CINCINNATI - APRIL 1, 2013 - Demolition crews begin tearing down the historic Gamble House.
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CINCINNATI - APRIL 1, 2013 - Demolition crews begin tearing down the historic Gamble House.
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Gamble House demolished in Westwood

Old mansion was subject of preservation fight

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CINCINNATI - Demolition started Monday morning on the Gamble House, the old Westwood mansion that was caught up in a high-profile historic preservation fight for more than three years.

The Greenacres Foundation, which owns the house and property around it, argued the house was too expensive to restore and preserve and for years has been seeking to raze it.

Westwood neighborhood activists fought to preserve the property and got the support of Cincinnati City Council. But they didn't prevail in court.

Greenacres Foundation President Carter Randolph said the foundation has maintained all along that the foundation has honored donor's intent for the building.

"This just brings this chapter of that property to an end," he said.

The foundation's original plan was to turn the Westwood property into an education center, but the property must be rezoned before that can happen, Randolph said.

The organization plans to allow for a cooling off period before pursuing the zoning changes and will seek input from the community, he said.

"Emotions have run high, and we'll let everyone sit back before we deal with that," he said.

The old house took less than two hours to raze, which is typical for frame structures, according to the Cincinnati Preservation Association.

The association released a statement Sunday calling the demolition "a loss that will be felt in Westwood and beyond for a long time."

"At Cincinnati Preservation Association (CPA) we received more calls, comments and questions about the Gamble House that anything in memory," the statement said. "The interest and dismay came to our door from across the entire city and throughout the nation."

The association commended the city of Cincinnati for fighting to save the building and added that the "loss of the Gamble House has strengthened our commitment to protecting our unmatched historic resources."

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