2nd ed., 232;
Obituary, Inland Architect, XXVIII, 5 (12/1896), 52.
Richardson, H.H. (Henry Hobson)
(near New Orleans, La., 1838-1886).
James O’Gorman wrote an article for the Victorian Society in America’s publication, 19th Century, on Richardson’s experiences in Cincinnati with the Chamber of Commerce Building SWC Fourth and Vine streets (1885-1889); and opened his book on Richardson with an exemplary account of the Chamber of Commerce Building and its context.
Among Richardson's finer residential works was the General Nicholas L. Anderson House, Washington, D.C.; General Anderson was the uncle of George M. Anderson, the later (1896-1916) partner of A.O. Elzner.
Apparently an 1870 design by Richardson for a Church and Parsonage in Columbus, Oh. (published, interestingly, in the British periodical The Architect) has never been identified. According to turn-of-the-century sources, Richardson submitted a design for the Butler Co. Court House in Hamilton, Oh. (ca. 1885), but was rejected in favor of David W. Gibbs of Toledo, Oh., to the indignation of the local architect. According to Goeldner, Richardson was asked to submit a design along with six others, but a second round reduced the competitors to E.E. Myers and Gibbs.
Richarson Monument, 1972
University of Cincinnati students used eighty-four tons of the pink granite salvaged from Richardson's Chamber of Commerce building to construct a monument in his honor in Burnet Woods opposite the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.
Withey (1956, 1970), 508-510;
NYCOPAR (1840-1900), 64;
Wodehouse (1976), I, 162-70;
Macmillan Encyclopedia,III (1982), 558-75 (by William H. Pierson, Jr.);
Van Vynckt, ed. (1993), I, 729-32 (by Robert M. Craig);
Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, in Master Builders (1985), 78-83;
Richardson the Architect (1914);
Painter, Sullebarger, AIC (2006), 31, 90, 112, 114, 115, 117, 120, 136, 155, 235;
Langsam (1997), 4, 19, 31-32, 62-63, 65-66, 73-74, 76, 80, 89, 106, 108, 113;
J. William Rudd, "The Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Building," JSAH, XXVII (5/1968), 115-23.
Richter, Theodore (Theo) A., Jr.
(Cincinnati, born in 1853)
According to a German-language 1891 publication, Richter's parents came to Cincinnati in 1849 from Pforzheim in Germany; he studied and worked for six years in the early 1870s with James W. McLaughlin, one of Cincinnati's leading architects during the second half of the 19th century; then worked for Edwin Anderson (the early partner of Samuel Hannaford, McLaughlin's chief rival), the lesser known George Humphries, and George W. Rapp, an important local architect, until 1883, when he opened his own practice.
While in McLaughlin's office, he worked on designs for the Cincinnati Public Library, the Bellevue House (on top of an inclined plane), the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the Johnston Building on Fountain Square (where both McLaughlin and Richter had their offices)—all major contributions to the Cincinnati scene in their day.
Richter was secretary of the Cincinnati Chapter of the AIA, and was the best zither-player in the area. Listed in city directories 1881-1893; with George Wessling, Jr., 1894-1898; on own again 1906-1932. William Stanton Robinson left Richter's firm to set up his own practice in 1887.
The numerous buildings by Richter identified from the mid-1880s are nearly all residential, widely scattered around the city and its suburbs, on both sides of the Ohio River, include both German- and Anglo-American clients, and have a wide range in cost. A number were located in the Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati (now listed as a huge district in the National Register of Historic Places and partially as a local historic district); settled largely by German-Americans during the second half of the 19th century, it is located north and east of the former Miami & Erie Canal (the "Rhine”), just north of downtown Cincinnati. Among the OTR buildings are the Kirby Building on Vine St. (1883); the Doerr Building, also on Vine St. (1885); and the Henry Timmerman and John Pohlmann Store and Flat Buildings. Other works are the Church of the Holy Family, SEC Price and Hawthorne avenues in Price Hill (1884).
Many residential commissions seem to have been in Clifton, a fashionable neighborhood, formerly an elite village that was annexed to the City of Cincinnati in 1896. A fine example, although with later alterations by S.E. Desjardins & A.W. Hayward, is the G.A. Willey house, 3453 Whitfield Avenue, Clifton, a fairly elaborate brick Queen Anne dwelling with Flemish gables, for which beautifully rendered original drawings survive. Other turn-of-the-century houses are listed in the expanding middle-class neighborhoods of Price Hill (apparently including one for Henry Ratterman, a major figure in the Cincinnati and national German-American world) and Norwood; and farther away in Nicholasville, Ky., and Amherst, Nova Scotia.
In 1882 Richter's design for an elaborate three-story frame Queen Anne/Stick Style house won Second Prize in Carpentry & Building's 6th competition, and was fully documented through a description, perspective, elevation plan, roof plan, section, and detail drawings; a perspective was also published locally. Interestingly, "In point of construction the designer had in mind sheathing the entire exterior on the studs, over which he would lay a thick layer of asbestos felt."
Richter contributed architectural design(s) to the 1883 Cincinnati Exposition.
Another German Catholic "vernacular" architect; Rieg & (Joseph L.) Marty, 1889-1908; Rieg alone 1909-1933. His known work was residential, except for a Roman Catholic church and convent in Delhi, Oh., for $40,000 (1893); a Roman Catholic Church in Bridgetown, near Westwood, "Gothic" with a stone steeple 150' high (1910); and, as Rieg & Marty, the Corryville/North Cincinnati Turnvereinhalle, “Old” SEC Vine and Daniels streets, Corryville (1893).
Rinn, J. [John] Philip [Philipp]
Described as participating in the decoration of James K. Wilson’s “Scarlet Oaks,” the George K. Shoenberger House in Clifton (1866-1870), in one of Shoenberger’s obituaries, “J.P. Rinn of Boston” was indeed listed there as an architect 1874-1905.
According to Jackson & Gilder (paraphrased here), Rinn immigrated to America with his parents in 1856 at the age of 16. In 1873, Rinn was apparently practicing, probably in Cincinnati, with Charles Crapsey [who was trained by James K. Wilson and practiced in Cincinnati as the latter’s successor; later as Crapsey & (William R.) Brown]. Together they prepared competition plans for the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Rinn, based in Boston, designed Tufts University’s Goddard Chapel (1883) and other academic buildings in the area, including the Barnum Museum and the east wing of Metcalf Hall at Tufts, a building for the Lowell [Mass.] Textile School (now part of Lowell University), and the Salem State Normal School (now Salem State College). In 1889 he completed the Bennington Monument, a 306-foot-high stone obelisk on the Vermont-New York border.
A testimony to Rinn’s inventiveness as a designer of decorative interior elements is the dramatic, almost weird, mixed-material fireplace (described and illustrated by Jackson & Gilder, p. 41, 42) that he designed for the 1890 ballroom addition to “Windyside,” the Greenleaf family summer “cottage” at Lenox, Mass., originally designed by Carl Fehmer, also of Boston.
Research on “Scarlet Oaks” by Thomas Huenefeld (1999);
Mass. COPAR (1984), 56;
Jackson and Gilder (2006) 41, 284.
(Butler Co., Oh., 1871)
Educated in Cincinnati, trained at Ohio Mechanics' Institute; worked in offices of S. Hannaford & Sons, Boll & Taylor, and George W. Rapp, assisting with the plans of the Hannafords' City Hall, University of Cincinnati competition design, and Rapp's Bodmann Tobacco Warehouse.
Practiced on own 1901-1902; later with Cincinnati Southern Railway, supervising "the building of all structures for the railroad including round-houses, freight depots, passenger stations and the like." Also an inventor of railroad conveniences.
Robinson, W. (William) Stanton
Left the office of T.A. Richter, Jr., to set up his own office in 1887; practiced on own 1887-1893; then with George E. Sweeney (who had also been on his own 1887-1889); then Robinson alone 1902-1917. Apparently also had a Covington, Ky., office with Lyman Walker in 1910. Robinson's known work is mostly mid-range residences on the outskirts of the city of Cincinnati; also in Charleston, W.Va.
Rodgers & Rhine
Practiced 1909-1911; designed several house in Clifton and Avondale, including the Isadore [sic] Rosenberg house on Hearne Avenue, described as "one of the finest residences in Avondale"; also a $10,000 "moving picture and vaudeville theater" of fireproof construction at Knowlton's Corner, Northside, for the Empire Theater Co.; the flamboyant facade may still stand.
Roebling, John A. (Augustus)
(Muehlhausen, Thuringia, Germany, 1806-1869)
As early as 1815, Dr. Daniel Drake proposed a bridge across the Ohio; several strange proposals were approved by the Kentucky General Assembly, including Roebling's first tripartite span in 1846. Work did not actually start on the present suspension (now named for John A. Roebling) until 1856, thanks largely then to the efforts of "coal baron" Amos Shinkle of Covington (whose fine townhouse of 1853-1854, with original frescoes and plasterwork is now used as a "bed and breakfast" at 215 Garrard; his post-War "Castle," designed by William Stewart, was replaced by the front wing of the Booth Salvation Army Hospital, now the Governors' Point Condominiums).
The Covington-Cincinnati Suspension Bridge was first crossed by the public in December 1866 and officially completed in 1867; it remained in the hands of a private stock company controlled by the Shinkles until the 1950s, with toll-houses, the last of which survives on the Covington side. In 1896 an additional set of cables, with heavy walkways and staircases, was added to accommodate the street railway; the silver domes for the upper cables may soon be removed and copies of the original octagonal "gazebos" replaced. None of these accretions seriously affects the impact of the powerful single Roman arch in each pier, perhaps as impressive as, if less aspirational than the paired Gothic arches of our bridge's successor, the Brooklyn Bridge.
Wodehouse (1976), 171-72;
Van Vynckt, ed. (1993), I, 741-42 (by George M. Cohen);
Painter, AIC (2006), 39, 60, 70, 71, 72;
Langsam (1997), 13, 20;
See also an article by Joseph Gastright in The Northern Kentucky Review on A. Hillebrand, who altered the bridge in the mid-1890s.
John A. Roebling
John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, 1866
Covington and Cincinnati Bridge over Ohio River
From Cincinnati, south on Race Street
When it opened on December 1, 1866, the so-called Covington-Cincinnati Bridge was the longest suspension span of any bridge in the world: its main span was 1,057 feet.
(Marshfield, Mass., 1800-1869)
Because of the work of Denys Peter Myers, discoverer and transcriber of Rogers' surviving daily journal, he should "need no introduction"; a Macmillan Encyclopedia article by Myers brings us up-to-date on Rogers' career, and several illustrated lectures in 1991 enlarged our understanding of his work in the Ohio River Valley.
In summary, Rogers, one of the leading architects of the East Coast and "inventor of the modern hotel" with the 1828 Tremont House in Boston, was called to Cincinnati in 1848 to design and supervise the construction of the Burnet House Hotel on the NWC of Third and Vine streets, then one of the main intersections of downtown Cincinnati. Even before "the best hotel in the world" opened in 1850, Rogers had undertaken many other commissions in Cincinnati, as well as journeyed down the Ohio River by steamboat to consider other projects in Louisville (where he set up a branch partnership with the talented Henry Whitestone), Memphis, Mobile, N. Orleans, and elsewhere.
Mary N. Woods, in her brilliant study of “The Practice of Architecture in Nineteenth-Century America,” stated “Every major architect in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, D.C., traveled far afield to find work before the Civil War. There were simply not enough opportunities in these large cities to sustain professional practice. Ithiel Town, Alexander Jackson Davis, Thomas U. Walter, Richard Upjohn, William Strickland, Samuel Sloan, John Notman, Isaiah Rogers, and Robert Mills all accepted commissions in the South and Midwest. The southeastern states, where traditionally architects were few and clients wealthy, provided many opportunities. Having a prominent architect like Strickland, Davis, Walter, or Upjohn became a point of pride for many southern clients and building committees during the antebellum period.” [The last two sentences apply more to Kentucky, perhaps, where Davis designed “Loudoun“ near Lexington and Stirewalt (cited by Woods earlier on the the same page). He ended up in Louisville, where in turn he hired James Dakin to design the Bank of Louisville, etc. [Note that William Bayliss, Dakin, and Stirewalt had all worked in the office of A.J. Davis.]
Cincinnati clients had hired the equally important Anglo-American John Haviland from Philadelphia and possibly Upjohn for individual residences but Rogers was probably the first already established, recognized major Eastern architect to move West at the height of his career (Woods, From Craft to Profession (Berkeley: Univ. of Cal. Press, 1999), p. 95).
Except for a few years in Washington, D.C., during the Civil War as Supervising Architect of the Treasury (a position in which he was supplanted by his Cincinnati protege A.B. Mullett), Rogers practiced in and out of Cincinnati to the end of his life; his son Solomon Willard Rogers joined and succeeded him, practicing until 1891, when his own son Willard G. Rogers is listed. Henry Whitestone, of Anglo-Irish birth and training, joined Rogers in the early 1850s, serving as his draftsman, and eventually as his partner in charge of the Louisville office; perhaps a certain refinement of "finish" in their joint work is attributable to Whitestone. On the other hand, A.B. Mullett, who received his training in Rogers' Cincinnati office ca. 1855-1860, may have been partially responsible for the technological advances employed in the design for Longview Asylum, 1859-1860, when Isaiah Rogers was also superintending the construction and somewhat modifying the controversial and much-altered design for the Ohio State Capitol (1858-1860).
Among the major works of Isaiah Rogers in Cincinnati were the Longview Asylum in nearby Carthage, Oh. (1859-1860); a proposal for the Hamilton Co. Court House (1851; built according to the design of Walter & Wilson); the executed Hamilton Co. Jail (1859-1861), behind the Court House on Sycamore St. north of Court St.; St. John (later St. Paul) Episcopal Church (Pro-Cathedral), formerly at SEC Seventh and Plum streets in the "church district" (1849-1852); and the 2nd Pike Opera House (after 1866); these were in a variety of monumental styles, from austere late Grecian to rich Italianate and even Tudor Gothic. The last included the former Tyler Davidson Dry Goods Store, commissioned by Davidson's brother-in-law Henry Probasco, to whom Rogers also submitted a residential design (the actual Norman Revival mansion was designed by William Tinsley).
Several Rogers houses remain standing in the Cincinnati area, including the subtle Boston-double-bay-style Hatch House, 830 Dayton St., West End; the recently rediscovered Castellated Tudor Reuben Resor House atop Cornell Place in Clifton; "Hillforest," distiller and banker Thomas Gaff's "steamboat" Italianate frame mansion above Aurora, Ind.; and the Peter Thomson (I) house, later the Morrison house and the Y.M.C.A. (for whom it was Victorianized ca. 1880 and later Colonialized on the exterior), Richmond, Ind. Rogers also competed for the design of Henry Probasco's Clifton residence, "Oakwood" (along with A.J. Davis of New York, and [John R.] Hamilton & [James W.] McLaughlin; William Tinsley won the commission).
Isaiah Rogers seems to have had an ambiguous relationship with several other Cincinnati architects. There are references in his journal (January, 1856) to his making plans for a Shillito store on Fourth St. next to the Presbyterian Church; this was presumably the commission that the young James W. McLaughlin received, at least partly because his father William McLaughlin had been Shillito's first partner in the dry-goods business (the McLaughlin store building still exists at W. Fourth St., until recently as part of McAlpin's Department Store, for whom McLaughlin remodeled it in 1892). At the time in 1866-1867 that Rogers was designing and supervising reconstruction of Pike's Opera House on Fourth St., which had burned in 1866, he was also in contact with entrepreneur Truman Bishop Handy on a project to build a rival opera house; it was McLaughlin's version of this project, intended for the west side of Vine St. south of Sixth St., that was converted into the considerably different design for the Cincinnati Public Library by McLaughlin, about 1870.
James K. Wilson and William Walter also exchanged jobs and roles with Rogers. William Walter worked on the Ohio State House with and after his father Henry Walter's death; Rogers helped complete the State House. Rogers originally designed the mid-1850s Hamilton County Court House (on the present site on the east side of Main opposite Court St.), but there seems to have been much controversy over the project, and the work was completed (but without the proposed dome), by Walter & Wilson. Rogers investigated the Civil War camp at Camp Dennison in eastern Hamilton Co., apparently designed by Wilson. Yet at the end of his life, in 1867, Rogers discussed Wilson's employing his son Willard, and the journal indicates that he did so.
As the journals are further explored, more Rogers buildings are coming to light, in documentation or reality; and the career of his son and grandson are almost totally unknown so far. It is known, however, that S.W. Rogers was a charter member of the Cincinnati Chapter of the AIA, and a few commissions in 1889-1890 include the 9-story Washington Fire Insurance Co. Building.
Withey (1956, 1970), 521-22;
NYCOPAR (1840-1900), 65;
Wodehouse (1976), I, 172-73;
Painter, AIC (2006), 33, 34, 53, 95, 153;
Langsam (1997), 2-3, 13, 28, 31-32, 40, 42, 71, 76;
Directory of Boston Architects 1846-1970 (1985), 57;
Macmillan Encyclopedia, III (1982), 599-602 (by Denys Peter Myers);
Van Vynckt, ed. (1993), I, 7442-44 (by Pamela Scott);
Denys Peter Myers, “Isaiah Rogers in Cincinnati: Architect for the Burnet House,” Bulletin of the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio (Cincinnati), IX, 2 (4/1951), 121-32;
Denys Peter Myers, "The Recently Discovered Diaries," Columbia Library Columns, XVI (11/1966), 25-31;
Abbott Lowell Cummings, "The Ohio State Capitol Competition," JSAH, XII (5/1957), 15-18;
Lee (2000), esp. Chap. III, 66-72;
Nuxhall, SGC, 14, Lot 94.
Rogers, Solomon Willard
Son of Isaiah Rogers. Listed in the 1889 Official Guide (R.L’H. Wing, pub.), 103. Father of Willard G. Rogers (Atlanta, Ga., 1863-1947), who practiced with his father, and for a short time after the latter's death.
Painter, AIC (2006), 69;
Nuxhall, SGC, 14, Lot 94.
Rogers, James Gamble
(Bryan Station, Ky., 1867-1947)
Rogers (unrelated, as far as I know, to Isaiah) was born near Lexington, Ky., and raised partly in Louisville (where his brother John A. Rogers was born in 1870). James G. Rogers was educated in New York City and at Yale University (1889); he then worked in the Chicago office of William LeBaron Jenney (who had Cincinnati family connections), before attending the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1894-1898 [about the same time as George M. Anderson], as a student of Blondel), where he received various awards and honors. Returning to the U.S. in 1897, he had a spectacular career in Chicago (1897-1904), Boston (with Herbert D. Hale, 1905-1907), and N.Y. (with a series of secondary partners and on his own).
Rogers' varied and extensive work, building on his Beaux-Arts training, included many of the major public and institutional projects of the first half of the 20th century, largely in the classical or Collegiate Gothic styles, but with some concessions to changing tastes and technological innovations, if not to Modernism. His works include many important university complexes for Yale, Columbia, and Northwestern, as well as campus planning for the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Ky.; government buildings, hospitals, libraries, and commercial, in addition to residences.
In Cincinnati, Rogers' firm designed for Peter G. Thomson, the Champion Paper magnate, and his wife Laura (Gamble) Thomson, "Laurel Court," in College Hill (1902-1905), a lavish but dour $300,000 granite version of the Grand Trianon. Described as "palatial" by Montgomery Schuyler in 1908, the house, with its central courtyard under a (still) moveable roof, served as the home of the Archbishop of Cincinnati, then sold to Buddy LaRosa, and others. The stable/coachhouse courtyard at the rear resembles a Normandy inn, and has some of the charm the house lacks.
With Herbert D. Hale, Rogers also designed a $250,000 apartment building on Belmont Ave, College Hill (1907), possibly also for the Thomson family. An unidentified brick house with Flemish gables in Cincinnati by Rogers was published in 1908. Rogers' firm also competed unsuccessfully for the design of the Hamilton Co. Court House (ca. 1918; won by Rankin, Kellogg & Crane of Philadelphia).
Rogers designed the Harrison house on Weebetook Lane opposite the Cincinnati Country Club in Hyde Park (replaced by a smaller and far less distinguished version, incorporating some of the original, much larger-scaled woodwork); the Charles F. Hofer House (later Hutton and Hild) east of the CCC; possibly another Harrison house nearby on Grandin Rd; and provided a design for Mrs. E.P. Harrison nearby ca. 1908 [drawings formerly owned by Jody Howison; unclear whether the Rogers project was erected; present residence by Elzner & Anderson].
Withey (1956, 1970), 522-23;
NYCOPAR (1900-1940), 65;
Macmillan Encyclopedia, III (1982), 602 (by James G. Rogers III);
Hewitt (1990), 281;
Langsam (1997), 2, 7, 92, 110, 125.
Nuxhall, SGC, 14, Lot 94.
UC B.S. Archictecture, 1927; worked for Matthews & Denison, 1927-1937; Tucker & Silling, Charleston, W.Va., 1938; F.W. Garber, 1939-1942; Samuel Hannaford & Sons, 1945.
Root, John Wellborn
(Lumpkin, near Atlanta, Ga., 1850-1891)
One of the most creative and influential of Chicago architects, in spite of his short life, which cut off his career just as he was about to work with his partner since 1872/73, Daniel H. Burnham, in the overall conception and design responsibility for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893. Although Burnham and his later partner Ernest R. Graham played a significant role in the modernization of the buildings for major Cincinnati financial, commercial, and cultural institutions just after the turn of the century, Root was probably the major designer of at least three Cincinnati projects. He was probably responsible for the elegant design of Burnham & Root's 1885 competition project for the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Building; among the known competition projects this is the one closest in massing and interpretation of the program to the winning design by H.H. Richardson, although with Late Gothic rather than Richardson's typical Romanesque-inspired style (SWC Fourth and Vine streets; burnt and demolished in 1911). Root also referred his designs to two residences that almost miraculously remain in East Walnut Hills (particularly considering the probable survival rate of Burnham & Root residences in the Chicago area). Both are subtle variations of the Richardsonian Romanesque. In "Maxwellton," the fine residence for attorney and U.S. Solicitor-General Lawrence Maxwell (on Edgecliff Place), Root unusually combined on the exterior rock-faced "blue" limestone surfaces with pale yellow Milwaukee brick trim (some of it recently replaced with crude red brick). The formerly adjacent, somewhat larger, reddish sandstone house of C. Bentley Matthews, also an attorney (also on Edgecliff Place; often known as the later home of lumber-dealer Thomas P. Egan) has more Sullivanian characteristics. (It seems likely that Burnham's firm designed the Music Room addition to the Maxwell House ca. 1906-1907.)
Root, the son of a Southern planter, had a colorful early life, safely running a Union blockade and reaching England, where he was educated near Liverpool and qualified for Oxford University. Before entering Oxford, however, he returned to the U.S. in 1868. He enrolled in New York University, from which he was graduated in 1869 with a degree in civil engineering, supposedly in order to prepare for the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris; but, instead, he served as an apprentice in the office of James Renwick, Jr. (with whom Cincinnati architect James K. Wilson had worked for a short while 20 years earlier), and then worked for Brooklyn architect James Snook, during the design and construction of the (old) New York Grand Central Station.
Root moved to Chicago soon after the Great Fire of 1871 with New York architect Peter B. Wight, working as chief draftsman for the firm of Carter, Drake & Wight. There Root met Burnham, and soon began the partnership that was to last until his death. Burnham was the organizer and administrator of the firm, while Root was known for his creativity and freedom from restraints of historic styles. With Adler & Sullivan, and like them evolving from the powerful influence of Richardson's later works in Chicago and elsewhere, Burnham & Root significantly contributed to the developing "Chicago School" of commercial architecture.
Among their best-known high-rise office buildings are the Montauk, Rookery, Reliance, and Monadnock Buildings in Chicago. Cultural institutions included the (old) Chicago Art Institute, Masonic Temple, and Woman's Temple. Their 188os Calumet Club seems to have been the close model for Hannafords' Phoenix Club in Cincinnati (1893-1895). Root's imaginative design skills may well be shown in the firm's Chamber of Commerce proposal, and in the Maxwell house, a subtle variant on Richardson's later residences, with buff brick providing an unusual ornamental contrast to the rough stone walls.
Withey (1956, 1970), 525-26;
Macmillan Encyclopedia, III (1982), 605-607 (by J.A. Chewning);
Van Vynckt, ed. (1993), I, 747-49 (by Leland M. Roth);
Monroe (1896, 1966);
Langsam (1997), 4, 62-63, 76;
Painter, AIC (2006), 97, 109, 150.
Fess (1937), 196-97;
Painter, AIC (2006), 127;
Albert Castel, “Victorious Loser: William S. Rosecrans,” Timeline, XIX, 4 (Ohio Historical Society, 8/2002), 32-41, 56.
(Galszecs, Hungary [now in Slovakia], 1871- August 20, 1948 in NY)
American architect of Hungarian birth. He emigrated to Chicago when he was 13 and soon entered the office of Burnham & Root. There he did work for the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893), which brought him to the attention of Richard Morris Hunt, whose office in New York he joined in 1895. He developed his planning and interior design skills working for Ogden Codman, Jr. before establishing his own office in 1898. His first real opportunity came in 1903 when he was employed by Leo and Alexander Bing (then New York’s leading property developers). The major influence on him was not the Chicago style of Burnham & Root, but rather the classicism of the Columbian Exposition, as well as the Aesthetic Movement and architecture associated with Arts and Crafts. A certain stylization in some of his buildings suggests the Art Nouveau idiom helped to produce Art Deco.
Roth designed the Georgian Apartments—one of his few or only commissions outside the New York area—on SWC Madison Rd. and Dana Ave., Evanston.
Roth, George F., Jr.
(Covington, Ky., 1905-1989)
Dean of Cincinnati-area architects when he died. Attended the University of Cincinnati 1933-1937; with Potter, Tyler & Martin, before he became a partner in 1952; later taught at DAAP. Remodeled J.W. McLaughlin's 1878 Shillito's Store, applying a "Mayan" stone veneer except on the south side, which retains the original facade. Son of a Covington architectural ironworks manufacturer, he gained acquaintance with architects of the older generations in his youth. Largely responsible through the Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati, of which he was a founder, for persuading architectural firms to deposit their drawings in the Cincinnati Historical Society. CAIA (1931). President of the CAIA, 1940-1941.
Obituary, Cincinnati Enquirer;
Sullebarger, AIC (2006), 213.
Long-time partner of Carl Strauss, in one of Cincinnati's most sensitive Modernist mid- to-late-20th-century firms. Roush continued to practice on his own since leaving the partnership of Carl A. Strauss & Associates about 1984. Recent works have included a house for Dr. & Dr. Dwivedi on Grandin Terrace, Hyde Park [drastically altered by Jose Garcia for Thomas Shiff ca. 2002], adjacent to Strauss & Roush's Stone House I, and an addition to the home in Brown Co., Oh., of art dealer Carl Solway.
Langsam (1997), 5, 126, 129, 144, 150-151, 155;
Sullebarger, Merkel, AIC (2006), 212, 276, 277.
Rueckert, Emil G. (E.G.)
(Cincinnati, 6/11/1861-after 1911)
Educated in the Cincinnati public schools, including Woodward High School, Rueckert was trained in the office of George W. Rapp, 1877-1884; on own, 1884-1911. Jacob J. Rueckert (1870-after 1939), probably a younger brother, was listed at the same address, 1891-1906; then on his own 1907-1939.
E.G. Rueckert was the City's Inspector of Buildings (1891).
The commissions of both Rueckerts varied in type, scale, and location, including N. Ky., but were oriented toward the German-American community. E.G. Rueckert's works include the St. Paul Roman Catholic Church School and Hall (now part of the St. Paul commercial complex), at Pendleton and Abigail streets (1887); factories for the Ahrens Manufacturing Co. and the Jung Brewery; a new Market House and large warehouses for the Butchers' Hide Association (1893).
J.J. Rueckert's works on his own included brewery-related buildings for Christian Moerlein (1906), John Hauck (1910), and Windisch-Muhlhauser (1910); but surely were given an auspicious start by Mrs. Louis L. (Emilie Hauck) Heine's $100,000 residence at Oak and Vernon streets, Avondale (1906; now the administrative offices of the Mayfield Neurological Institute); and probably the renovation/colonialization of the Greek Revival Wilson House opposite on Oak Street for Mrs. Heine's brother Louis J. Hauck, slightly later; the building is now the offices of the UC Foundation.
Centennial Review (1888), 71-72;
Langsam (1997), 3, 36, 56, 69, 84;
The City of Cincinnati and Its Resources (1891), 154-55;
Burgheim (1891), 501.
Ruffini, F.E. (Frederick Ernst)
(1851-1885); and Oscar Ruffini (1858-1957)
Texas architect brothers who worked in Ohio and Indiana in the late 19th century, having served their early apprenticeships in Cleveland. F.E. Ruffini was listed as an architect in the 1870 Cincinnati directory. According to the San Angelo (Texas) Standard (9/15/1888), Oscar Ruffini worked for G.W. Rapp in Cincinnati 1875-1877 (although not listed on his own). Oscar is believed to have studied in France 1878-1880, worked 1882-1883 in St. Louis, and then joined Frederick in Austin in 1883, opening his own practice in 1884, followed by a long career in West Texas.
Clark, “List of Architects from Cincinnati Directories” (CHS, unpublished);
McMichael (1983), 13-14, 101-102;
Susan J. Dickey, Texas Tech University (letter to Bruce Goetzman, 3/28/1992);
(Wood Co., Oh., born in 1845)
On own in Cincinnati 1871-1884; then partner of D.S. Schureman, probably at least until 1891; Rumbaugh also had an office in Covington in the late 1880s. Their works include an extraordinary proposal for the "City Buildings for Cincinnati" that defines the term "provincial," with four Ogival towers. Rumbaugh designed relatively tall office and commercial buildings in Cincinnati, including one for Harry Hulbert and the 8-story pseudo-Richardsonian Perin Building, also with an unusual amount of glass per surface, and rather oddly the location of several other architectural firms at the turn of the century; the "Victorian Romanesque" Metropolitan Block (long known as the Stippich Hardware Store and was renovated in 1992 as the Metropolitan Place) in Lima, Oh. (1889-1890); also a hotel and a bank and office building for A.C. Campbell and a Methodist Church (South) for Ashland, Ky. (all in 1891), suggesting an ample business, although perhaps leaving the juicier residential commissions for the same clients to his WASP rivals.