|St. Andrew's designed by C. C. "Doc" Weber.|
Weber was more than a designer of homes. He designed churches, civic buildings, schools, but he is perhaps most famous for designing the Governor’s mansion in Frankfort. It is a stunning Renaissance design built in 1914. He also designed about a dozen buildings for eastern Kentucky University between 1909 and 1940.
He designed many of the iconic buildings in Fort Thomas like Highlands High School, the old Woodfill Elementary School and its twin building at Johnson Elementary School, Ruth Moyer Elementary School, the Masonic Lodge, the First Baptist Church, Christ Church, Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, the Hiland Theater, and the 915 (formerly Enslen’s Grocery), a few apartment/business buildings at Inverness, as well as a few more business buildings. These are among the most recognizable structures in town. The schools and churches carry about them a stateliness or grandeur that elevates the spirit. He clearly understood the influence of architecture on the human spirit.
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Weber saw opportunity in the developing city and acquired land on the Riverside Parkway, Miami Parkway, Sunset, Oak Ridge area. He named his subdivision Briarcliff and then designed and built the most distinctive homes there. There is something that you probably won’t notice as you walk through the neighborhood and that is that the power poles run behind the houses because that would interrupt the overall visual impact of the neighborhood. This was an innovation for the time. Ann Ellison is Weber’s granddaughter and she says,“That was a remarkable idea at the time.” The streets are lines with mature shade trees and there is small park, named Weber Park, in the middle of an intersection that add a charm to the neighborhood.
|Weber Park on Riverside Drive.|
Many of the early residents of the Briarcliff subdivision were lawyers and doctors, but things took an interesting twist during the gangster era of the first half of the Twentieth Century. “Sleepout" Louis Levinson moved to the area from Chicago and first lived at 115 Riverside and then later moved next door to 119. Charles Lester, a lawyer who represented a handful of crime figures, lived on Lester Lane in a Weber home. Pete Schmidt, a local casino operator in Newport lived at 53 Oak Ridge. In 1937, Weber designed the Beverly Hills Country Club for Schmidt.
|Weber home in the Braircliff subdivision.|
She and her brothers Nick and Peter wrote a book about C. C. Weber. But her research never ends. Ellison says, “We have found, since the book was published, more that he did like … the courthouse in Wilmington, OH. The inside was the most remarkable thing he ever did. Just beautiful. Besides the interior of the courthouse, the Governor’s home is his best.” There wasn’t enough money to complete the gardens at the time but First Lady Phyllis George Brown, wife of Governor John Y. Brown Jr, found the plans and completed the gardens along with the renovation of the mansion. She says of her grandfather, “He was a great gardener.” So his design was finally complete.
|Inverness building designed by Weber.|