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Author Topic: Where the Elite Meet..Kettering West of Far Hills.  (Read 68 times)

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Offline Jeff

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Where the Elite Meet..Kettering West of Far Hills.
« on: November 20, 2005, 10:48:53 AM »
a "West of Far Hills" address has long been a prestigous if one lived south of Dayton. 

This trend started in the early 20th century when Dayton's leading industrialists began to relocate to Oakwood, and to build country estates in the hill country running south of Dayton, at the edge of the Great Miami river valley..

The first one was in Oakwood proper (and actually east of Far Hills)...John Pattersons' "Far Hills" estate, where he built a Swiss chalet mansion/country house.   Oakwood was sort of a languishing horsecar suburb until the arrival of electric streetcars, and until Patterson(the owner of NCR)  insisted his middle management (and later formen) move next to him in this now-accessible suburb.

This started the white collar move south of Dayton, as NCR probably had the largest middle management staff of any company in Dayton.

The Dayton Country Club also relocated to the hills south of town in the early 1800s, after the organizers where unable to secure property off of Salem Avenue.  This certainly added to the desirablity of living south of town.

South of the Country Club Patterson began to buy up property for what became Hills & Dales park, a "private park" for NCR employees which was later opened up to the public. 

John Patterson and Hills & Dales kicked off a trend of other capitalists relocating south.

Edward Deeds, NCR manager and later CEO, and also a founder of DELCO and on the board of Pratt & Whitney, built his Moraine Farm estate, and apparently aquired land south of it for Moraine Park.

Charles Kettering, another founder of DELCO, also located south to his "Ridgeleigh Terrace" estate

James Cox, a newspaper tycoon and political figure (to the level of being Presidential candidate), built next to Kettering and Deeds, establishing his Trails End estate.

The result was a belt of parkland land running south of Dayton as far as Alex Bell Road, in private hands but apparently somewhat open to the public, as can be seen on the following maps ('north' is to the left on the maps).  The parkland was proposed to be connected to each other and to Dayton via a "Southern Bouelvard" (only the part between Dorothy Lane and Stroop was built).

In order to make the property more accessible a nearby interurban railroad was induced to run branch lnes into the estate country (shown in red).  The story is that this was to make the parkland more accessible for recreation and to mimize auto traffic, but one has to wonder if there was also the idea of making it more accessible for development purposes.

In fact a small settlement was established at the end of one of the lines at Stroop Rd., "Delco Dell", for workers displaced by the 1913 flood (housed in pre-cut houses "shipped from Chicago").

The estate country in two enlargments, repositioned in the more familiar north-south cartographic alignment....The Olmstead Brothers firm (sucessor to FLO of Central Park fame) did the landscaping for the Dayton Country Club and Hills & Dales, and I wonder if they also did the Moraine Park and Ridgeleigh Terrace landscape plan, too...which would be pretty interesting as this could well have been developed by the firm as one continuous design....

Hills & Dales....

..& Moraine Park/Farm....

By the 1920s the move south was well underway, as shown by this 1920s map.  Streetcar service was being extended deeper into Oakwood, along Far Hills Avenue (the former Lebanon Pike) as part of the ongoing land speculation in this the hot suburban area...yet, there never was an interurban line extending beyond Oakwood into Centerville and Lebanon...thus this area was one of the very early "automobile suburbs" of Dayton.

...tinted in green is Hills & Dales and also the Far Hills estate.  The inteurban and streetcar lines are in red, and the city limits of an expanding Oakwood is in blue.  As you can see Hills & Dales extended on both sides of Dorothy Lane.  John Patterson had donated he northern part to Dayton, but retained the southern part, which was going to be subdivided (portions of the northern part were, too, along Ridgeway).

A plat map from 1930 showing Van Buren Township, todays Kettering, south of Dorothy Lane and West of Far Hills.  The areas tinted in yellow are the properties owned by some prominent Daytonians....Cox, Deeds Kettering, the Meads (of Mead Paper), the Patterson estate, the Talbots (Talbot was an engineer and real estate speculator, builder of the Talbot Tower, phase one of which was underway when this map was made), & the Taits (Tait was the founder and CEO of Dayton Power & Light). Its interesting that it seems that some of these properties are held in the wives or relatives names.

Quite a bit of land was in speculation or being subdivided by this appears what we know as postwar suburbia in this part of town was already on its way to being that in the "Roaring 20s"...

A close-up of the plat map. You can see some of the names of the plats and real estate companies...."Hills-Dale", the "Uplands Realty Co.", etc.

...and what the place looked like on a 1931 street map/atlas....the former Hills & Dales park in green, as is the former Kettering Estate, Ridgleigh Terrace.  They where both on their way to be subdivided....

the same map without the colors....the interurban branch line along Southern Bouelevard is visible, are some of the subdivision names (Short Hills).....

The interurban was, at the end, the Cincinnati and Lake Erie, which staged this publicity photo of their new express cars on the Southern Bouelevard branch line, capturing one of the mansions that where being built west of Far Hills (in reality these cars would never be on this line)

(image courtesy of the Wright State Archives and Special Collections Dept).

Roughly the same scene today.

..a close up of the house....

By 1950 not much has happened.  By now most of the developed you see along Far Hills has been built-out, and some early postwar subdivisions are appearing.....we are on the verge of Van Buren Township becoming Kettering.

...and the area today....mostly north of Stroop...


..with the prewar street system in black and abandonded or vacated streets in red.  All of the former Hills & Dales park south of Dorothy lane has been subdivided and built on.  However, as you can see, quite a bit of that old Ridgeleigh Terrace subdivision off of Southern Blvd was never built became the site of the Seventh Day Adventist church and parking for Kettring Hospital.  A lot is still open land.

The Ridgeleigh Terrace east of Southern Boulevard became, mostly, the Kettering Hospital complex...

Ridgeleigh Terrace the mansion still stands, though. (located on the hill, in the woods behing the hospital)...its not accessible to the public, but here is a pix of it (ironically, with a bunch of Packards parked in front ...from the Packard Museum)

Since we are talking about Kettering, a pix of the suburbs' namesake, from the cover of Time....

and a biography from Wikipedia

CF Kettering was still alive when the suburb was incorporated, and he agreed to the use of his name for the new town...he wasn't the founder, just the most famous resident.

Anway, on to some pix.

Another VIP and his estate....

James M Cox, founder of Cox Enterprises media company, three time Ohio governor, and presidential candidate (his VP running mate later went on to win the presidency)

...during his presidential campaign.

bio from the Dayton Daily News.

And the mansion. Trails End.  I  took a tour of this house 15 years ago when it was remodelled as a guest house for a local company.  The place probably had much better views over the valley before the trees had grown.  There is small display or mini-museum in it with things from Coxes political career.

Since one of the drivers of the developement of the area was the amenity of Hills and Dales Park some pix...this park, though owned by Dayton, is actually within the city limits of Kettering.

(local landmark Patterson statute)

Crossing Dorothy Lane....

..and heading down Southern Bouelevard to Stroop....

through whats left of the old Ridgeleigh Terrace grounds....

past Kettering Hospital...

& the Aventist Church

To the end of the line at Stroop, with this rustic lodge....

and collection of little houses....I dont know if they where the Delco Dell houses, or servants quarters....but they are here, probably, due to this being the end of the line of the interurban branch...

Nearby is the Edward Deeds estate, Moraine Farm.  Edward Deeds was friends and business partners with Charles Kettering, and also, later, CEO of NCR.  However, Deeds was perhaps somewhat corrupt, as he was investigated for war profiteering in WWI.  He did try to build an aviation industry here, via the big Dayton-Wright plant in Moraine City, but refocused his aviation interests to Pratt & Whitney in Hartford, Connecticut.  His wife donated Carillon Park.


Deeds was an amature astronmer, so this house has the unusual feature of an observatory tower

Moraine Farm from a distance

Views of the main house, dating from 1914, in a sort of spanish/mission revival style. 

This house just rambles on and on, so its tough to take a good all-encompassing pix of it....

A view up the hill behind the house.  The grounds of Ridgeleigh Terrace was developed in part as a gated community, and the house peaking out from the trees is part of that community....

a view across whats left of the grounds to Modern Manor (better known as "Huber South"), and the GM Moraine Assembly in the distance...the Machine in the Garden.  The old Dayton-Wright plant from WWI has been torn down in the last few years, but was right next to the Moraine Assemebly plant

And a view south into what was once Moraine Park

Moraine Park..its hills and valleys...(inlcuding some adjacent property) was developed into a network of exclusive housing developments and country clubs.  The houses are mostly more modern, but there are some older ones dating from before WWII.

(I particularly like this one, with the big urn in has an interesting "stripped classical" feel to it...very swellegant....very Hollywood or jazz age....


In the low wooded hills in the distance are even more is getting into Washington Township and the Mad River Road area there....and it all gets pretty inaccessible due to small private estates and little gated communities....tho this looks pretty rustic, we are still well within the I-675 beltway here.

Another penetration into the "Moraine Park" hill country....along Tait Road

most of the houses are modern....

With a few period reproductions, like this Shingle Style copy...

continuing to climb into the hills along the Moraine Country Club....

past this sculpture garden

view into the golf course again..

even higher into the hills....parallelling the golf course....

until we reach a gated community....road continues up into the hills, who knows how far....

There are little loops and cul-de-sacs pulling off of Tait Road, with a mix of architect-designed and spec modern houses....perhaps one of the larger collections of high-end residential modernism in the area?

...including this rather large modernist country house, perhaps owned or buit by the DP&L CEO Tait.  This house dates to 1939 or 40, which makes it one of the earliest, if not the earliest modern house in Dayton.  It is sort of in the European "Bauhause" modren style, with a fiew "moderne" (and even classical) details the banding at the corners. 

Not visible enough to shoot is the rear, with a large window walls and a semicircular bay with terrace on the time it was built this house would have had a fantastic view over the Miami valley, with the big Frigidaire appliance plant in the center.  Great view for the executive of a power company...

and, from recent times this faux tudor revival (perhaps an ironic reference to the pelthora of tudor revival houses elsewhere West of Far Hills)...

Heading back down to Stroop Road....

The above was mostly modern.  The real charm of this area is, however, the abundance of revival architecture, some very larger versions of tudor and other revival styles...small estates in some cases.

We will start out with this house in "Short Hills".  This was supposedly a "Kettering" house too, but I think built by the son of Charles Kettering.

the approach.....

The Mansion on the Hill

All very "F Scott Fitxgerlad/Great Gatsby"...the country estate.....

Another suburban estate....which we have seen upthread....

And now, what you've all been waiting for,  for the Tudor gallery....Daytons favorite revival style....plenty of great examples all over town...Kettering West of Far Hills has its share.....all of these are between Far Hills, Southern Blvd, Dorothy Lane, and Stroop Rd, probably all built before WWII during Ketterings subruban prehistoric era as Van Buren Township....

(well, this one is more "French Provinicial, ?)

The area really is a continuation of Oakwood...Ridgway is the connecting street as it has its own bridge across Dorothy it turns into this wooded lane diving into little ravines and would never imagine one is in deep within an urban area here....

With even more big houses tucked into the woods, including this tudor one and this spanish one.

....the Spanish one reminds us that its not all "olde Englishe" in Kettering....

After the war, there was quite a bit of banal spec building going on, even for rather large houses.  Some, though, do rise above and become fair, though unispired, examples of midcentury modernism....

Those of you familiar with Dayton & Kettering will note that I didn't say anything about the Southern Hills/South Dixie area...which is also part of Kettering.

I will be doing another, more "historical" thread on that area, along with Moraine, later, as its sort of a different "story" than this "West of Far Hills" mansion/estate district.

« Last Edit: November 20, 2005, 06:06:53 PM by Jeff »

Offline PigBoy

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Re: Where the Elite Meet..Kettering West of Far Hills.
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2005, 01:34:02 PM »
Excellent work!  I didn't realize so many of Dayton's luminaries had their estates sort of clustered like that.  It really is an interesting area.

As I've mentioned before, that area (in particular, within the boundaries you gave near the end of the post) is an area with which I became quite familiar in the summer of last year.  That Ridgeway Road picture toward the end even features a manhole on which I'm sure I stood, trying to receive a good GPS signal through all the trees.  What fun.

Online ColDayMan

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Re: Where the Elite Meet..Kettering West of Far Hills.
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2005, 03:22:09 PM »
Couple of interesting facts:

Dayton area has 188 commissioned Olmsted Bros. projects.
Dayton has more Olmsted Bros. projects than any other city outside of the East Coast.
Ridgeway Ave. was the Dayton Area's richest street in the early 1900's.
Hills and Dales Park helpd create the suburb in the Canton area.
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Online The_Cincinnati_Kid

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Re: Where the Elite Meet..Kettering West of Far Hills.
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2005, 07:36:47 AM »
Wow, fantastic tour!  You really did some homework.  I went to a wedding reception at the white mansion towards the top of the thread, very nice inside.

Offline mrnyc

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Re: Where the Elite Meet..Kettering West of Far Hills.
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2005, 06:17:35 PM »
i really enjoyed this tour -- superb job!

i had no idea dayton had it's own version of "east egg."

Offline buildingcincinnati

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Re: Where the Elite Meet..Kettering West of Far Hills.
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2005, 12:42:03 AM »
Fantastic as always.  The historical photographs are a great touch.

Offline the pope

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Re: Where the Elite Meet..Kettering West of Far Hills.
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2005, 10:22:39 AM »
i'm not going to lie to you jeff, i didn't read all the commentary, but i did enjoy the pictures

Offline ForeverGlow

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Re: Where the Elite Meet..Kettering West of Far Hills.
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2006, 03:56:18 PM »
Fantastic shots. Tudors are my favorite. I've been through Oakwood quite a bit but haven't seen these parts of Kettering as much as I'd like to. Thanks for the tour.

Offline Columbusite

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Re: Where the Elite Meet..Kettering West of Far Hills.
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2009, 01:03:14 PM »
Very stately and very remote.

Offline old edale

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Re: Where the Elite Meet..Kettering West of Far Hills.
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2009, 04:49:24 PM »
These are beautiful.