A mansion, a frat house, a new library

Calvin and Max at the new library.

Calvin and Max at the new library.

Our neighborhood boasts a historic mansion that was a fraternity house for many years. Friends from my youth probably remember the fire truck they had parked on the front lawn. As of last week, it’s now the new home of the Clifton branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Parkview Mansion was the home of politician “Boss” Cox.

Our family missed the grand opening but we were lucky that we ran into Mr. Eric and got a personal tour. If you frequent the Clifton branch, you know that Mr. Eric (Davis) is the incredible children’s librarian. He holds a mean story hour complete with a guitar and songs.

“It’s beautiful inside,” said Calvin. And that it is. The renovated mansion has original fireplaces, tile, floors, and a gorgeous stained-glass window. There are reading rooms, study areas, a teen section, rooms you can reserve for meetings, and an incredible front porch with tables and chairs.

Mr. Eric gives the boys the grand tour.

Mr. Eric gives the boys the grand tour.

Calvin adds that he, “likes the books and the drinking fountain. The elevator smells funny.”

My friend Sarah Hoctor grew up a couple houses down from the mansion (in a charming haunted house) and she says that tunnels connected the houses on that street during prohibition.

George “Boss” Cox had Hannaford & Sons build Parkview Manor in 1895. According to the library’s site, “Cox lived in Parkview Manor and entertained lavishly there from 1895 until his death from pneumonia at the age of 63 in 1916. His wife maintained the home until she died in 1938. It was bequeathed to the Union Bethel and became a home for girls until 1947 when it was purchased by Pi Kappa Alpha for a fraternity house. In 2007 Michael L. Dever purchased the property.”

A reading room in the Clifton branch library.

A reading room in the Clifton branch library.

Dever donated the property to the library.

If you live in Cincinnati or plan to visit, the new Clifton branch is well worth a look!

More information about Parkview Manor and the Clifton branch.

The library is located at the corner of Brookline and Jefferson Ave., across from Burnett Woods in the Clifton neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio.

See before pictures on the library’s Flickr feed.

Read more about the building’s history. Read and see photos of the grand opening.

Here’s another great article about the mansion’s past along with rumors of ghosts.

Visit George Cox’s Wikipedia page.

Watch a video featuring Mr. Eric.

7 thoughts on “A mansion, a frat house, a new library

  1. What a cool new library! That’s got to be so much fun – for patrons AND staff. My local library is in an over-100-year-old firehouse and while I often wish it had more space, it lacks nothing for character. Thanks for sharing your library with us!


  2. This makes my heart happy. Liam and I lament when wonderful old architecture is torn down to make room for the warehouse boxes of modern store fronts. We also feel a certain degree of sadness when seeing a beautiful work sitting lonely and empty. I’m glad to see Clifton giving this beauty new and meaningful life!

    Liked by 1 person

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