Proposed Demolition of Owl’s Nest Park Pavilion

This pavilion in Owl’s Nest Park was designed by the locally prominent firm of Elzner & Anderson and dedicated in 1933. It is located on the edges of Evanston, East Walnut Hills and the O’Bryonville business district, diverse communities that literally come together in this public greenspace. The historic building makes an imposing visual statement from Madison Rd., a major artery on Cincinnati’s east side, and provides a focal point and backdrop for the park’s expansive lawn.

Owl’s Nest Park pavilion by Elzner & Anderson, 1933

The structure is in poor condition and has been closed for a number of years, but it has continued to provide shelter from the elements and a covered stage for public events. See some current condition photos here.

The Cincinnati Parks Department is engaging with community stakeholders to determine the future of this pavilion, including potentially demolition, renovation or the construction of a replacement structure. The Cincinnati Preservation Association supports alternatives to demolition! To submit your comment, please contact the Parks Department.

Our Advocacy Committee actively works to identity, protect and advocate for vulnerable buildings. If you believe that a structure in your community may be in danger of demolition, please contact us.

private residence by Elzner & Anderson, 1897

Founded in 1897, Elzner & Anderson pioneered the use of concrete for commercial buildings and was responsible for the design of some of the finest homes in Cincinnati. Their highest-profile commission may have been the Ingalls Building downtown, the first reinforced concrete high-rise office building in the world.

Born in Cincinnati in 1869, George M. (Mendenhall) Anderson studied at Columbia University, Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris (he was the first Cincinnatian known to receive a diploma from the esteemed school) and under Louis Comfort Tiffany in NYC. When he returned to Cincinnati, Anderson worked under Samuel Hannaford before teaming up with Elzner.

private residence by A.O. Elzner, circa 1890

A.O. (Alfred Oscar) Elzner was born in Cincinnati in 1862 and studied at the Ohio Mechanics Institute and MIT. After graduation, he worked in the Boston office of H.H. Richardson, later supervising the 1886 construction of Richardson’s iconic Chamber of Commerce Building in downtown Cincinnati (destroyed by fire in 1911, with façade elements living on as a monument in Burnet Woods).

The partners both came from prominent families, which yielded important professional connections that supported their practice, including residential commissions for members of the Taft, Emery, Procter, and Longworth families. Many of the homes built on nearby Annwood St. are fine examples of the firm’s work.

Anderson passed away in 1916 and Elzner in 1933. This pavilion may have been designed by Elzner or by Joseph Nardini, his designated successor. Elzner & Anderson continued practicing under the names of its founders until around 1940.