The Lane-Hooven House: A Timeless Treasure
The Lane-Hooven House was built in 1863 for Clark Lane, a Hamilton Industrialist and often thought of Hamilton’s first philanthropist, by James Elrick, Hamilton builder. The house,which because of its octagonal shape is widely regarded as Hamilton’s most unique residential structure, was sometimes called “Lane’s Folly.” Construction began in 1863 and took 11 months from commencement to completion. The doors were always open for every charity and aid society. The largest entertainment numbered more than 300.
Clark Lane’s company, Owens, Lane and Dyer, prospered mightily. The company manufactured a new mechanical marvel that could thresh and separate grain in one operation (both horse-drawn and steam-powered), a springtooth riding or horse-drawn rake, and, above all, the “road engine”, a steam engine that could be moved from place to place to power farm machinery.
In 1866, Lane built another octagonal building across the street from his home, this one in the Romanesque Revival style. It was to be used as a free public library.
Clark Lane married Sallie Coriell on Christmas Day 1845. To Clark and Sallie were born nine children, six of whom did not survive childhood. Mr. Lane moved to Elkhart, Indiana in 1892 to live with his son, Jacob. He died on September 4, 1907. Clark Lane’s funeral was held at the Lane Library and he was buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
The Lane-Hooven House was purchased in 1875 by John L. Martin, then president of the Second National Bank of Hamilton.
In 1882, the house was sold to Colonel Alexander Gordon, who was born in England in 1840. Colonel Gordon was secretary and later president of Niles Tool Works of Hamilton. The house was then occupied, and later inherited by Colonel Gordon’s niece, Mrs. C. Earle Hooven and her husband from 1895 until 1942.
Bertrand Kahn bought the home in 1942 and gifted it to the City as a memorial to his father, Lazard Kahn, for community use. Mr. Kahn stipulated, however, that for the duration of World War II, the Red Cross was to have use of the building. The Red Cross continued as its tenant until June 1, 1978.
Lazard Kahn and his brother founded the Estate Stove Company, one of Hamilton’s largest companies. Lazard Kahn resided in the home immediately adjacent to the Lane-Hooven House from 1885 until 1897 on the north side. The Kahn home is now occupied by the Butler County United Way.
Ownership of the Lane-Hooven House transferred to the Hamilton Community Foundation in 1951. The home's beauty reminds us of the rich history of our community. It inspires us to continue creating a stronger community one citizen at a time!
Self-guided tours available Monday - Friday - 9 am - 4 pm