The Lytle Park Hotel and
The Lytle Park Hotel
To trace the history of Lytle Park and the surrounding historic district is to begin with the founding of Cincinnati itself. Cincinnati was founded in 1788 and originally named Losantiville, meaning "the city opposite the mouth of the (Licking) River." It was home to a village of about 20 cabins and 50 - 100 inhabitants.
Nine historical markers scattered throughout the park tell the many stories of the neighborhood. The "mansions" of the Lytle family and what is now the Taft Museum once stood as the focal points of Lytle Square, a center for many social events in the early 1900s. Following many years of studies and planning, the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. This legislation created a national system of interstate highways to connect all cities and got Americans back to work.(7) As part of the plan for Cincinnati, the Northeast Expressway (I-71) was slated to run through Lytle Park. Many years of dispute over the need to protect the historical neighborhood resulted in a plan to tunnel the highway under the park. Western and Southern Life Insurance Company, Western & Southern Financial Group's original company, used its resources to help cover part of the highway and save Lytle Park. The park became the only park to be built over an interstate road system, one of many firsts for Cincinnati.
As the last surviving male offspring of one of Cincinnati's leading pioneer families, William Haines Lytle (November 2, 1826 - September 20, 1863) was groomed from the start to fulfill a special destiny. Some thought he would one day become president of the United States. Lytle was a renowned poet, politician and lawyer but the military was his special interest. He served as a military officer in the United States Army during the Mexican-American War and American Civil War. He led a brigade of volunteers as a brigadier general during numerous engagements before he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga in Georgia.(10)
William Howard Taft
In 1830, it was sold to Cincinnati's first millionaire, Nicholas Longworth. The Longworths later sold the home to David Sinton, whose daughter Anna married Charles Phelps Taft, William Howard Taft's half-brother.(6) After the death of Sinton in 1873, the Taft Mansion became the home of Anna and Charles Phelps Taft until their respective deaths in 1931 and 1929. Most significantly, in 1908, Charles Phelps Taft's half-brother, William Howard Taft, was notified of his nomination for president of the United States under the portico of the house.
William Howard Taft
The Phelps Building Charles Phelps Taft
The Phelps Building Charles Phelps TaftHe joined his father-in-law, David Sinton, in numerous business ventures, including a controlling interest in the Times Star, where he became editor.
Mount AdamsIt was the first large manufacturing enterprise founded and owned by a woman in the United States, and it launched the art pottery movement in America. Rookwood pottery is still a highly sought-after collectible.(13) You will see an original Rookwood water fountain just off the lobby in The Lytle Park Hotel.
Anna Louise Inn
Anna Louise Inn
The architects for the Anna Louise Inn were Garber & Woodward, a firm nationally recognized for its high quality and innovative design work. They made many architectural contributions to the city of Cincinnati, including the Guilford School Building. Other work related to the Phelps family was the design of the Phelps building and the remodel of the Taft Museum. Known for many innovative school buildings and University of Cincinnati building designs, perhaps one of the firm's most significant designs was of the Dixie Terminal Building on Fourth Street. It provided a shopping center and ingenious design in the terminal for buses crossing the Ohio River on the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge.(5) A major redevelopment that began in 2014 to incorporate the two historical buildings into The Lytle Park Hotel, culminated with the hotel opening in March 2020. The hotel unites beautiful elements of the park with the history of the surrounding neighborhood to reflect a unique and architecturally elegant design showcased by the city's newest luxury hotel.
The American Book Building
Park Place at Lytle
Procter & Gamble Company
Guilford Building Stephen Foster
Guilford Building Stephen FosterThe building was originally built as a school in 1913 and named after Nathan Guilford. He was the father of the first Ohio law that provided a property tax for educational purposes leading to the creation of Ohio's public school system.
University ClubIn the late 1960s, the club lifted its restrictions on women members due to changing social conventions. An interesting fact: the club charged $.70 for lunch in 1929.(17)
The Western & Southern Life Insurance Company Building
The Western & Southern Life Insurance Company BuildingPrior to this building, the site was the Dexter home, where popular English novelist Charles Dickens had been entertained.(18) The building serves as home to Western & Southern Financial Group, its seven life insurance subsidiaries and other member companies.
The Literary Club of Cincinnati
Adjacent to the Phelps Building stands one of the last reminders of the original Cincinnati homes of the 1800s on Fourth Street. The Literary Club of Cincinnati (500 East Fourth St.) occupies a two-story Greek revival house that was built in 1820. It was originally the home of William Sargent, the secretary of the Northwest Territory. The Literary Club was founded in 1849, making it the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. It has no more than 100 members, all of them men. Many prominent Cincinnati residents have been members, including U.S. Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and William Howard Taft. Members present papers of a literary nature at club meetings. Noted guest speakers have included Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Booker T. Washington, Mark Twain and Robert Frost.(19)