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History of The Building

The Healing Space of Cincinnati was created in the repurposed Manse of the Presbyterian Church of Wyoming.  Manse is a term for an ecclesiastic residence, or the place where the minister lives.

The Manse has been a feature of Wyoming, Ohio since the town’s beginnings.  Following the Revolutionary War, Ohio River Valley property was made available for settlement.  By 1834, Archibald Burns owned the eastern part of what would eventually become Wyoming, Ohio.  When George S. Stearns and Seth Foster moved their cotton batting factory from Cincinnati to Lockland, the factory owners chose to live in the pleasant area now called Wyoming.  After the Burns farm was sub-divided, George S. Stearns purchased some of the land to build a house for his daughter.

George Stearns was a founding member of the Wyoming Presbyterian Church and served as an Elder to its initial 70 members.  The church was a frame building in the Gothic Style, constructed on the Burns property next to the Stern’s home.  In 1870, this house was rented by Reverend Silas Hawley, the first minister of the new Wyoming Presbyterian Church.  The church needed a Manse but lacked the funds to build one. Instead, the church rented the Stearns home for 12 years until George Stearns sold the house to the church for $6,000.00. He personally donated $1,000.00 toward its purchase.

By 1885, the church congregation had outgrown the original building.  Samuel Hannaford was hired to design and build a new church, dedicated in 1890. While the old church was razed, the manse remained.

In 1870, the Stern’s house was described as having 6 rooms, all heated with wood burning fireplaces.  The kitchen, back porch and washhouse were initially separate buildings that were later attached to the house. Additionally, the building’s interior has been updated with technological advances like indoor plumbing, central heat and electricity.  But while records were kept on church construction, there are few further details about the changes and modifications to the Manse.

The Manse’s architectural style is that of Carpenter Gothic, a part of the Gothic Revival Style which came to the Cincinnati area in the 1850’s and lasted through the 1870’s.  It was felt this style was more suited to a rural setting than the inner city where row houses were more common.  Typical of this style, the Manse features: a steeply pitched roof; varied windows – single and paired windows with both arched and rectangular window heads; vertical and batten board exterior; curvilinear, scalloped, gingerbread trim along the eaves; and cut-out patterned balusters on the porch.  The invention of the powered scroll saw made it easier for carpenters to construct more elaborate trims and gave the name Carpenter Gothic to this version of the Gothic Revival Style.

The building was used as a manse until 1965, when the ministers of the church started purchasing their own homes. Since then, the Manse has served as a residence for others.  After 3 years of being unoccupied, the Manse has now taken on a new purpose as The Healing Space of Cincinnati.

— Joyce Mueller, Wyoming Historical Society

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