Explore Historic Mariemont
MPF is pleased to feature a virtual tour of historic Mariemont. Enjoy the sites and the history behind them with these scenic 360-degree images. Watch for new tour locations in the coming months.
Note: The .movie files below are QuickTimeVR movies. They require that QuickTime be installed for viewing. You can download it free at www.apple.com/quicktime
Mariemont's main Village Square remains the focal point of the Village. Originally envisioned on a much grander scale, the Square has endured for its shopping, entertainment and dining amenities. Construction of the Square commenced with the excavation of the Theater building in 1938. Mariemont Company President Charles J. Livingood and Mariemont Town Planner John Nolen had intended for the Square to be filled with numerous shops, a theater and an inn, all in close proximity to the town hall, library and post office.
The Square was ultimately scaled down from these original ideas, but its Tudor-style beauty, retail convenience, and community offices make it central to the Village. In recent years, new parking and sidewalk configurations have expanded activity at the Square. The Theater and a number of restaurants have enjoyed renewed popularity. Spinnenweber Builders, Inc. (SBI), majority owner of the Square's retail property, has made numerous renovations and upgrades to several buildings with the intent of attracting both village and nearby residents.
In the foreground, a new fountain, dedicated September 7, 1991 in honor of Mariemont's 50th anniversary of incorporation, welcomes residents and visitors year-round.
Construction of the Mariemont Inn began in 1925. The Inn was aggressively marketed by the Mariemont Company as the 'crown jewel' of the new village. Over the years, the Inn has been a popular site for events and parties of all sorts, from fraternity pledge formals and New Year's Eve dances, to a convention of carilloneurs. Original plans called for it to be twice its current size, with the V-shaped structure extending its wings all the way down each block to West Street.
The Cincinnati architectural firm, Zettel & Rapp, originally designed the Inn building to contain not only the hotel, but retail space, business offices, a cafeteria, and even apartments, whose residents could enjoy all the amenities of the hotel. According to Millard Rogers, local historian, the Mariemont Company built the Inn "in order to spark private investment and development on the Square." The Company maintained their sales and rental offices in the Inn until it opened to the public in 1929.
The Mariemont Company sold the Inn in 1945 to Mr. Lawrence Jones of Philadelphia. He sold it in 1962 to Spinnenweber Builders, Inc. (SBI), who still owns it today. The Mariemont Inn has the distinction of being one of only 180 hotels and resorts nationwide to be admitted to the National Trust Historic Hotels of America. In the 1940s and 50s, the décor was "modernized", and lost much of its charm and old world flavor.
Since SBI acquired the property, it has undergone several renovations to restore the ambiance of a royal manor house. Another major renovation will begin at the Inn in a few weeks. This project will enlarge many of the existing rooms and will reduce the total number of guest rooms from 60 to 50. The owners will maintain the authentic décor, with antiques throughout and different furnishings in each room.
This stone statuary group depicting French peasants was shipped from Paris, France in 1929. It includes a father, mother and child in the center, a grandmother and child on the left, and a grandfather and child on the right. Mariemont Company President Charles J. Livingood commissioned the statuary based upon a clay model he had viewed when traveling in France.
The original belongs to the city of Paris (as noted by an inscription on the back). The concrete base was built on-site and the statuary was officially dedicated on November 16, 1929 (the Bell Tower Carillon was dedicated the same day).
Rising 100 feet above Dogwood Park, the Bell Tower houses 49 bells, covering four octaves. The original Carillon contained only 23 bells, including the "Bourdon," weighing in at two tons. A carillon is a very specialized musical instrument. It requires that the carilloneur strike levers, which cause the clappers to hit the bells. The layout of the wooden levers is similar to that of a keyboard, but a great deal of force is needed to ring the bells at full volume, so the carilloneur must wear protective padding on his hands.
Carillons date back to Flemish bell founders in the 15th century. While carillons are still mostly concentrated in the Low Countries of Europe, there are an estimated 200 in the United States and Canada. We are fortunate to have one of the finest examples right here in Mariemont.
The dedication of the Bell Tower and Carillon was made by Isabella Hopkins, younger sister of Mariemont founder Mary Emery, on November 16, 1929. At the time, Miss Hopkins stated that the bells should be played "…on all national holidays and also on the anniversary date of the flight of Charles A. Lindbergh from New York to Paris in May, 1927. Isabella knew how much her older sister loved the village she had founded, and chose to honor Mary Emery with the most visible monument in the Village. Images of the Bell Tower are featured on everything from the official Village seal, to Christmas ornaments and an insurance company logo.
Isabella, like her sister, was an active philanthropist. She was instrumental in founding Cincinnati's first hospital for children, now Childrens' Hospital, in 1883. Her philanthropy continued even after Mary's death, as Isabella approached the Emery Memorial in 1928 with a gift of $100,000 to build the Bell Tower and Carillon.
75 years after its creation, residents of Mariemont still enjoy the playing of the bells at Sunday evening concerts and on special occasions, including, of course, the anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's historic flight.
Referred to as the "Dale Park square" by Mariemont's planners, the Old Town Center was completed by 1926. In close proximity to Dale Park School and adjacent to the Mariemont Community Church, the Old Town Center features two buildings designed by architects Ripley & LeBoutillier with apartment homes and small businesses (on the ground floor).
Situated in front of the Old Town Center at the intersection of Oak and Chestnut Streets, is a small park with a fountain and benches. The large evergreen tree in this space is currently used for Mariemont's annual holiday tree lighting ceremony.
Opposite of the park and Cherry Lane is the Mariemont Community Church . Architect Louis E. Jallade created a Norman-style design for the church, complete with an authentic stone roof imported from an old tithe barn in England. Construction lasted from 1923 to 1927 on what was to be "the architectural gemstone" of the community.
Named in memory of Mary Emery's youngest son, the homes in this unique culdesac were designed by Philadelphia architect Robert McGoodwin. Construction of the 12 single family homes began in 1924. Each of the white-painted homes are distinguished by peaked roofs, narrow windows, and little ornamentation. In the rear of the culdesac is an alley or service lane that removed garages and trash pickup from the front.
This stone arbor and landmark overlooks the Little Miami River valley. Located at the south end of Center Street, the arbor was designed by Phillip Foster, an associate of Mariemont Town Planner John Nolen. The concourse has been the site of numerous village gatherings over the years. Today it remains the site for MPF's annual Taste of Mariemont event.