Inside a Queen Anne-Style East Walnut Hills Home Owned by the Graeter’s Ice Cream Family
This beautiful Queen Anne-style home located in East Walnut Hills has been the residence of several notable Cincinnatians: former Hudepohl Brewery president William Pohl, Hamilton County Recorder Jake Held and, most recently Richard Graeter, CEO and president of Graeter’s Ice Cream, along with his family.
Built in 1892 and designed by Cincinnati architect Gustave W. Drach, the home features a basement rathskeller that Graeter says via email he is “pretty sure was an in-home private speakeasy for the Pohls to discreetly entertain during prohibition." The home also has wall murals depicting Pohl family vacations — Graeter says the scenes from the Amalfi Coast and Bavaria were painted by Art Academy of Cincinnati students.
“We learned that at one time there was also a mural of Mt. Fuji, but sadly, a previous owner removed or covered it up,” Graeter says.
When asked what his favorite part of the home is, Graeter replies “the halls.”
“The Queen Anne design features large ‘center halls’ on every floor. The halls are so large that they are more aptly considered rooms. And all the home’s rooms flow off of the center halls, as well into each other. On the main floor, several sets of pocket doors separate the rooms, but when open, as they usually are, create large openings between the rooms. This feature really enhances entertaining,” he says. “We have had large parties with over one hundred guests, and the house, because of its design, easily absorbed the crowds.”
The family has undertaken some extensive renovations over the past 20 years that they’ve owned it to make it “a 21st century home while carefully preserving its 19th century charm,” Graeter says. He lists improvements including adding central air, high-efficiency boilers, replacing the double-hung windows with modern panes, rebuilding both porches, adding a garage, restoring the slate roof and four masonry chimneys, adding copper gutters, remodeling the kitchen and more, spending a grand total of $750,000 over the two decades.
So why give up the gem?
Graeter says, “We moved into our home a month before our first child was born,and now, with (our) youngest child graduating from Walnut Hills High School this spring and headed to Miami University this fall, we have an empty nest. We have a summer home in a very small, old club in southern Kenton County — coincidentally formed by Cincinnatians in 1892, the same year our EWH home was built — and we will spend a longer part of the year there now that we do not need to be back in the city for our children to attend school. In addition to that, we plan to get an apartment downtown.”
The home, located at 1884 Madison Ave. was recently placed on the real estate market and currently has a contract, but it’s still beautiful to look at.| Photos by Courtesy of Richard Graeter