If there's one thing sets Cincinnati apart from many cities, it's a well-stocked array of historic structures. The Cincinnati Preservation Association raises awareness of the value of irreplaceable structures and ensuring that they're not relegated to the ash heap of history.
Pinecroft, Powel Crosley Jr.'s estate, was open for tours yesterday, Sat., May 12, as part of the CPA's annual "Upstairs/Downstairs" Historic House Tour. Located on 17 wooded acres in Mt. Airy, the 1928-era, 13,500-square-foot Pinecroft is a lasting legacy to Powel Crosley, the entrepreneur and inventor who developed the Roamio car radio, the Reado fax machine and the Shelvador, the first refrigerator with shelves in the door. Retro Crosley radios and phonographs are still made today, and our Crosley automobiles and trucks need no further comment here. Powel's ownership of the Reds and WLW led to his building a coast-to-coast media colossus, the most powerful station in the world between 1934 and 1939.
Naturally, a man of such accomplishments would want a home befitting his legacy. Pinecroft was designed by Dwight James Baum, a New York architect who worked primarily in New York and Sarasota. Baum was fresh from designing Ca' de'Zan in Sarasota for Mabel and John Ringling. Baum found in Crosley a willing client. Pinecroft was originally a 280-acre estate with a nine-hole golf course, stables, Olympic-sized swimming pool, polo field, vineyards and airstrip. Now at a modest 17 acres, a tour reveals hidden doors, stained glass, Rookwood tiles, zinc kitchen sinks and several mammoth safes, one of which hides a booze cellar.
When Powel Crosley died in 1961, Pinecroft came under the ownership of neighboring Mercy Hospital. As Mercy looked to transition to a new hospital near the highway, they sought to leave Pinecroft. In the fall of 2011, Mercy transferred ownership of Pinecroft to the CPA, which looked to generate revenue from the Crosley estate in order to fund maintenance and upgrades, and found a willing partner in Funky's Catering, which installed new commercial kitchens in Crosley's former garage and built a permanent tent with a wooden floor on the site of the former tennis court. Fresh paint and refinished floors have given new life to Pinecroft.
(Contact Pinecroft to book events.)
CCOC membership today: 462.