This historic pavilion in Owl’s Nest Park was slated for demolition in June 2021. Because of the work of the East Walnut Hills Assembly, Evanston Community Council and the O’Bryonville business group, along with other dedicated community volunteers, the Park Board cancelled the demolition and is working with neighbors to restore the building.
The park, located at 1984 Madison Rd., is a popular gathering place for the East Walnut Hills, Evanston and O’Bryonville communities, and fosters a spirit of the inter-neighborhood cooperation. It is the site of community events like National Night Out with the Cincinnati Police Department and Owl’s Nest Fest, the annual music festival. The park’s 1933 pavilion provides a covered stage for those events. This historic structure also makes an imposing visual statement from Madison Rd., and provides a focal point and backdrop for the lawn.
The structure, designed by the locally prominent firm of Elzner & Anderson, is in poor condition and has been closed for a number of years. Please follow this link for more information about history of the park and its connection to the civil rights movement, courtesy of the Cincinnati Preservation Association.
Founded in 1897, Elzner & Anderson pioneered the use of concrete for commercial buildings and was responsible for the design of some of the finest homes in Cincinnati. Their highest-profile commission may have been the Ingalls Building downtown, the first reinforced concrete high-rise office building in the world.
Born in Cincinnati in 1869, George M. (Mendenhall) Anderson studied at Columbia University, Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris (he was the first Cincinnatian known to receive a diploma from the esteemed school) and under Louis Comfort Tiffany in NYC. When he returned to Cincinnati, Anderson worked under Samuel Hannaford before teaming up with Elzner.
A.O. (Alfred Oscar) Elzner was born in Cincinnati in 1862 and studied at the Ohio Mechanics Institute and MIT. After graduation, he worked in the Boston office of H.H. Richardson, later supervising the 1886 construction of Richardson’s iconic Chamber of Commerce Building in downtown Cincinnati (destroyed by fire in 1911).
The partners both came from prominent families, which yielded important professional connections that supported their practice, including residential commissions for members of the Taft, Emery, Procter, and Longworth families. Many of the homes built on nearby Annwood St. are fine examples of the firm’s work.
Anderson passed away in 1916 and Elzner in 1933. The Owl’s Nest Park pavilion may have been designed by Elzner or by Joseph Nardini, his designated successor. Elzner & Anderson continued practicing under the names of its founders until around 1940.