Frank Lloyd Wright’s Boulter House
CPA was delighted to receive the donation of a preservation easement by Dr. & Mrs. David Gosling on the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Boulter House at One Rawson Woods Circle in Clifton. The easement protects the house from demolition and inappropriate alterations forever.
One of only three houses designed by Wright in the Greater Cincinnati area, the Boulter House is a two-story Usonian House designed in 1954. Sited on a sloped corner lot, the house is constructed of concrete block, plate glass and wood with African mahogany on the interior.
The interior features extensive original Wright-designed furnishings–16 movable pieces, original draperies, and built-in furniture such as custom-built beds, dressing tables, a desk, bookshelves, benches, cupboards, and closets.
The original owners, Cedric G. and Patricia Neils Boulter, occupied the house from the time of its construction in 1954 until 1989. The house was then sold to Dr. & Mrs. David Gosling, who hired Benjamin Dombar, Wright’s original supervising architect for the house, to make some alterations to the design. Regardless of these interventions, the Boulter House remains largely intact and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Boulter House is an example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian design system of house construction. Mr. Wright used the term Usonian to describe a design system of simple, inexpensive and mass-produced homes for the middle class. The first Usonian house built was the 1937 Herbert Jacobs house in Madison, Wisconsin. In the following 22 years, over 100 Usonian homes were built by Wright throughout the U.S.
Preservation Easement Saves Indian Hill Estate
The Gordon E. Pape House on Blome Road in Indian Hill will be preserved in perpetuity thanks to a historic preservation easement. Dr. Vernon E. Smith, owner of the house, donated the easement to CPA to save the house from future teardowns or inappropriate development.
Originally known as “Sunny Knolls,” the house was built in 1932 for Gordon E. Pape, an entrepreneur and aviation buff. It was designed by architect John Henri Deeken in the Norman Revival style, which evoked the “farm manors” of northwestern France. In his book Great Houses of the Queen City, architectural historian Walter E. Langsam says of the house, “Outside, it is a convincing Normandy Manor, complete with a cylindrical stair-tower topped by a conical roof to suggest a dovecote, and extruded mortar between whitewashed handmade bricks.” The sweeping red-tile roofs, heavy timbered porches, and diamond-leaded windows are also typical of the style. The beautifully preserved interior features a spiral staircase, beamed ceilings and parquet floors. The house is well sited on a high knoll, surrounded by dense woods.
Historic preservation and conservation easements are increasingly popular tools to save historic properties and open space from out-of-control development. Recently several historic homes in Indian Hill, as well as some not-so-old houses, have been demolished to build “McMansions.” Dr. Smith did not want to see his beloved residence, of which he is only the second owner, to suffer the sad fate of the Buckingham House, “Mt. Olympus” and the Weller School. Because the house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Dr. Smith will receive a tax deduction for the easement donation.
CPA prepared the National Register nomination for the Pape House, which was officially listed on June 9, 2006. The Pape House is the third Register listing in the village, along with the Washington Heights School and the Jefferson Schoolhouse.