KLINGE FLATS HISTORY
Built in 1910 in the heart of historic Walnut Hills, the building located at 2411 Gilbert Avenue has housed many businesses in its commercial space over the past 100 years. It was always residential though, with usually three flats above the first floor.
From 1910 until 1912, Teasdale’s Dyeing and Cleaning operated out of 2411 Gilbert. Proprietor William S. Teasdale (1876-1914) was from a wealthy family worth over $1 million in present-day dollars. William inherited his business interests from his grandfather and father, taking over the family business by the turn of the 20th century. At that point, he relocated the business from downtown Cincinnati to 2411 Gilbert in 1910.
Despite William’s business acumen, Teasdale’s was short-lived in Walnut Hills. After a quite-public divorce from his wife Caroline, young William suffered a stroke in 1914. His mother and sister sold the business thereafter.
By 1912, then, 2411 Gilbert was under new ownership. Until the 1920s, the Klinge family used the first floor for their hardware business, William K. & Son Hardware. Thereafter, they moved the operation next door to 2413 Gilbert. Above both storefronts, from the 1910s until the early 1970s, they rented some of the apartments – known as the “Klinge Flats” – and reserved the rest of the space for themselves to live in.
William (1834-1904) and Barbara Klinge (1837-1913) headed this family. Both were German-speaking, Protestant immigrants to America, from Prussia and and Hesse-Darmstadt, respectively. He was a locksmith and machinist by trade, with some money to his name as an immigrant. Together, they had nine children, five of whom lived into adulthood and helped to run the businesses out of 2411-13 Gilbert: William (1865-1929), Laura (1869-1951), Alvina (1870-1950), Edward (1873-1941) and Charles (1874-1944).
While patriarch William died of heart failure by the time the Klinges managed 2411 Gilbert, his sons Edward and Charles assumed running the family business. As city directories revealed, up to the day he died, Edward lived in flat 3 at 2411 Gilbert with his wife Pauline.
As for flats 1 and 2, numerous others lived within their walls under Klinge ownership. For instance, during World War I – and in the midst of the Mexican Revolution – the Mexican consul Enrique Ornelas (1873-1929) lived in flat 2 while he worked in the foreign department on Eggleston Avenue. During Prohibition, a U.S. federal narcotics inspector James J. Burgess (1879-1952) and his wife Mary resided at 2411 Gilbert. During their tenure there, his detective work paid off; at one point, he seized – in today’s money – $54,000 of cocaine and morphine as a Prohibition agent.
By this time – into the 1920s – the Klinges moved their hardware business to 2413 Gilbert. Bookkeeper Dennis Phelan (1870-1932) and his father-in-law, plumber John F. Nolan (1853-1939), began to operate their plumbing business out of 2411 Gilbert until 1939. Thereafter, the storefront housed the Cincinnati Heating Co., run by Swedish World War I-veteran Clarence Gustave Tengquist (1896-1986) and his bookkeeping wife Minerva (1897-1962).
By midcentury the Hallem Bookkeeping and Tax Service lit up the storefront. Edward Klinge’s wife Pauline remained living in flat 3. In the early ‘70s, a real estate agent utilized the commercial space for his office, followed by a siding-and-roofing company Aluminum Sidewall. By this time, Klinge ownership of 2411 Gilbert had ceased. New landlords Robert and Rheda Harris bequeathed the apartments as “Harris Flats,” yet by the mid-80s and worsening over the years, rental vacancy plagued the building. Its storefront continued to be used, mainly by hairdressers such as Shear Madness Hair Studio, Nycole’s Beauty Salon, and by 2005, Mr. Allison Hair Weaving, but the above apartments sat empty. Most recent years saw 2411 Gilbert unlisted in city directories.
Beginning in 2016, however, William Thomas and his son William – along with Kunsthous and Brush Factory – renovated 2411 Gilbert, ready for at least six tenants by spring of 2017.