Just as a Victorian era inhabitant of Indianapolis may have done, I am taking a brief respite from the local scenery to visit a nearby hamlet you have no doubt visited yourself: Cincinnati, Ohio. I’ve been a handful of times and did an adequate amount of drooling on myself with the offerings of its rich architecture–so much more has been preserved there than here. Something about river towns, I guess. Come to think of it, Louisville is also a preservationist’s wonderland I adore–but as usual, I digress.
A home I would love to visit as a tourist in Cincinnati…
Having spent some time wandering the streets of Cincinnati in my ‘outside sales’ days amidst a ceaseless search for random addresses, I soaked up copious amounts of glorious architecture. I presumed Cincy must be years ahead of Indy in the arena of preservation…UNTIL…I found out about the Gamble House. I joined the Save the Historic Gamble House NOW page on facebook awhile ago, but things have been heating up over there recently. I found myself reading more and more about the house, its history and the wrong-headed (and seemingly hypocritical) foundation that owns the place. And I became increasingly infuriated. Check out the mission statement of Greenacres Foundation: To preserve for the public an area reflecting the traditional environment of Indian Hill and its historical significance by preserving Greenacres in its current state of woodland and farmland;
To encourage conservation and appreciation of nature by providing the public, particularly children, opportunities to study plant and animal life in their natural settings;
To encourage appreciation of music and culture by providing facilities and an atmosphere that will encourage artists to display their talents for all age groups.
And the mission of the L&L Nippert Charitable Foundation (under the umbrella of Greenacres, somehow) is to “continue the Nippert’s long-standing and generous philanthropic efforts to benefit the residents of Southwest Ohio for many generations to come.” (Uhhh…did I read that right?)
With these honorable intentions of education and preservation, how on God’s GREEN earth, or in this case, acres, can this organization pursue a course of destruction such as this? You don’t have to be a local to be dumbfounded by the complete disparity of this organization’s mission and actions. It feels like having someone denying to your face that they did something…while you have videotaped evidence to the contrary. Check out what they are saying to the world at large through the Greenacres Foundation website.
From an outsider’s vantage point, I am immediately reminded of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Do those running this foundation think that any of the asserted goals in their mission statement mean squat when the very actions being pursued are counter-intuitive and counter-productive to its stated raison d’etre? Hello? We see through you, and your intentions, (whatever they are) and they are not noble, nor will they teach children anything of value…unless of course, reverse psychology is being employed and this is an example of precisely how NOT to be.
Oh dear, now I’m ranting. Well, how about I’ll just link to a far better article than I can provide with the back story. While you’re at it, check out the Cincinnati Preservation Association, and the Westwood Historical Society, the neighborhood of which the Gamble House is a part, and from the looks of it, the heart.
Some special people and some special places embody the soul of an area better than others. Clearly, James N. Gamble was such a person and his home and property, such a place. How unfortunate that the only thing of interest in the “green” department to this foundation is money; even sadder that they cannot see the forest through their own collection of trees.
Greenacres Foundation: “Don’t do as I do, do as I say,” is no way to teach the next generation. You have the opportunity to set the bar for grace, for class, for good–and instead, your actions look like those of a petulant and willful child, determined to have their way, no matter the anguish inflicted upon all others. It’s just sad and wrong.
Various views of the Gamble House–find more on the facebook page!
Almost forgot! If nothing else, please sign the online petition against the destruction of this meaningful and beloved place! Thank you!