Mt. Storm Park

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Park Description

Mt. Storm is located on the western slope of Clifton's northern heights off Lafayette Avenue. Long before the Mill Creek Valley became industrial or before the village of Clifton became an "in town" suburb, the land was the palatial private estate of Robert Bonner Bowler, a dry goods magnate and once Mayor of Clifton.

Lafayette Avenue, which branches off Clifton Avenue, with its winding road and old street lamps only hints at the grandeur that once was the estate. Here on this high hill once stood one of the finest homes in America, complete with marble floors and fireplaces, wrought iron curving staircases, French cut-glass doors, and hand-carved wood inlaid with gold.

Somewhat of a world traveler, Mr. Bowler met in Austria Mr. Adolph Strauch of the Vienna Imperial Gardens and invited him to visit if he came over to America. Later, while visiting Mr. Bowler during a scheduled train layover, Mr. Strauch stayed on to develop the Bowler Estate. In fact, he remained in the Cincinnati area for the rest of his life.

Mr. Strauch designed the Temple of Love in 1845, which still stands as an outstanding landmark to Mt. Storm today. The white columns of this Corinthian style pergola, which can be seen on the east lawn, was once the cover for a reservoir that supplied water to Mr. Bowler's seventeen greenhouses, gardens, orchards, and a waterfall and swan lake on which seven black swans swam.

At one time, Mt. Storm contained a greater variety of plant material than at any other location in Cincinnati. There was a greenhouse for palms, one for orchids, one for banana trees, as well as greenhouses for`for many exotic flowers and herbs from all over both hemispheres. While the greenhouses are gone, a few of these plants can still be seen in the park, which descends the hills in a series of landscaped lawns.

The only other evidence of the grand life that once was is a small cave-like mound which was the wine cellar of the estate.

Mr. Strauch went on to develop other estates in the Cincinnati area and in 1864 he became the superintendent of Spring Grove Cemetery in which position he attained the reputation of genius in developing cemeteries in the "lawn-plan" type of layout. He served as Superintendent of Cincinnati Parks in the early 1870's and died in 1883.

Actually, much of the early glamour of the estate had disappeared by the time it became a city park in 1911. During its golden era, fifty years or so earlier, Edward, Prince of Wales, later King of England, was a guest in the house, as was Charles Dickens.

In 1917, the old homestead was razed and the site used as a parking lot.

In 1938, the Clifton Garden Club donated bulbs and plantings and restored the "Temple of Love." The club again raised funds for its restoration in 1985 and in 1987 funds for daffodil displays at the park entrance. Today, the Temple of Love stands as a testimony to the life of splendor that once was Mt. Storm in its golden years.

Overlooking the Mill Creek Valley, Mt. Storm Park's stone pavilion consists of a central loggia flanked by lower, setback enclosed wings. Completed in 1935, the pavilion is characterized by the lack of ornament and the use of flat, planar surfaces and geometric massing, which are typical of "Depression Modern". The building was designed by Samuel Hannaford & Sons, one of Cincinnati's most prolific architectural firms.

Visiting Mt. Storm Park :

660 Lafayette Ave.
Cincinnati , OH   45220
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[ Description of the Park | Features and Facilities | Maps | Upcoming Events ]