429 Elm Avenue


General Information

No: 429
Street: Elm
Name: N
Family: Gross
Historic Plaque: N

Owner Info: Y
Built: 1859/60
Sec: 23
Sub: Camden City
Lot: pt or all 671-685
Architect:
Cont/Build:

Description: 2 story Victorian, siding, hip roof - originally a 3 story home with a turret.
Original Use: Residential (2 family at times)
Current Use: Residential

CHANGES As Built: N
Add To: Y
Sub From: Y
Replace: N

Changes Details: 1989 - demolished garage and built garden shed. 1990 - added deck outside kitchen. 1993 - permit for the Lewis family to turn 6 rooms into 4 larger ones (Stock Keffer, contractor). 2000 - changes made outdoors. 2001 - added French doors & 2nd story balcony to rear of house for David Lewis (Mike Kohus, architect, Epic Construction). 2005 permit for Lewis workshop for vehicle restoration - hobby. Stock Keffer, contractor.2006 Lewis permit for a greenhouse (hobby).


Owners:


Current Owner: Jeffrey H. Gross
Curr Date Fr: 2014
Curr Date To:

Original Owner: ???
Date Fr:
Date To: Date To:

Owner 1: Margaret Brown (Eliza & then Sallie?)
Date Fr 1: by 1900
Date To 1: 1920

Owner 2: Paul P. & Minna M. Rover (are these the elderly world travelers? estate?)
Date Fr 2: 1920
Date To 2: 1925

Owner 3: John B. & Ella McGoren(probably didn't live here but still at 600 Stanton Avenue)
Date Fr 3: 1925
Date To 3: 1925

Owner 4: James Barton & John R. Castor
Date Fr 4: 1925
Date To 4: 1929

Owner 5: Charles W. Cornish
Date Fr 5: 1929
Date To 5: 1945

Owner 6: Imogene E. & Frank L. Tingley (1971-4 Kris Circle)
Date Fr 6: 1945
Date To 6: 1948

Owner 7: Anna M. Thomas & Josephine C. & Raymond E. Welch
Date Fr 7: 1948
Date To 7: 1956

Owner 8: Anna Mae Thomas 3/4; Ellis Thomas 1/4
Date Fr 8: 1956
Date To 8: 1960

Owner 9: Berend D. Dave & Constance A. Pannkuk
Date Fr 9: 1960
Date To 9: 1985

Owner 10: David E. & Sarah J. Lewis Tr
Date Fr 10: 1985
Date To 10: 2014

1975 Owner: Pannkuk


Stories

Story 1 : This is the Brown family (see Census) with the 4 sisters (Annie, Maggie, Sallie and Mary) who figure so prominently in the early years of the precursor to the Terrace Park Woman's Club. In fact, it was Annie who started the whole thing. Annie and Maggie were club members but the other two were not. However, they were prominent in serving refreshments when the club met at their home. They were Irish in origin and came from Belfast.
Story 2 : Information from Hazel Roush. This is a copy of the picture of the house on Elm St. in Terrace Park that my uncle, James Barton Castor, owned. I am not sure when he bought that house, but I know he moved from Florida back to Ohio in 1924, and was living in this house in the summer of 1925 when we visited him. That is when this picture was taken. He left there in 1929 and went to Arizona. In 1925, Uncle Barton, his wife and three children were living downstairs. His parents, Mr. & Mrs. John Castor, and his single brother, Rilen Castor, were living, upstairs. It is my understanding that some elderly people, who were world travelers, had owned it and died leaving no close relatives. He may have bought it from their estate. I know the attic was full of antiques, and he said the yard had a tree or shrub from every continent in the world. the only one I remember is a tree from Australia that had fan-shaped leaves. Thanks for giving me the picture tonight.
Story 3 : The Thomas wide by maybe 5 feet deep; and then Pops garden would go from there all the way through to the railroad tracks, which went through all our back yards at the time, and he taught about gardening, he taught me a lot about taking care of my tools, which I still do. All my shovels shine, my splitting maul shines, my rigs are clean and he taught me how to make fishing nets with any type of twine and a wooden needle. Just a lot of things that an old boy that has a few minutes for a kid could teach him. He would make his own hammocks, and he always loved lying in those in the evening sometime. And he was a great conversationalist as well, both he and Mom were. We could sit over on the patio that he made himself in the evening on summer days and talk about politics, of course the kids just sat back and listened, but, Pop would always use a lot of hand gestures and it always amazed me how his hands could be, and arms could be going all over the place and hed be clapping his hands and saying, Yeah, this old boy did this, and this old boy did that And if that old boy had done that he would have been a millionaire, instead he lived, ended up floating down the river. Stories like that, and it was just unique to have that kind of a person around you to help shape what your sense of values were in the long run. Because, even though everyone was middle class at that time, he had an awful lot to offer. They also had a daughter by the name of Joanne, and Joanne ended up having an illegitimate child, [who] now lives in Louisville KY and doing pretty well the last I heard. Shes married and has a couple of children. So, anyway the one unique thing that always got me about Pop and his garden was that Bruce Brown and Liza always had a bet on who would have the first ear of corn, or the first tomato. And it was a real war going on! I think Pop won a couple of times, and I think it was pretty even, I think Bruce won a couple of times too.
Story 4 : Information from Dave Pannkuk: We moved there in September of 1960 with five children and our 'nanny', Gwen Hennon. In December 1961, we were blessed with twin daughters. From the records available, we determined the house had been built in 1859. Later I found a map of the Terrace Park (Camden or Columbia Twp.) area dated 1860. There were 6 or 7 house locations noted, one being 429 Elm. This was before the railroad came through and St. Thomas Church was built so the land owned by 429 Elm extended east to the Little Miami River [RR had come through so perhaps doubtful] and north towards Wooster (Chillicothe) Pike [???]. When Terrace Park was platted for development, the property became smaller. At one point, Bill Petitt, our neighbor who did title searches tried to look up the exact date. Unfortunately, the Hamilton County courthouse fire of 1879 destroyed all the records of that time. Between the time the house was built and we moved in, there were several owners. One owner built the Petit house for their daughter's wedding present. (Check with Peggy Petit) When the railroad came through, the piece of property next to the railroad bridge was built up and over time became a teahouse. Sometime in the 1920's there was a fire at 429 Elm. The house was three stories and according to Red Eveland, son of Harry Eveland, who watched the fire, the third story was burned off. I don't know who reconstructed the house then but Charley Cornish, who lived on Wooster Pike, did the remodeling of the house into a two family duplex. Charley said that during the construction he found a hole on the back of the kitchen which he claimed was caused by an errant shell which exploded from a munitions train during a trip from downtown Cincinnati to Camp Dennison. (Harry Eveland dismissed that as a myth.) We purchased the house in its duplex format from the Thomas's. The structure was sound enough that rooms could be changed to suit personal preferences. Before we moved into the house, we had to have a door framed in from the first to second floor in order to avoid having to go outside. That gave the house two front doors. We did the usual remodeling including stripping all the doors to their old pine. We remodeled a 1920's kitchen in the 1960's and added a bathroom on the 2nd floor. Two bathrooms for nine people just didn't cut it. We didn't touch the stone foundation even though it had a small leak. When we moved in, the back yard and field over to the tracks were in flower and vegetable gardens. We converted the back field into grass. I managed to kill the flower gardens in short order through benign neglect. The yard itself with a patio constructed of river rock was easy to maintain if you didn't get excited about being perfect. We lost a magnificent maple in the middle of the patio in the '70s due to a lightning strike but not before we had any number of elegant parties there - even when it rained. 429 Elm was a comfortable house in which to raise a large family. The 25 years Connie and I and our children lived there were delightful.
Story 5 : Said to have been a hotel at one time (???) and had a fire on the third floor. Evidence of fire was found when the Lewis family did renovations. Also the present roof line is lower than others of that period (note a higher roof in the 1925 photo and also some differences towards the back of the south side). Another source says the house was at one time a one story farmhouse (probably wrong). Both the hotel and the 1 story house ideas may be wrong as there's been no information found to prove it right.
Story 6 : Jayne Herrmann's (615 Myrtle) maiden name was Lloyd and they lived here at least as shown on the 1939 map - see her article in Village Views October 1980.
Story 7 : Mike Grace (probably no relation to the Grace family who lived here in the late 1930s), who grew up next door at 415 Elm Avenue, tells a lot about this home and about Mom and Pop Thomas living here. Mike tells especially about their wonderful gardens (those that Dave Pannkuk also mentions in Story 4). An oral history of Mike done by Susan Frank is available at TPHS (some quoted above).In answer to a question about rental families at 429 Elm, it seems that in fact Mike's Grace family also lived upstairs before they moved next door to 415 Elm.
Story 8 : The owner in 1930 was Charles Cornish. He was a builder. There was a fire in this house but we don't know exactly when - probably in the late 1920s. Charley may have bought this house after the fire to rebuild and remodel it into a 2 family home (see story 3). He then rented downstairs and upstairs.
Story 9 : John Lawrence and Virginia Grace rented the upstairs of this house when their 1st daughter, Eileen, was born in 1937. They were married in 1936. John Lawrence Grace is the son of John F. & Julia (Moran) Grace (see 214 & 202 Harvard).
Story 10 : This home was on the September 21, 2008 Terrace Park Historical Society House Tour.
Story 11 : 429 Elm Avenue (information from 2008 House Tour) Its sometimes very difficult to trace the history of a house. This one is an excellent example. We certainly know from deeds that both Alphonso Taft and his son Peter owned at least some of this land, probably before and during the time the house was built. However, the early deeds that weve been able to find do not show smooth transitions from one owner to another. The house had definitely been built by 1860 since it shows on a map of that date. (Shows on maps in 1860 & 1869.) It may have been built by Jacob Traber since he seems to have been the one who built 415 Elm Avenue for his daughters wedding present. Thus weve not been able to decide who lived here until the Brown sisters and their mother in the 1900 Census. These were the Brown sisters who figured very prominently in the early history of what became the Terrace Park Womans Club. Annie and Maggie were members, Annie having started the whole idea. Sallie and Mary were not, but they definitely took part when it came to serving refreshments when the so caller Reading Circle met at their house. By 1920 the home was sold to Paul P. and Minna M. Rover who may have been the world travelers mentioned by the next owners. We got some interesting information from Hazel Roush, niece of James Barton Castor who bought the house in 1925. Were they living there when there was a fire that destroyed the top floor of the house? (Most likely the Castors lived in the house at the time of the fire.) The home appears to have been rental property at least from 1929 to 1945 and perhaps at other times too. Charles W. Cornish, a local builder living at 725 Wooster Pike, is reputed to have bought the home (1929) after the fire and to have made it into a two family home. One question was answered for David Lewis when the picture of the house in the old scrapbook turned up. He had noticed a lot of support structure in the attic and had no idea why it was there. It was obviously support that was no longer needed for the turret that was not replaced after the fire. This house burned sometime around 1925, and the third storey and the roof were destroyed. The original roof was never restored to its original form. The entire third storey was removed and it became a two-storey house instead. There is still evidence of burned timbers in the attic today. 3) Before and After photos. This house was divided into two dwellings in the 1930s Depression. It had two front and back doors, two cellars, two staircases, two kitchens and two garages. It was reconfigured into a one family home in the late 1980s by the current owners. 4) Drawing. During renovation of a bathroom in 2006, the owners discovered behind a wall closet, an original hand-rendered technical drawing of the profile of the casement window woodwork, that seems to match the profile of the original downstairs window casing. Exquisitely rendered in pencil, it shows the plan for window trim assembly by a local carpenter.
Story 12 : It looks as if Edwin W. & Ophelia Leaf must have rented this house from the Rovers since they seem to have been in the house in the 1920 census.


Directories:

1939 Map:
Grace & Lloyd ( renters)

1942 Map:
Grace & Clauder (renters)

1951/3 Map:
Raymond E. Welsh (429) & Thomas, Ellis (431)

1960 Directory:
Thomas & Ann Ellis 429

1962-84 Directories:
Dave & Connie Pannkuk

1986-2012 Directories:
David & Sarah Lewis