Monday, April 11, 2011

Ridgewood in the Country Club District

Tuesday April 12, Tamara K. Dallenbach will sign her new book Ridgewood in the Country Club District from 5 to 6:30 PM at the Clark County Heritage Center in Springfield, OH.
The Ridgewood neighborhood grew Springfield northward in the 1910s & was the brainchild of Harry S. Kissell. Kissel, a Wittenberg College graduate, civic leader & 33rd degree Mason, saw the need for better financing options to increase home ownership which he was convinced was the cornerstone to better communities. Standard home loans required 50% down & a 3-5 year payoff. Kissell worked with the feds to reform banking through the National Housing Act of 1934. He helped to establish the National Real Estate Boards, the Ohio Real Estate Board & Springfield Real Estate Board of which he served as president as well. He also worked to establish zoning regulations that would protect the homeowner's investment.

Kissell right of Theodore Roosevelt & the president of Wittenberg College on the far left

Ridgewood is an almost textbook example of what planners saw as the ideal suburban community. To make it work, Kissell needed to ensure the entrance was a grand and stately boulevard. To do this, he needed the zoning regulations to guarantee the setback of the houses. One of the best examples of the windy streets with staggered houses is probably Brighton between Sunnyside and Harding Rd.

Corner of Pythian and Brighton

People thought Kissell was nuts & the development doomed to failure but he persevered & ultimately moved the "millionaire's mile" from East High St. to North Fountain Blvd.

Kissell's house on Fountain Blvd 1927

another house on Fountain Blvd 1926

Ridgewood Elementary School

Access to the Ridgewood neighborhood required a streetcar and the gazebo type stops still exist altho the wooden seats have been replaced with metal seats. They were popular gathering spots for degenerate teenagers in the 60s & 70s.
The Kissell Company gradually moved away from real estate sales & development and into mortgage loans. It eventually became one of the largest financial institutions of it's kind. It was the first mortgage loan company to computerize mortgage accounting, escrow control, tax analysis & insurance records in the 60s. Eventually Pittsburgh National Bank bought the company and spun off the real estate division. It was purchased by Robert Christol, also a Springfield Real Estate Board president, who renamed the company eponymously. That company dissolved in 1991 after his death.
Kissell died in Cincinnati in 1946 where he was serving as Ohio Real Estate Board president.
The book isn't on Amazon, the Ohio Book Store isn't big on Orange Frazier, but the book is available at the Heritage Center & on Orange Frazier's website (with an outrageous shipping fee).

Noose Son story here.
UPDATE: Noose Son adds photo gallery including a rendering of aforementioned streetcar stops.


geebee said...

Who you calling degenerate?

Anonymous said...

The book is available on Amazon.

Quimbob said...


Teresa Shouvlin said...

I didn't know your father was so prominent in the real estate world. Of course, you're not one to brag...much.