Township to restore Schott’s home, make 50 acres around it into park

The house has been
deteriorating and isn’t safe.

CINCINNATI (AP) — The 173-year-old farmhouse where former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott once lived will be restored, and the 50 acres around it will be turned into a park.

Green Township bought the house and the land from the Marge & Charles J. Schott Foundation in 2006 for $1.9 million. The bulk of Schott’s nearly $124 million estate went to the foundation, which Schott created to honor her late husband.

The foundation will give the township $500,000 over five years to restore the boarded up house that has been deteriorating because of neglect, weather, animals and vandals.

“We want to restore this house to its former glory,” said township Trustee Tracy Winkler as she stood in the house’s kitchen entrance.

The goal is to make the house a site for community events, holiday parties and weddings. But first, the house must be made safe, said Winkler, just as her shoe went through the floor between the dining room and the kitchen.

Schott, a philanthropist who clashed with baseball’s leadership, died in 2004 at the age of 75. She sold her majority stake in the team in 1999 for $67 million under pressure from baseball because of a series of racially insensitive comments she made.

Pioneer farmer Peter Diehl built the house in 1835. Schott’s parents, Charlotte and Edward Henry Unnewehr, moved there in 1946.

“We had happy times in that house,” said Lottie Crane, Schott’s older sister. “Daddy’s five girls were married from that house.”

Crane’s mother wasn’t enthusiastic about moving into the farmhouse from their home in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Clifton.

“That place is a dump,” she told her lumber-baron husband in 1946. “There’s no water, no indoor plumbing, no electricity.”

Edward Unnewehr’s mother bought the home as a rental property in 1902. It was home to bootleggers during Prohibition.

Before moving the family in, Unnewehr had the house gutted and a kitchen and den were added.

Her parents stayed in the house until Christmas Eve 1980 when Charlotte Unnewehr suffered a stroke. She and her husband both ended up in the hospital that night and never returned.

Crane said her parents would be happy that the house will be restored.

“That old house heard lots of laughter and saw many guests,” she said.