While not necessarily a longevity candidate (as we are learning for North Avondale), I introduce you to Ken Brawner of 3 Revel Court to share a snippet of house buying l990’s style.
Ken was living in Madisonville, when his friend and realtor told him, “You are a rising young executive; you need to live in a better neighborhood”. While this statement may be a matter of opinion, it did prompt Ken to start looking at various different neighborhoods!
Ken had several options when he came to explore North Avondale in 1992. He knew he wanted a fixer upper with a big yard. Once he walked into the foyer of 3 Revel Court, he knew he had found his home. Ken’s back yard is 13 acres of woods- all unbuildable, and with property taxes on that land being paid by the owner and adjoining neighbor on Washington Ave. Taking all of this into consideration, he told his realtor he would take it before he even looked at the upstairs. He just got a good feeling about the place!
The home was listed for $139,000. Ken had done his homework and discovered that in l992 most homes in North Avondale were on the market for more than one year before they sold. He got wind that the sellers of 3 Revel Court were in a hurry to get to their new location so he took a gamble and offered $90,000, as is, with no inspection. Surprising even his realtor, his offered was accepted! The home was in bad shape; for example, not one of the four bathrooms was functioning properly. Fortunately, he had been preapproved for a “purchase and remodel” loan; he had $100,000 to spend on home improvements but it had to be done in 90 days. Ken says it was not a problem to do this- and he could have spent more! (Well at least that part of homebuying in North Avondale may still be true for some of us!)
Ken loves the mix of ethnicities and religions on his small street. Ken has been active in NANA and NABA and I also learned he was someone who planted the Washington Triangle Garden years ago. This Beautification Chair thanks him and is glad that we have had volunteers come together in 2021 to get the garden in shape again!
Danny Adler, born in 1949, moved to 4009 Redbud Avenue in 1950 (from College Hill) with a brother and sister and his parents. While Danny was gone from North Avondale by 1971 (and his parents by 1975), I share his story and that of his family as a snapshot of what living in and growing up in North Avondale was like during the 1950’s and 60’s, even as you will find that Danny was never your “typical” Jewish kid.4
Mom and Dad: Danny’s mom, Emily Adler, grew up on Forest Avenue and his dad, Tom Adler, grew up on Beechwood Avenue. Emily’s family owned the Frank’s tea and spice company and were responsible for introducing mustard into the USA! Tom’s family owned the Adler Sock and Hosiery Company and ultimately patented socks with “SC” (Shrink control). After WWII with their factories aging, many small, family-owned, Jewish businesses were being taken over by larger stores, such as Sears, yet Tom did not bow to Sears. He hired a chemist to research a solution to wool socks that shrunk in the wash, got those processes patented, and negotiated with Sears to keep his name on his socks. Tom ultimately ended up as the Chairman of the Board for Burlington Coat Factory. Many families living in North Avondale at this time were Jewish merchants.
Danny mostly hung out with other Jewish kids from more conservative Eastern European families in the neighborhood. They played “cowboys and Indians” and all had major obsessions with Davy Crockett and his fuzzy hat. He still remembers the day in the Fall of l956 when a new l957 white on white Mercury convertible drove down the street into a neighbor’s garage. He said it was like a “spaceship sedately came down Burton Woods Lane”, with such huge tail fins, stopping long enough to show the boys how with a push of a button the top came up. Fathers were mostly business men, executive types, coming home at night with their suits on for cocktail hour – much like the TV show “Leave it to Beaver”.
Danny describes his siblings as “the good ones” and nearly a decade older than he was. Like many kids in the neighborhood, Danny went to North Avondale School. Yet, on the first day of kindergarten he says he was branded a “troublemaker” – a name that stayed with him until he left for Cincinnati Country Day in 5th grade. He describes the school in that era as built of “grey cement walls with air raid sirens on the roof and lots of air raid drills”. Things didn’t start out any better at CCD, when, on the first day, he made a major 5th grade faux pas. At the end of the school day, it was customary for the children to line up alphabetically and bid the teacher good night. The girls were first and did so with a courtesy to the teacher. Danny, was at the beginning of the line for the boys (Adler), followed suit and said good night and without knowing any better (it was his first day he says!) also did a courtesy. You can only imagine the reaction! Danny says it was a long bus ride to CCD with pipe smoking Walter as his bus driver. Even though his family were non observant Jews, he was hazed. He said he experienced mild antisemitism and became aware that he was different from other kids at CCD. And, he says, “it didn’t help that he was non-conformist, unpredictable and had a short attention span”. It was a culture change.
Around l962-63, Danny befriended David Golden, another neighborhood (Bond Hill) “exile” to CCD and they had a band called the “Bonneville’s”. Danny played the piano and realized that it got drowned out by the other instruments, so when David showed him how to play a few cords on the electric guitar he was hooked. He got his first guitar that Christmas for $50 from a pawn shop. It became “life changing” when he learned about Chuck Berry and the Beatles. Danny had discovered Rock n Roll! As a result, he got sent to a Boarding School in MA, with other “round pegs in square holes” for high school, graduating in l968.
Danny was back in Cincinnati for the summers, however, and he was playing music in jazz clubs and working at the factory. Many of the guys he played with at the clubs were black and he recalls playing 6 nights a week. One night in Sept. ’68 he was hanging out with 2-3 black guys and they all decided to go to The Clock Bar on Burnet Ave in Avondale against the better advice of other friends. The guys said “we’ll take care of you” and “everything’s cool”. However, when they walked into the bar, the “whole place went quiet” and the music stopped. He realized that “he was not going to be well received’. Some of the patrons followed him and his friends out and began beating them up and stole his watch. His friends tried to take care of him, as they said they would. Yet, Danny says, this experience never soured his outlook on black culture.
Danny went on from here to become a very successful musician and a RR Locomotive Engineer and while THAT story is outside the scope of THIS story, you may want to google him! Danny has a condo at The Regency for when he is back in Cincinnati. Having both visited and recorded at King Studios some time ago, he is part of a group trying to rescue the studio today.