Two Modern Houses in Cincinnati Face Demolition

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Woodie Garber's 1952 Moore House will be razed next month.

Credit: Cincinnati Preservation Association

A mid-century modern house outside Cincinnati will be torn down next month, and a local preservation group wants to prevent the same thing from happening to another modern house in the same Indian Hill neighborhood.

"Both houses are located in an exclusive suburb that has become 'ground zero' for teardowns in the area," says Margo Warminski, director of the Cincinnati Preservation Association. "McMansion buyers will pay more for lots than Modernist fans can afford."

A demolition permit has been issued for the Moore House, designed by Ohio architect Woodie Garber in 1952 for Alfred Moore. Moore sold the 5,160-square-foot wood-and-glass house to his son, who has built several houses on the 5.4-acre site.

Last weekend, Moore allowed preservationists to salvage woodwork and other details from the house. He gave its original blueprints to a University of Cincinnati professor, whose students videotaped and photographed the house.

"To be able to document and salvage the house is, of course, a last resort," says Chris Magee, co-president of Cincinnati Form Follows Function, a nonprofit that formed in November 2005. "We got involved too late to find another buyer."

But Magee says he's confident that the group can find someone to rescue the 1957 Mitchell House, which Garber also designed. Its owners have listed it for sale for $1.9 million.

Magee, who will use some of the pieces of the Moore House in his own home and trade others for donations to his nonprofit, says his group wants to spread the word that Cincinnati is a hotspot for mid-century modern—and that these structures are disappearing. "People are starting to recognize what's going on." 

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