The 1930 census places my 5-year-old paternal grandfather, Grandpa R., as living in Mount Adams in Cincinnati with his mother, aunts and grandmother. When I saw the address I didn’t think much of it–that is until I did a Google Maps search of the address.
I figured Mount Adams wasn’t too far from where I currently live and it would be interesting to see my ancestor’s home on a map if it was still standing. Turns out I live 1.21 miles from my great-great grandmother’s home.
Then I dug a little more and visited the Hamilton County Auditor Web site, which lists the house as being built in 1809. But the file has something called a second card attached that says the same address was built in 1985. I was seriously confused: Why are there two files? Why was the house built in two different years? Was it torn down and rebuilt?
I decided that I just had to see the house for myself. Upon arriving I saw that it is located just steps away from the aptly named Eden Park, which has the most breathtaking views of Cincinnati. All of the houses on the street have a cutesy, classic style about them: I could tell they weren’t built recently, but I couldn’t exactly place when they were built based on the style. Many of the houses had undergone at least some sort of renovation, but they still looked homogeneous on the street.
It was then that I happened upon my ancestor’s home. I realized that I had driven down this street several times before, never knowing that this is where my Grandpa R. had once lived.
There was just one thing: I couldn’t tell which house had originally belonged to my ancestors. The address was correct, but it looked as if two houses occupied that address. The style of the houses and the paint jobs matched, but they still looked to be two distinct houses. I looked into what appeared to be an alley between the two houses and saw a second-floor skyway that joined the two structures.
This wasn’t the only house that had undergone such a procedure on that street. While the others didn’t have a skyway, they did have non-matching, single-story entryways that were sandwiched far back between two multi-floor structures, indicating that the front doors were probably added later to join the once separate houses.
I returned to the Hamilton County Auditor Web site and looked at properties close to my ancestors, and there are other old houses that are listed similarly with a second card that has a different date for the year built. I suppose somewhere along the way some Mount Adams residents decided that two homes were better than one.