Saturday, October 09, 1999

Kroger home glistens again


Grocer's 1890-97 residence part of Newport's historic house tour

BY MIKE PULFER
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Barney Kroger's old house wasn't for sale, but Tylene Cronin bought it anyway.

        Weeks after Delta Air Lines transfered her from Orlando, Fla., she spotted the 114-year-old house with the stand-out sandstone facade in Newport's East Row Historic District.

        She had been cruising Northern Kentucky neighborhoods, looking for just the right place for her, husband, Michael, and their daughter, Trish, both of whom were still in Florida.

        With support from Mr. Cronin, some 1,000 miles away, she tracked down the home's owner and convinced him to sell at a mutually agreeable price.

        A year and a half later, the Cronins are opening two of the three floors of the former Kroger house as part of the district's Historic Homes Tour next weekend. The tour is a sanctioned event of Tall Stacks '99.

IF YOU GO
  • What: East Row Historic Homes Tour.
  • When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. next Saturday and Oct. 17.
  • Where: Tours start at Wiedemann mansion, 401 Park Ave., Newport. A shuttle will run from the river front to the Wiedemann Mansion on tour days.
  • Tickets: $20. Besides at the Wiedemann mansion, tickets may be purchased Wednesday-Friday at the East Row Foundation's booth west of the Kentucky entrance to Tall Stacks off Columbia Street in Newport.
  • Information: 956-0982, 292-3666; www.eastrow.org
        Mr. Kroger, founder of the Kroger grocery chain, lived in the house at 624 Monroe St. with his wife, Mary, and their seven children, from 1890 to 1897. In addition to the Cronins' home, 11 other houses will be on the tour, including the former homes of George Wiedemann, founder of Wiedemann brewery, and James Taylor, founder of Newport.

        Tour highlights will include artistic stained glass, patterned masonry, carved limestone ornamentation and appointed interiors in Queen Anne, Italianate, Second Empire, beaux-arts and colonial revival architecture.

        “It's a work in progress, Mr. Cronin warns of his house. “There are still things that need to be done.”

        Among them are unfinished woodwork downstairs and a second-floor den destined for hunter green and exposed brick.

        When the couple bought the Kroger house, it was crying for help, he says. Chopped into six apartments years earlier, it needed a new roof, new floors, a new kitchen — and fewer walls and bathrooms and upstairs kitchens.

        Today, the building — a townhouse that blends Italianate and French Second Empire styles — has 12 rooms and six fireplaces. It totals 4,700 square feet of living space.

        Downstairs, new poplar random-width plank floors complement the Cronins' antique and reproduction furniture in the front parlor and dining room.

        In the back of the house, the mood turns more contemporary, with stark white kitchen cabinets on the rear wall and a plushy green modular sofa in the family room.

        Deep sash windows, some 10 feet tall, open the rooms to daylight, although the lot is barely wider than the house.

        Outside, window sills, surrounds and lintels are carved and decorated sandstone and etched glass on the double-door entry echo the designs in the sandstone.

        The building is capped with a decorative sheet-metal cornice topped with a diamond-patterned slate mansard roof with two dormers, typical of the Second Empire style.

        Mr. Kroger moved into the house shortly after marrying. He had met his wife while delivering groceries in Newport.

        In 1883, at age 23, he had started his grocery empire with a store on Pearl Street in Cincinnati. Less than two years later, he owned four stores in Cincinnati with the name Great Western Tea Co. By 1902, the chain, now known as the Kroger Grocery and Baking Co., included 30 stores.

       



Listen to your child's learning clues
Prosecutor: Cop led 'double life'
Tornado victims wait for repairs
Community rises from the debris
Sirens installed after tornado
Plaque doesn't end pain of UC radiation case
Radiation controversy outlasts lawsuit
Chronology of radiation study
Big projects aren't key to city's rebirth, expert advises
Football team visits, plays with Drake patients
Man gets life for 1985 killing
Online 'search angels' help people find loved ones
Patton: Penalize teen-age smokers
Rev. Lowery criticizes senators for blocking nominee for judge
World Peace Bell may ring worldwide
Cathedral caretaker oversees all
GET TO IT
3 admit guilt in corruption, tax case
Covington mayor race is off to an early start
Fired firefighter has his job back
Investigation prompts officials to check on foster children
- Kroger home glistens again
Principal's exit bittersweet
Section of Regional Highway to open today
Store seen as symbol of renewal
Tiny Corwin repays big debt
TRISTATE DIGEST
Wedding brought to you by sponsors
Welfare rolls net fugitives