Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Wetherington: Nouveau rich kid
on the block

        The pressure is off. The good citizens of Indian Hill can build tasteless faux castles and drive whatever shamelessly expensive vehicle they desire. They will no longer be the lone punch line to local jokes about the rich.

        According to Census 2000, the median household income in Wetherington is $161,448. Indian Hill lags behind with $158,742. (STORY). It appears that the Butler County upstart subdivision has knocked Indian Hill off its horse. I use this particular phrase purposely. Because nobody in Indian Hill has ever knocked me off my horse.


Gaper's paradise

        My most expensive vice, Magic the Wonder Horse, lives in Indian Hill. And even though I commute to his neighborhood from mine, I am permitted to move freely there. Surely some people in Indian Hill are in a hurry, on their way to make more money. But they will always stop to let a line of riders cross the road.

        This must be annoying at times, but I have never been made to feel as though my presence on the roadway or in somebody's backyard was a nuisance. I have never been flipped off or made to feel unwelcome.

        Indian Hill is a gaper's paradise — massive stone houses built from Ordovician limestone quarried on the grounds, as well as new “estates” of five acres. Sometimes Magic and I pass enormous clumsy houses, which have replaced graceful old ones. Their nouveau Palladian windows overlook stables that will never smell of horses or hay.

        But there are still plenty of reminders of the quintessential old money. Solid underpinnings, tasteful, cultured, understated.

        Privileged families built fires in Regency fireplaces and discreetly toed buzzers in the floor in the dining room to signal the help to clear. They dined on plates with utensils that were then placed in a bank-worthy safe in the kitchen.


Lockdown program

        Old money and old names. The Dracketts. The Emery family. The Fleischmanns. The Macks. The Nipperts. The LeBlonds. And new, of course. Most people don't care so much anymore about your money's vintage as long as your check doesn't bounce. But you can't buy history. Or respect.

        Is Wetherington ready for the burden of being the richest new kid on the block? Are they ready for the attention? The jokes? Is your skin thick enough? Already, there has been some grumbling about your lockdown program, which seems somehow un-American.

        The West Chester subdivision became the region's first gated community in March. The approximately 1,000 residents use key cards to open wrought-iron gates. They say they simply want to cut down on traffic and that pedestrians can still use the 3.5-mile hike and bike trail. Visitors at night can enter through the front gate if they are beeped in by a homeowner. Emergency vehicles have a special code.

        Wetherington homes cost between $350,000 and $1.2 million — lovely, I'm sure, but not really gaping material. Although if I wanted to look, I'd like to think I could. Magic and I know that often we are inconvenient. But we are grateful that the wealthy folks of Indian Hill figured out a way to live well and still keep the gates open.

       E-mail Laura at lpulfer@enquirer.com or call 768-8393.

        • Wetherington tops Indian Hill as richest community
        • German identity lower in census
        • Ohio improves in higher ed, income
        • Census Top 10 lists
        • PULFER: Wetherington

Rich fringe belies a bit faded center
Census has new richest community
Census Top 10 lists
German identity lower in census
Ohio improves in higher ed, income
- PULFER: Wetherington
RADEL: Character flaw
Catholic school chief has Moeller tie
Experts: Tristate in jam on traffic
Once comatose teen graduates
Proposed railway changes its route
Ballpark changes eat $2.4M
Senior housing vote may come tonight
Three area banks robbed
Bishop-elect: Rehab won't help
Bishop grilled about handling of sex abuse allegations in Boston
Chancellor date with grand jury postponed
Diamond: Delegation made progress
EPA won't intervene in oil pipeline decision
Erpenbeck camp claims forgery
Homeowners can now get cheap loans
Library may seek tax levy
Loveland picks land developer
Mariemont board wants input on failed tax increase
Tristate A.M. Report
Fifth Street reopens after fire
Fletcher joins gubernatorial fray
Homeless to rally City Hall with concerns
Two appointed principals
Kentucky A.M. Report