Wednesday, March 01, 2000

Women's club plans to renovate landmark

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A Walnut Hills building designed by 18th-century architect Samuel Hannaford will be preserved by a women's club.

        The building, at 1010 Chapel St., is noted for its Romanesque style, including a cylindrical corner turret flanking a gabled entrance portico.

        The Cincinnati Federation of Colored Women's Club, one of the oldest African-American women's organizations in the United States, owns the building. The group Tuesday kicked off a drive to raise $500,000 to renovate the 10-room, two-story building, which is on the historic register.

        “We have received $230,000 from the city to do some basic work,” said Yvonne Green, chairwoman of the group's renovation committee. “We will need at least $500,000 to complete renovating the building.”

        She said the group plans to contact churches, corporations, fraternities, sororities and small businesses for help. Commemorative bricks will be sold for $100, Mrs. Green said.

        “Club members may purchase a name plate for $100,” she said.

        Diane Burnett, president of the club, said a one-year target date has been set to complete the renovation.

        “That is a tight schedule, but we are thinking positive about this,” Mrs. Burnett said.

        The building is 112 years old. The women's club group purchased it in 1925. Mrs. Burnett said the women sold shares for $15, held carnivals, lawn festivals and theater parties to raise money to pay for the building.

        The women's club holds meetings on the first floor while the second and third floors are used for storage.

        Much of the interior structure is worn and deteriorating. Its foundation of rock-faced ashlar needs re- inforcing. The building has been one of the architectural gems in Walnut Hills, with its bowed bay windows on the first floor.

        The large windows have arched lintels and are arcaded on the front facade.

        “The architectural designs are worth preserving,” said Leon Robinson, consultant for the women's group. “This is one of Samuel Hannaford's buildings that is rarely mentioned.”

        The Cincinnati Federation of Colored Women's Club is composed of 25 clubs, representing 325 members, Mrs. Burnett said.

        When the building is completely renovated, it will house a surrogate parenting program, paid for by the city. Mrs. Burnett said there are 12 surrogate parenting programs operating in the city now.

        The group provides charitable programs, including the Clothes Closet at nearby Douglass School, which provides clothing and school supplies for needy students and their families.


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- Women's club plans to renovate landmark