Community History – Ludlow – Casper Ritchie

Ritchie, Casper

Casper Ritchie Jr. left his native Switzerland in 1834 for the United States. He came with his parents Casper Sr. and Elizabeth, and his brother Jacques. One year later, the Ritchie family settled in Cincinnati. The elder Casper Ritchie worked as a machinist.

Casper Ritchie Jr. wished to raise his family in a more rural climate than Cincinnati could offer. In 1860, he left the Mount Adams neighborhood of Cincinnati for Ludlow. In that same year the Ritchie home, at the northwest corner of Elm and Locust Streets was completed. The building was constructed at a cost of $20,000.00, a huge sum in 1860. The two-story brick structure sported a small wrought iron porch covering the main entrance. Casper built a two-story porch across the rear of the home to catch the cool breezes from the Ohio River. Ritchie purchased a boat to commute between his dry goods store in Cincinnati and his Ludlow residence.

The Ritchie family was typical of those residing in the Ludlow area before the arrival of the railroad. Many wealthy Cincinnatians built homes in Ludlow to get away from the overcrowded and unhealthy conditions of the city. The Ritchie family had two maids and a hired hand to take care of the needs of the family and the home.

The luxury of the Ritichie house was impressive. On the grounds was located a brick two-story building that housed the stable, a place to store the carriages and the laundry. In 1864, Ritchie constructed a one-story addition to the house for his book collection. One year later, a glass greenhouse was added to the property. For many years, Casper Ritchie Jr. hired a gardener to grow exotic plants for his household in this greenhouse.

Unfortunately, the Ritchie House has not survived to the present. In 1958, the Thea Company of Cincinnati purchased six pieces of property, including the Ritchie Home, for $84,000.00. A Kroger Grocery Store and parking lot were constructed on the site.

Tenkotte, Paul, Rival Cities to Suburbs, University of Cincinnati Dissertation, 1989, Vol. I, pp. 314-336 (KCPL); News Enterprise, July 31, 1958, p. 1.

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