Know what was Madeira’s hub during 19th century?

By Regina Villiers. Originally published July 21, 1993 in The Suburban Life, added July 13, 2017.

The Muchmore Building as it looked about 1915. At the time of this picture it had been remodeled. The third floor where the dances were held had been removed, as had the outside steps on the end of the building, leading up to the upper floors.

In the last part of the 19th century, social life in Madeira centered close to home.  The railroad and the horse and buggy gave the only transportation.

Sometimes, city folks from Cincinnati came out to visit their country relatives in Madeira.  They’d usually stay at least a week because it cost 90 cents one way on the railroad, too much to waste on a shorter stay.

For entertainment, there were hayrides, box suppers at the Methodist Church, and lawn fetes with lots of good food to eat.

Dances were sometimes held in some of the Madeira homes.  If the home had a rug or carpeting, the floors would always be covered with heavy canvas for the dances.

The public dances and events were held in the Muchmore Building.

The Muchmore Building was located on Miami Avenue across from the old location of the George Meyer Company.  The building sat next to the railroad at the corner of Dawson Road.

According to Warren Joy, local historian, it was built by E.G. Muchmore.  It was owned by his brother, Joseph A. Muchmore, who was the grandfather of Miss Cleo J. Hosbrook.

Miss Hosbrook has given a detailed description of the building.

The dances and plays were held, she says, upstairs on the third floor.  Entry to them was gained by outside steps leading up the outside of he Dawson Road end of the building.  With her finger, she outlined on the picture how the steps zigzagged up to the door.

The dances would start early and end by 10 p.m. since people who lived out had to come by horse and buggy.  Oil lamps provided the lighting.  Local musicians provided the music and entertainment.  Refreshments would be served some time around 9 p.m., usually doughnuts and cider.

A young man ran a forerunner of the parking garage and would take care of the horses during the dances for 10 cents per customer.

Miss Hosbrook says the door on the right of the front of the building went to the post office.  Her grandfather, Joseph A. Muchmore, was the postmaster.  When he became too ill to continue, his daughter, Jeanette, Cleo’s “Aunt Nettie,” took over the job.

The door on the left went to a general store, which occupied the other end of the building.

The store had oil by the barrel and you could buy crackers for five cents a pound, she says.  Vinegar, for sale, was kept in a barrel, and so were the pickles.

You could buy any amount of anything you wanted, she says.  There was no food packaging in those days.  Everything was sold in loose amounts and the customer provided his own container.

The Muchmore Building was also the voting site for Madeira on election days.

The tiny building to the left of the Muchmore Building at one time housed a shoe shop operated by a man named Swaggery (as Miss Hosbrook remembers), who lived in Madisonville.

The old Muchmore Building was eventually remodeled and the third story was removed.  Oscar Meyer thinks this happened between 1910 and 1915.  It was done, he says, because the building sat only six to eight feet from the railroad tracks.  When trains came by, the building would shake, and it was feared that it would become unstable.

By 1940 the building was condemned and no longer in use.  Children whispered that it was haunted.

Sometime later it was torn down.  Meyer isn’t sure when – he thinks it may have been in the 1940’s.

But, for a long time, the old Muchmore Building was the hub of Madeira.  Much of the life of Madeira people, both business and social, was centered within its walls.  It’s an important part of Madeira’s history.

Joseph A. Hosbrook, postmaster, standing in front of the Madeira postoffice when it was located in the old Muchmore Building on Miami Avenue. He was the grandfather of Cleo J. Hosbrook.