Old House Saga Continues in Cincinnati

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Musings, In The News, Old House History


The Gamble House from CincinnatiPreservation.org
The Gamble House from CincinnatiPreservation.org

I’m finally starting to understand how the old prime-time soaps such as “Dallas” and “Falcon Crest” developed such a loyal following; all it takes is a few plot twists and people to play the parts of the good and bad guys–and the next thing you know, you’re hooked. That’s how I’ve developed an addiction to the continuing saga of the Gamble House in Cincinnati. I comb through the online news every week or so looking for new developments or installments in what is becoming a mini-series.

I have blogged about the Gamble House several times in the past. The old house was owned by James N. Gamble of Proctor and Gamble fame and is supposedly the home he returned to the day Ivory Soap was invented. The Gamble family wasn’t hurting; there are also historically significant Gamble family homes in Pasadena, California and in Port Orange, Florida, near Daytona Beach.

The Cincinnati home was last occupied by a Gamble during the 1960s. When Olivia Gamble died, the house went to her nephew, Louis Nippert, a grandson of James Gamble. Mr. Nippert didn’t live in the house, but from 1961 until he died in 1992 he made sure it remained in pristine condition to honor his grandfather’s memory. Unfortunately this all came to an end in 1992 when his surviving spouse started neglecting the care of the old house and it was allowed to deteriorate.

The Old House Battle Continues

Louise Nippert, the surviving spouse, runs Greenacres Foundation of Indian Hill which now has ownership of the Gamble House. A large portion of the foundation’s funding supposedly comes from Gamble money, but now that no heirs are involved in the Foundation or the house, Louise Nippert has been fighting to have it torn down. Many citizens of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Preservation Association (CPA) have been fighting to save the old house due to its historical significance and the importance of the Gamble family in the development of the area.

The whole mess has been in court for a while now, and the latest development is that the Foundation has turned down the CPA’s financial offer to restore the home as unfeasible. Evidently the foundation of the home is sinking and they consider the possibility of a successful restoration to be remote. I haven’t seen the Gamble House foundation, but having been around old houses and construction for many, many years I know there are numerous solutions for sinking foundations. I can think of about three or four solutions off the top of my head, including what was done for this old house on Prince Edward Island. If we have the ability to move old houses across frozen lakes and from one state to another, I’m sure someone can figure out how to keep the Gamble House from sinking.