History : About The Barn

The history of the Barn can’t be separated from the history of the Village of Mariemont. This is that story.

In 1906, Mary Emery, a widow of means, employed town planner John Nolen to realize her vision in creating the Village of Mariemont.

Charles Livingood, Mary Emery’s advisor and manager, was the driving force in the many creations and accomplishments in the new village. Resthaven Farm was not originally part of the Mariemont plan. It was instead a social experiment, conceived by Mary Emery and designed by Hubert Reeves, to build pensioners’ cottages, a demonstration dairy farm, a hospital, and a convalescent home for retired employees of Emery Industries. She called it her Garden of Rest and named the area Resthaven. Several factors, including Mrs. Emery’s death in 1927 and the Great Depression, prevented the ambitious plan from being realized. Only the hospital (Mercy St. Theresa) and the barn group remain today.

Several factors, including Mrs. Emery’s death in 1927 and the Great Depression, prevented the ambitious plan from being realized. Only the hospital (Mercy St. Theresa) and the barn group remain today.

CLICK HERE to see a photo from 1926 showing Resthaven and the outlines of the new community.

During the 1930’s, the Lindner Quality Milk Company leased the dairy. The cottage was the creamery, where milk from farmers in the Goshen and Milford areas was processed. The Lindner family business left Mariemont, relocating to Norwood and founding United Dairy Farmers (UDF).

Over time the land around the barn became home sites, the cottage a private residence, and the barn served as the home for the Village of Mariemont’s Tax Office and Maintenance Department. When the Maintenance Department and Tax Office relocated, the future of the barn was uncertain and demolition was a real possibility.

In 2007, The Mariemont Preservation Foundation and the Woman’s Art Club of Cincinnati joined forces to save the barn and with the help of the Preservation Foundation, the Woman’s Art Club created the Woman’s Art Club of Cincinnati Foundation to purchase, renovate, and repurpose the former dairy barn as a cultural arts center. The Woman’s Art Club donated $50,000 to the Foundation for the down payment for the barn and the Foundation successfully purchased the property at auction. And The Barn became the Woman’s Art Club Cultural Center.

In 2008, Carl and Edyth Lindner donated $485,000 to the Foundation for the renovation of the west wing of the Barn (known as the Lindner Family Wing) which houses the classroom and kitchen. In fact, the Lindner family continues to be supportive of The Barn.

In November 2011 the Mariemont Town Crier featured a tribute to Carl Lindner.
Click here to download the excerpted tribute

Today the Woman’s Art Club Cultural Center | The Barn serves as a vibrant community arts center open to all. The Barn preserves its link to the history of Mariemont through its sensitive, respectful restoration of Resthaven Barn and our art programs and exhibitions reflect Mary Emery’s life passion: “She embarked on a philanthropic program that endowed or initiated children’s programs, … an art museum, … various cultural agencies, and other causes that benefited humankind.” (Words from “Rich in Good Works” by Millard F. Rogers Jr, description on GoodReads).

The Woman’s Art Club of Cincinnati

The Woman’s Art Club of Cincinnati was founded in 1892 by 19 women artists, and today The Club is more than 250 women strong and is the oldest Woman’s Art Club operating without interruption in the United States.