316 Pike Street, Cincinnati, Ohio

Completed in 1820, for Martin Baum (1765-1831) and his wife, Ann Somerville Wallace (1782-1864). Situated at the corner of Fourth and Pike, it originally sat on a plot of 9-acres and is generally believed to have been designed by Benjamin Latrobe (the same architect who designed the Capitol in Washington D.C.) although local tradition has it as the work of James Hoban, he of White House fame. Throughout its history it has consistently attracted the attention of Cincinnati's richest men: Baum was considered the wealthiest man in Cincinnati in his day; Nicholas Longworth was the city's first millionaire; and David Sinton died the richest man in Ohio. Sinton's only child and sole heiress, Annie, married Charles Taft, half-brother of U.S. President William Howard Taft who received the Republican nomination for President on the portico steps here. Since 1932 Belmont has been open to the public as the Taft Museum of Art....

This house is best associated with...

Martin Baum

Pioneer Industrialist & Mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio


Ann (Wallace) Baum

Mrs Ann Somerville (Wallace) Baum


Nicholas Longworth

Cincinnati's First Millionaire, of "Belmont" Pike Street, Cincinnati, Ohio


Susan (Howell) Longworth

Mrs Susan (Howell) Conner, Longworth


Francis Edward Suire

Francis E. Suire, of the Suire-Eckstein Pharmacy, Fourth & Vine, Cincinnati


David Sinton

Iron Manufacturer, of Cincinnati, Ohio


Annie (Sinton) Taft

Mrs "Annie" Anna (Sinton) Taft


Charles Phelps Taft

U.S. Representative from Ohio & Editor of the Times-Star Newspaper


Baum commissioned Latrobe or Hogan in 1817 and sparing no expense the house took three years to complete: "His (Baum's) house was always open and his hospitality was unbounded. All intellectually great men were especially welcome. Julius Ferdinand von Salis, cousin of the great German lyric poet, Count Johann Gaudez von Salis, lived with him about the year 1817. He had travelled through the Orient as a natural philosopher, 'and wrote here,' says Klauprecht, 'in the retirement of this western market town...'".

Baum lived here until his death in 1831 when his widow sold Belmont to Cincinnati's first millionaire, Nicholas Longworth. Aside from his passions for art and horticulture, Longworth was also an outspoken abolitionist and in 1850 he commissioned Robert S. Duncanson, America's first famous black artist, to complete a series eight landscaped panels (each one a little over 9-x-7-feet) in the entrance hall finished in trompe l'oeil French Rococo frames. They continue to be one of the houses' most popular attractions.

Before building a new mansion on the north east corner of Third and Pike, Longworth's youngest daughter lived here with her new husband Larz Anderson - grandfather of the same-named builder of the magnificent Larz Anderson House in Washington D.C. It was also at about this time (September, 1855) that Abraham Lincoln visited here.

Longworth died in 1863 followed two years later by his widow. Their only son was already happily ensconced at Rookwood and in 1866 he and his sisters sold the house for $100,000 to Francis. E. Suire, owner of the finest pharmacy in the city that also did the biggest soda fountain business. Sadly, for all his medicines, Suire almost immediately fell victim to a protracted illness and his business began to suffer. In the year before he died (1873), he was forced to sell up to David Sinton who started his career in 1821 as a salesman on $4-a-month and died in 1900 as Ohio's richest man worth $20-million.

In December, 1873, the widowed Mr. Sinton hosted "the social event of the season" at Belmont when his only surviving child and sole heiress, Annie, was married to Charles Phelps Taft, half-brother of U.S. President William Howard Taft. They were married in what is today the Music Room and after their honeymoon moved in with Annie's father.

It was at about this time when Annie discovered that old Mr. Frank Suire had wallpapered over the Duncanson murals and she was delighted to be able to bring them back to life. David Sinton died in 1900 and deeded the house to the Tafts who brought up their three children here surrounded by their rich and diverse collection of art and objets d'art.

In 1927, the Tafts willed their home and their collection to the City. Annie survived her husband by two years and in the year after she died (1932) the house was opened as a house museum, displaying their fabulous collection that includes paintings (European Masters as well as American artists such as Duveneck and Whistler), French enamels, Chinese vases, porcelains, crystals, jewellery, and watches from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The Taft Museum of Art remains one of the city's most popular attractions.

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Contributed by Mark Meredith on 19/12/2022 and last updated on 23/12/2022.
Image Courtesy of Greg Hume (User:Greg5030) CC BY-SA 2.5


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