Before there was Homearama, there was the Home Beautiful Exposition at Music Hall in Over-the-Rhine. From 1925 to 1936, the expo was held in the North Hall where each year an entire home — from the basement to the roof and even landscaping and grass — was constructed inside the hall.
According to Friends of Music Hall, a volunteer-based organization that helps preserve Music Hall and its history, each home featured modern luxuries of the time and were even furnished and decorated. The homes would be for sale and visitors could walk through the home and get an idea of what life would be like inside. The buyer would need to purchase a lot where the home, which would be dismantled and moved after the expo, could be reconstructed.
"Once purchased, they were moved into neighborhoods around town. You can still drive past many of them today," Mindy Rosen of Friends of Music Hall told CityBeat in an email.
While most of the homes are still standing today, for some, like the very first exposition home in 1925, the paper trail on what happened to the home is cold. According to research from Friends of Music Hall, there's no record on where the 1925 home was built. As for the final expo home in 1936, it's not known if it was ever purchased, and the home in 1929 was bought and placed at 4700 Reading Road, but was later torn down so the Norwood Lateral Expressway could be built.
However, if you would like to see the remaining homes, Rosen says Friends of Music Hall has created a driving tour you can take. You can also take an indoor tour of Music Hall that will take you behind the scenes and into the North Hall where these homes were first built.
"When you take a tour of Music Hall by one of the Friends of Music Hall tour guides, you never know what you might learn about this National Historic Landmark building," says Rosen.
Keep scrolling to see some of the Home Beautiful Exposition houses as they were in 1920s-30s and now.
Learn more history behind the homes here.
Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. More information about the Friends of Music Hall: www.friendsofmusichall.org.