Get a rare look inside historic Groesbeck Lodge

Posted at 5:00 AM, Oct 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-01 05:00:10-04

CINCINNATI -- Fans of Arts and Crafts-era architecture and landscapes and Cincinnati history have a unique opportunity the next two Saturdays to tour and learn about a national treasure at Cincinnati Nature Center.

The 1920 Groesbeck Lodge, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places earlier this year, will be open to the public 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 3 and 2-4 p.m. Oct. 10. After that, the Center will begin converting the 7,880-square-foot, two-and-a-half-story house into the Center for Conservation and Stewardship, which will be an ecology education and events center.

The Nature Center will display old photographs of Groesbeck Lodge and post docents throughout the building who will share its story, from the days it was designed by architects Guy C. Burroughs and John H. Deeken for Mary and Glendinning Groesbeck to the years it was the site of the Presbytery of Cincinnati’s Camp Wildwood.

The Arts and Crafts movement-inspired house still features some of the original metalwork of Marie Zimmerman, and the grounds include stone walls and paths designed by Englishwoman Gertrude Jekyll, as well as 22 stone fence pillars that enclosed a large rose garden.

GALLERY: Photos of historic Groesbeck Lodge

Although the Presbytery altered it so Groesbeck Lodge could serve as its summer camp’s gathering place, the bones and spirit of the 95-year-old house are intact and have been preserved by the Nature Center.

Some of that spirit reportedly lurks at the bottom of a trail leading off the rose garden down to the East Fork of the Little Miami River. Near the water’s edge is a stone bench that some summer campers said was haunted by Mary Groesbeck’s ghost.

The tours are free to Nature Center members and nonmember adults after paying the $8 center admission fee. The cost is $3 for children.

The Center is located at 4949 Tealtown Road outside Milford in Clermont County. Construction on Tealtown between Roundbottom Road and the Center will make it inaccessible from the north Oct. 5-30, affecting access to the tour Oct. 10. See the Center’s home page for alternate directions.