History of Oak Street

Oak Street History Highlights

By Steve W.

Oak Street is the oldest clubhouse in the world at same location.

(New York is the oldest but has moved locations.)

1838 – Land purchased by Nathaniel G. Pendleton, a Revolutionary War hero, elected to Congress in 1840 by the Whig Party

1845 – Property purchased by Christian Donaldson and subdivided

1884 – Because of the Civil War and burning down of the Hamilton County Courthouse, little is known about the property until

1887 – Owner James Wilson dies and a court battle ensued in which 14 people claimed rights to the property. Finally the court ordered that the sheriff Leo Schott (probably Marge’s grandpa) sell the property at public auction. It was purchased by William S. Rowe, president of the 1st National Bank of Cincinnati as an investment for $15,200.

1890 – Lot purchased for $16,500 and construction of the mansion began October 1st, 1890, at 405 Oak Street for Captain George Nelson Stone. The mansion was designed by Samuel Hannaford, who also designed Music Hall, Cincinnati City Hall and the Cincinnatian Hotel. Hannaford was the most famous architect in Cincinnati history. 405 Oak Street was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

The Queen Anne style George Nelson Stone house (1890-1891) on Oak Street was the second that Hannaford built for the owner. The first was a wooden Stick-Style house built about 1880 in Hyde Park. The house was featured in Walter Langsam’s “Great Houses of the Queen City.” The second house was in the Romanesque Revival style, built of limestone and sat in the neighborhood of Vernonville, across from the Vernon Manor.

George Stone was a colorful businessman. A decorated Union Civil War veteran, president of the City & Suburban Telegraph Assoc. (later Cincinnati Bell), and director of the Cincinnati Street Railway Co., he was also the owner of Chester Park (a competitor of the early Coney Island), known for its race track. His horse, Maude S., named for his daughter, broke world records seven times from 1880-85. He sold her to William H. Vanderbuilt, another gentleman gambler. He died in 1901.

1912 – Captain Stone’s wife Martha and daughter Mary along with their maid were survivors of the sinking of the Titanic. They shared lifeboat 6 with the famous Unsinkable Molly Brown.

1920 – 405 Oak Street sold to Ed C. Goshorn, general manager for National Lead Company. The carriage house in the rear on Burnett was sold separately and used as a doctor’s office.

1923 – Goshorn died and the house was sold to Myrtle and Warren Richards.

1926 – Richards died and house was sold to the Kinney family who lived there until 1940.

1935 – AA started in Akron, Ohio, June 10th.

1940 – 405 Oak Street is sold to Murray & Agnes Seasongood. Agnes started a culinary arts school for Jewish women. 1945 – Seasongoods sold to an unknown real estate broker.

1941, March – The Jack Alexander article hits the Saturday Evening Post (was intended to expose AA) – WWII and Hitler are in full swing (Pearl Harbor has not yet happened). Ruth M., a nurse specializing in alcoholism read the Alexander article and went to New York and Akron to collect information on AA. She starts the first AA meeting at the Metropole Hotel.

1942 – AA in Cincinnati reaches 30 members and working with institutions begins.

1943 – Splinter group breaks off from Metropole Group – group fails and asks to return to original group.

1944 – Splinter group grows dissatisfied again and starts looking for property and finds Oak Street location currently a cooking school for Jewish women.

1945 – Oak Street was deeded this house from a grateful wife of a deceased member of the program valued at $25,000.

AA membership in Cincinnati was estimated to be 100 in total. Members of AA incorporate Oak Street on Feb. 10, 1945. The original signers were Herb H., Abbe S. and Dave B. The official opening of The Oak Street Center was July 7, 1945. The AA Central Office was moved to Oak Street from its original location on 6th & Broadway, where it remained until the mid 1980s.

1946 – Beginner Classes started at Oak Street by Wade U.

1947 – Statistic: 147 attend beginners’ meetings and 70 people (60%) completed the 6 weeks of classes

1947 – Saturday night becomes Family Night at Oak Street.

1947 – In October, AA expands to Northern Kentucky and Valley Group and East One start up.

1947 – Oak Street hires first paid employee, Joe S.

1961 – AA Advisory Board becomes Cincinnati Intergroup Council

1964 – There were 7 Institution Meetings at Longview, 2 at the old Workhouse, Rollman Hospital, Drake Hospital, Good Shepherd Hall and Salvation Army.

1974 – Oak Street is renovated and the snack bar is opened.

1974 – Murder at Oak Street. Rumor has it that a sponsee shot his sponsor after they had words about him living in the building due to his current state of inebriation.

1986 (?) – Central Office moves from Oak Street.

1987 – Motorcycles are lined up 20 at a time where Handicapped Parking is now.

1995 – Oak Street celebrates 50 years.

2005 – Oak Street celebrates 60 years, Don D.’s last talk.

2010 – Oak Street celebrates 65 years.

2015 – Oak Street celebrates its 70th Anniversary

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2016 – 405 Oakstreet.com launched