A byproduct of the Gilded Age, Cincinnati’s Laurel Court was a gift from Peter Thomson to his wife, Laura. A self-made multimillionaire, Peter Thomson made his fortune with paper. After getting his start in the book trade, he founded the Champion Coated Paper Co., which later became Champion International.
After Laura and Peter Thomson died, nearly 23 acres of Laurel Court’s gardens were sold off as the mansion passed through family hands until it was sold — first to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 1947, where it was home to Archbishops McNicholas and Alter, then to pizza extraordinaire and all around nice guy Buddy LaRosa (LaRosa’s Pizza) in 1977. The property has sold a few times since Mr. Larosa’s ownership and is currently a private residence, occasionally used for event rentals and tours, additional information about Laurel Court can be found here.
When it was home to the Thomson’s and the archbishops, the house was a place of wonder and often guarded by nuns, thus few average citizens of Cincinnati had the nerve to approach or even make it past the front gates. Today, people still want a sneak peek. A sign mounted on the estate’s driveway announce that attack dogs, security cameras and armed guards wait to welcome the over-curious.
Times and College Hill have changed since Peter Thomson built his marble-laden dream home near Cincinnati. Once a rural village, an hour’s ride from downtown Cincinnati, the close-knit, racially diverse and economically mixed neighborhood is now minutes away from all parts of town.
Laurel Court features 7.5 acres of manicured grounds including sculptures and fountains.
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*images via laurelcourt.com