The Cincinnati honeymoon cottage of William Howard Taft (1857-1930) is for sale, prompting fears that it could be torn down for new houses.
Built in 1886 for Taft's bride, Nellie, the six-bedroom Shingle-style house has been on the market for about a month for $700,000. Although Taft's nearby boyhood home is a National Historic Site overseen by the National Park Service, the Quarry is not listed as a local landmark, and the riverview property is zoned for multi-family housing.
"The house could be knocked down for a McMansion," says Margo Warminski, preservation director of the Cincinnati Preservation Association. "And new houses could also be built on the adjoining lots, crowding the view of the house."
But the seller's real-estate agent, Carol Meadows, says developers are unlikely to buy the Quarry because it's summer. "In Cincinnati it would not be a good time of year for developers to buy; they really like to buy earlier in the year," she says. "The sellers would like to see it preserved."
Several developers have looked at the property, Meadows says. Nearby, a developer bought a house and tore it down to make way for three new ones.
Meadows guesses that the next buyer will almost certainly renovate the Quarry. "The house is very plain," Meadows says. "It's a horrible design; the layout is horrible."