Sunday, November 26, 2000

Hoseas prepare home for holiday

Local developer's inn decorated for Victorian Christmas

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ONEONTA — Standing on the veranda at the rear of the Inn At Oneonta and taking in the commanding view of the Ohio River, a visitor can imagine the same view 100 or more years ago.

        That's just what David and Marcia Hosea of Fort Thomas had in mind when they purchased the circa-1850s, three-story brick structure with plans to convert it into a bed and breakfast.

[photo] Marcia Hosea, who with her husband, David, owns the Inn at Oneonta, reads in the living room of the house.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        There are no records indicating when the house was built. However, there is plenty of history and folklore surrounding it, including a tale that bank robber John Dillinger once used it as a hideout in the 1920s, when the building was still a roadhouse.

        “We want to be able to share this with everyone,” Mrs. Hosea said Friday during final preparations for a weekend Victorian Christmas open house that continues today and Dec. 2-3 at the inn.

        “We purchased the house and about 26 acres this summer and started working on it in September,” she said.

        “We still have some things to do, but we wanted to hold the open house to let people see the inn and also raise money for Henry Hosea House.”

   To reach the Inn at Oneonta, take Interstate 275 or I-471 to U.S. 27 (Alexandria Pike). Follow U.S. 27 to Ky. 1998, turning left on 1998. It ends at Ky. 8; turn right on 8 and travel 8 1/2 miles until you see the Oneonta sign on the left.
    Information: Kentucky Haus Craft Gallery in Newport, (859) 261-4287.

        The $10 per person donation for the event will help the Echo soup kitchen operation at the house named for Mr. Hosea's father at Ninth and York Streets in Newport.

        The house is the only original structure remaining from the community of Oneonta, where Ohio River packet boats once docked below the house to take on lumber and other goods.

        “Everything was washed away in the 1937 flood, and the community never rebuilt,” Mrs. Hosea said. “No one came back. This house was the only thing that withstood the flood, although the water was up to the second floor.”

        “There was a dance hall next door, and for a little while, we understand, the second floor was used as a bordello,” said Mr. Hosea, a local developer who also operates a used office furniture business.

        “It started out as a roadhouse for stage coach travelers ... there was a bar in what is now the dining room.”

        The house stood vacant for about 15 years, then went through several hands before the Hoseas purchased it.

        During the 1997 flood, two feet of water reached the first floor of the house, and the Hoseas had all the flooring on the first and second levels replaced during the restoration.

        When workers removed the dropped ceilings in the house they discovered the original tin ceiling panels in nearly perfect condition.

        The four upstairs bedrooms each have a name — Island Queen Room, Natchez River Boat Room, Delta Queen Room and Princess River Boat Room.

        They are furnished almost entirely with the Mr. Hosea's stock of antique furniture. The hallways are lined with historic riverboat photos.

        Mr. Hosea said he hopes to have the Inn At Oneonta licensed and open as a bed and breakfast in February.


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