Built in 1861 along with 207 W. McMicken, 205 W. McMicken housed the Best family for its first five decades. From the 1860s until the early 1900s, Adam Best, an immigrant from Darmstadt, Germany, and his wife Appolonia parented six children (Jacob, John, Appolonia, Adam, Augustus and Henry) in 205 and 207 W. McMicken, in addition to running their mineral and seltzer water business out of 205’s storefront. The building’s name – Best & Lothes – reflects this commercial use under the leadership of Adam Best, his sons and his partner Eberhart Lothes.
By the early 20th century, many members of this family had moved out of Over-the-Rhine or sadly passed away at young ages. Adam Best succumbed to typhus in 205 W. McMicken in 1880, and thereafter, all of his sons died in their twenties and thirties. By 1898, Appolonia, the mother, suffered a stroke in 207 W. McMicken and passed away. Indeed, only the daughter Appolonia, born in 1856, lived into old age, dying in 1935.
Into the first years of the 20th century, then, the building served as more of a tenement apartment than a single-family dwelling. Many residents moved in, and the commercial storefront transitioned from being a grocery store of sorts (under the Bests’ ownership) to a barbershop. Frank Clusin operated his barbershop out of 205 W. McMicken through World War I and into the 1920s. Later, partners James Ball and Raymond Dayton offered men’s haircuts out of 205 well into the 1940s.
Throughout these years and after World War II, 205 and 207 W. McMicken continued to have intertwined histories. For example, Andy and Anna Kleitsch – Hungarian immigrants who lived in and owned 207 W. McMicken beginning in the late 1920s – also owned 205 at the same time, which they decided to sell in 1959. Thereafter, the building changed hands multiple times over the next decades. By 1983, Gateway Federal Savings and Loan Association repossessed it, and later, in 1986, HUD took over. In 1993, Common Ground Ministries, a church located in the Mohawk District a block from 205, obtained the building.
Since 2000, many other individuals have owned 205. In 2014 OTR ADOPT bought the building and in 2016 work began to renovate the historic structure into a Kunsthous.