Haussermann House, Pond Run Road, New Richmond, Ohio


Judge John Haussermann (1867-1965) seems like he was sent from Central Casting to play the Benevolent Boss in a film role. In real life, he hit all the TV tropes for one as both an avuncular business owner and a commanding but caring military figure. Fortune Magazine called him affable and well-upholstered. Newspaper articles referred to him as stubby and cheerful,  jovial, and a "good judge of men, gold, and cigars." (Time, though, only described him as roly-poly.)

His New Richmond, Ohio house even looks like the perfect film set for him. Sitting proudly on a swell of land near the Ohio River, the gleaming white mansion definitely looks like the home of a "Gold King" as he became known.

True to character, though, when he was in residence here, Haussermann preferred to be known instead as Farmer John of Pond Run Farm.

Today the house he built in 1936 still has that mix of Gold King meets farmer:

It's pretty, but not overdone.

The living room still looks like somewhere he could entertain General MacArthur (which he did), but not look like he was trying too hard.

If it were mine, I'd make it a better reflection of a well-traveled life:

Similarly, the dining room...

would benefit from putting on a little fancy dress:

The house has four stories, with the kitchen, den, two sunrooms and a guest bathroom rounding out the first floor.

The Fortune article mentioned that while the home was "curiously free of Phillippine trophies or any other suggestion that its owner lived abroad for the better part of forty years," Judge Haussermann proudly displayed a Cincinnati Reds pennant in his games room.

There are five bedrooms on the second floor. The house has seven bedrooms and ten bathrooms total in 8,590 square feet.

The third floor can be reached via the pretty, curving entry staircase or by the handy paneled elevator.

The lower level offers additional entertaining space for generals or fellow farmers.

Outside the slate patio overlooks the five acres, barn, tennis court, and pool and poolhouse.

When he wasn't living at Pond Run Farm, Judge Haussermann was in the Philippines, supervising the gold mine he helped re-establish and flourish after a typhoon destroyed it in 1911.

The Benguet Mine is still in operation today. Judge Hausserman, his wife Jessie Moonlight Haussermann and their sons lived in Manila for many years, but it's said that Jessie's enthusiasm for living there never quite matched her husband's. 

They were forced to come home to their Pond Run Farm when the Japanese invaded the Philippines in 1941, but Judge Haussermann still kept control of the mine. In fact, his neighbors complained when he was forced to conduct most of his business at home during WWII, which led to a 1952 U.S. Supreme Court case.

And speaking of the neighbors complaining, there's another story about this place. It seems the most recent owners are colorful characters, too, in the TV trope sense. All I'll say is caveat emptor, and maybe make sure no one has taken up residence in the grain storage shed if you buy the place.

The listing is here. A video tour is here

By the way, buried in all those well-upholstered articles were references how the judge helped his extremely flood-prone city of New Richmond, Ohio after the 1913 flood and many subsequent ones (he bailed them out), and how he subsidized local families and sent young people to college. He also improved working conditions for the Filipino miners, properly fitting him for the role of Benevolent Boss.

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