Welcome to "Our Neighbors", in this section one of our neighbors will be in the "spot light" showing off their beautiful Westood home. For our first issue we are focusing on the Werk Estate "Casimir - Elsa". This Cincinnati treasure has been subject to a lot of bad publicity after the previous owners who couldn't afford the home to begin with were foreclosed on after 4 years of neglect. In addition the Realtor/Bank didn't have the property winterized in time and the entire house was damaged from broken plumbing pipes and every radiator blew up. This cinderella story from riches to rags and back again is a true passionate work by our new neighbors who purchased this out of foreclosure. Coming from Ontario Canada our fantastic new neighbors came to save a truely magnificant home and one of our cities great historic estates. With their help and input from one of the heirs of Werk's we have put together the true history and future of this Westwood treasure.
The Historic Werk Estate today, under historic reconstruction.
The original estate in 1880 before it burned. Architect was Edward Anderson a famous and
successful architect and partner of Samuel Hannaford, in the Anderson & Hannaford
Architectural firm. Sammuel Hannaford resided in the West Side around Cheviot. They also built City Hall, Westwood Methodist, Many buildings downtown including the Brittany and hundreds of major projects.
This watercolor hung in the living room and was destroyed by a roof leak.
It shows the porch before it was enclosed as a 4 season room.
View from the Carriage house, which was unfortunately demolished about 8 years ago. Photo from the 60's.
Photo of the opulant living room, with silk walls, ormolu plaster work and beautiful furnishings.
The redecoration of the interior was Elsa Werks, Casimer L. Werk II wife's accomplishment.
The Powder/Dressing Room
The Small Parlor
Michael Werk was born in Alsace France in 1807. He came to the US in the 1830's and settled in Cincinnati where he founded the Werk Soap & Candle Company downtown. He married a girl from his home town, Pauline LaFeuille, in 1843 and brought her to Cincinnati where he was becoming very successful. They had purchased over 100 acres of land in Westwood where he grew grapes and was a major vineyard owner here and in the Lake Erie area. The owners today found a letter from Ulysses S. Grant thanking Mr. Michael Werk for the shipments of his "excellent" wine. They also owned a silk hat company, bet there were some serious hats in this house!
Casimir L. Werk married Paulina Harencourt, of the Harencourt Brewery family in 1878 and built the house that stands today in 1880. Casimir Senior was president of Werk Soap and the family wine business for 40 year. Their extensive wine and brewing facilities were on site where the future Werk Castle, now torn down, existed. They had 10 children. Paulina died in 1906 and Casimir remarried in London to Louise in 1909. Casimir Sr, sister Eugiene built the Castle on the corner of LaFeuille and Harrison till it was demolished by Casimir II to build the apartments that exists today.
The Werk Castle
Casimir Louis Werk II was born in his house in 1886 the last of 6 children and the brother of Casimir Michael Werk, good thing there were only 2 boys! Casimir II was more interested in real estate and became a developer after serving as a lieutenant in WWI. He married Elsie Harberthear in 1933 and resided in the home till Casimir died in 1955 and she till 1986.
Casimir L Werk I daughter Adelle married William Oskamp and built the beautiful home on Harrison now owned by Judson Village. Casimir II was responsible for all the beautiful development work of Fleetwood, Ocasta, Eugenie, Werk Castle, LaFeuille and Werk Rds as he divided off the family estate large land holdings. My great grandparents built their first home on Ocasta with my Great Aunt and her husband, next door to each other in the 30's. We can appreciate the great work he accomplished today. Werk Soap was purchased by Procter & Gamble, Casimir Werk's long time neighbor and friend John Gamble "merged" the 2 companies.
The mansion went through 4 owners over the last 24 years and we are most excited about the current owners. The home is being redone from inside out; extensive roof, electric, plumbing, heating, plaster, kitchen, bath, flooring, fireplaces landscaping renovations are under way as well as a beautiful stone patio off the new fabulous kitchen. The progress is amazing! Though most of the home is still under sheets, we have the first photos of what's coming.