Historical marker, Horace Sudduth and the Manse Hotel

Manse Hotel and Annex

Walnut Hills has been home to a significant middle- and working-class Black community since the 1850s.[i] In 1931, African American entrepreneur Horace Sudduth bought 1004 Chapel Street[ii] and the row of buildings across the street, naming them the Manse Hotel and Annex.[iii] Over the years, Sudduth upgraded and expanded the rooms, restaurant, and other facilities.[iv] The Manse provided comfortable residential and transient lodging during segregation.[v] It appeared in the Negro Motorist’s Green Book between 1940-1963.[vi] Among its many famous guests were future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who attended the NAACP convention at the Hotel in 1946,[vii] and Frank Robinson, who lived in the Annex while the Reds’ 1956 National League Rookie of the Year.[viii] During its heyday, the Manse was the Walnut Hills place for food and entertainment.[ix] It closed in the late 1960s.[x]

More on Horace Sudduth below the footnotes

[i] “Early Black Churches,” Walnut Hills Historical Society, https://walnuthillsstories.org/stories/early-black-churches/, accessed March 19, 2022.

[ii]  “Mortgage Canceled,” Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, May 18, 1930, pg. 20.

[iii] “Manse Hotel and Manse Hotel Annex,” National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, https://www.ohiohistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/NR_ManseHotel_MP100004232.pdf, June 17, 2019, pg. 1.

[iv] “Manse Hotel and Manse Hotel Annex,” NRHP Registration Form, section 8, pg. 26.

[v] “Manse Hotel and Annex,” National Park Service, https://www.nps.gov/places/manse-hotel-and-annex.htm, last updated August 10, 2021. Accessed March 19, 2022.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] “Along the N.A.A.C.P. Battlefront,” The Crisis, June 1946, p. 181.

[viii] “Frank Robinson, the Color Line in Baseball, and the Manse Hotel,” Walnut Hills Historical Society, https://walnuthillsstories.org/stories/stories-frank-robinson-the-color-line-in-baseball-and-the-manse-hotel/. Accessed March 19, 2022.

[ix] The Union newspaper archives collection, June 12, 1947-September 1951. “Brilliant Social Affairs are planned,” (June 19, 1942), p. 3. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024234/1942-06-19/ed-1/seq-3/. Radel, Cliff, “A dance at the Manse,” Cincinnati Enquirer (February 23, 2014), p. AA12. Howard, Allen, “Hotel builder gave blacks a place for social events,” Cincinnati Enquirer (September 9, 1994), p. 15.

[x] Howard, Allen, “In Manse’s Dusty Ballroom Party’s been over 20 years,” Cincinnati Enquirer (July 2, 1969), p. 10.

Horace Sudduth (1888-1957)

Horace Sudduth was born in Covington, Kentucky,[i] and graduated from its segregated William Grant High School before becoming a Pullman Porter.[ii] By 1910, he had settled in Cincinnati’s West End and opened his own real estate office and other businesses.[iii] Sudduth opened offices in Walnut Hills around 1917, [iv] and by 1926[v] had moved there with his wife, Melvina (1888-1956).[vi] Sudduth founded the Industrial Building and Loan Company to provide savings accounts and mortgages at a time when redlining discouraged Black home ownership.[vii] His other businesses included Walnut Hills Enterprise Company, the Creative Realty Company, and Sudduth Real Estate Agency.[viii] A business and civic leader, Sudduth provided important entertainment, accommodation, and financial opportunities for the Black residents of Walnut Hills. When he died at 68, he was buried alongside his wife in Madisonville’s United American Cemetery.[ix]

[i] Registration Card, U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 for Horace Stanley Sudduth https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/15005804:1002?tid=&pid=&queryId=f3b8890b588459839e73f51dfc4e4a1d&_phsrc=Fgg3&_phstart=successSource. Accessed 23 March 2022.

[ii] Middleton, Stephen, “‘We Must Not Fail!!!’: Horace Sudduth, Queen City Entrepreneur,” Queen City Heritage 49 (Summer 1991), pg. 4. Please provide a pdf of this article as the website will not display.

[iii] “Horace Sudduth’s Real Estate Services in the West End During the 1910s,” Walnut Hills Historical Society, https://walnuthillsstories.org/stories/horace-sudduth-west-end/, accessed March 20, 2022. Could you provide the Cincinnati Commercial Tribute newspaper citation from 1916 that shows the “Established 1910” ad?

[iv] “Real Estate Transfers,” Cincinnati Commercial Tribune (July 1, 1917), pg. 3.

[v] Please supply the Williams Directory listing from 1926 showing the 2636 Park Avenue residence for Horace and Melvina? This is mentioned in your suggested text footnote 12.

[vi] Melvina V. Sudduth, “Hotel Owner’s Wife Dies; Mrs. Melvena Sudduth, 66” Cincinnati Enquirer (5 January 1956). Accessed 3-23-22. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/131635457/melvina-v-sudduth Both the 1910 Census and Sudduth’s 1917 World War I Draft Registration Card show him as single. I cannot find a marriage date for Melvina and Horace.

[vii] “Manse Hotel and Manse Hotel Annex,” NRHP Registration Form, section 8, pg. 22.

[viii] “Sudduth, Horace,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/277, last updated September 14, 2017. Accessed March 20, 2022.

[ix] Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky. “Horace Sudduth,” Find-a-grave. “Horace Sudduth, U.S. Business Leader, Succumbs,” Alabama Tribune (29 March 1957). https://www.newspapers.com/clip/98233174/obituary-for-horace-sudduth-aged-68/ Accessed 23 March 2022. Do you have a Cincinnati obituary for Sudduth?

ellation of their mortgage see ibid, May 18, 1930 p. 20. For early advertising of the Manse, see the Black-owned newspaper The Union edited by Wendel Dabney. Examples include June 9, 1932 p. 5, November 24, 1932, p. 7; 1933 October 19, p. 2, November 16, p. 2, December 28, p, 2 when the price of a weekly meal plan dropped from $7.50 to $7.00.

[iii] “YMCA News,” The Dayton forum. June 19, 1942, p. 3 under bold “Brilliant Social Affairs are planned”; story continued from p. 2 https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024234/1942-06-19/ed-1/seq-3/.

[iv] Victor Green’s Negro Motorist Green Book, published annually with variations on the title, is available online at https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/collections/the-green-book first listed Cincinnati in 1939 and included a reference to “The Candle Light In – 1004 Chapel St.” under Taverns. Beginning in 1940 the Manse had a Hotel listing though the “Candle Light” appeared as a tavern and a restaurant “The New Candle Light” was a third listing for the same address. Candacy Taylor Overground Railroad (Abrams Press, NY, 2020) offers a good introduction. On Green Book sites in Walnut Hills and Cincinnati see https://walnuthillsstories.org/projects/black-business-district-information-from-green-books/ and the linked map and data.

[v] On the NAACP convention where Thurgood Marshall received the Spingarn Medal, its highest award, see The Crisis, June 1946, pp. 181-182. See also NRHP p. 25.

[vi] NRHP p. 26. For local Black press coverage of improvements, see The Union articles: April 15, 1948 p. 2; January 19, 1950, ads: e. g. May 25, 1950, p. 2, touting chef Fred Goode; April 24, 1952, with the old standard ad (see note 2 above) which added the tag line “More for thee, see page 3” where a second ad touted “Rooms for Permanent Guests” Bellhop and maid service and circulating ice water, and “Kitchenette Apartments” presumably in the Annex.

[vii] On Robinson, see NRHP pp. 28-29. He lived in the Manse Annex not only for the 1956 season, but also for the off-season. Cincinnati Enquirer, August 30, 2015, online at https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/2015/08/30/-frank-robinsons-80th-birthday–time–remember-his-time–xavier/32462921/ . Another Black player for the Reds in 1956, “Big George” Crowe, also stayed at the Manse: Cincinnati Post August 9, 1956, p. 26, “Reds at Home and Work: George Crowe”.

[viii] NRHP pp. 28-29. See also the reminiscence in Allen Howard, “Hotel builder gave blacks a place for social events,” Cincinnati Enquirer, September 9, 1995, p. 15

[ix] Middleton, Stephen. “‘We Must Not Fail!!!’: Horace Sudduth, Queen City Entrepreneur.” Queen City Heritage 49 (Summer 1991): 2-20. Online at http://library.cincymuseum.org/journals/files/qch/v49/n2/qch-v49-n2-wem-003.pdf remains the definitive biographical sketch of Sudduth. On the whole he covers Sudduth’s business, philanthropic and social networks quite thoroughly. He includes a wonderful array of images. There are a few minor quibbles – he conflates Sudduth’s own eponymous real estate office from about 1910 with the publicly traded Creative Realty investment vehicle he founded a decade later, and he does not touch on Sudduth’s relations with Donald Spencer. But Middleton is by far the best source, and all the more remarkable for his thoroughness in the days before the internet. Sudduth was also profiled as one of “Three Cincinnatians of Worth” by Will Smallwood in Opportunity, 1947, pp 85-86 published by the National Urban League. It is a more intimate sketch, probably owing primarily to an interview, with little no documentation.

[x] Sudduth, Horace first appeared with an individual entry in the Williams Directory for 1909, listed as an insurance agent 516 W Court St. In also 1911 he appeared at the same address in the Real Estate section. For more information on early evidence of the real estate business see https://walnuthillsstories.org/stories/horace-sudduth-west-end/. The web page also shows Sudduth ran the Lincoln Theater, a vaudeville and motion picture house. On the Lincoln Theater see lease announcement, Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, January 21, 1915 p. 9. On another business, the Home Building and Improvement Company, see Cincinnati Enquirer, 21 Jan 1915, Page 13 (two notices); Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, “Ohio Incorporations,” April 7, 1915 Page 8.

[xi] Harry Senger, The Story of the Young Men’s Christian Association of Cincinnati and Hamilton County 1853-1953, Parthenon Press, no date, especially “Ninth Street Branch,” pp. 89-94 and “Camp Washington Simms,” p. 63. For contemporary accounts: “$100,000 Structure for Colored Y. M. C. A. Assured for Cincinnati,” Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, November 20, 1912 p. 3. “Assurance is given to Y. M. C. A. Workers: Fund for Erection of Building for Colored Folks Continues To Gain,” Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, May 30, 1913 p. 9. “Let Hands of Clock Complete Circuit for Second Time;” Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, June 7, 1913, p. 14. “$27,778.40 Raised by Colored People for New Y. M. C. A.” Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, June 10, 1913, p. 2. On the groundbreaking, “Colored Y. M. C. A.” Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, April 10, 1915, p. 5. On the opening, “Inspection Day at Negro Y. M. C. A.” Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, January 31, 1916, p. 7. On the fund raising, construction, and the early years of operation, see also “Horace Sudduth’s Charitable Work during the 1910s” on our web site https://walnuthillsstories.org/stories/horace-sudduth-charitable-1910s/

[xii] Sudduth leased the property at 1010 and 1012 Lincoln in July 1917, “Real Estate Transfers,” Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, July 1, 1917 p. 3 Sudduth’s Industrial Savings and Loan had office hours there 1 evening a week from 1920. The Walnut Hills real estate office at 1012 Lincoln Avenue, one block north of the site of the Manse, did not appear in the Williams Directory listing until 1926. The directory also listed Sudduth’s home address as 2636 Park Avenue in Walnut Hills beginning in 1926.

[xiii] Most of the major events surrounding the Industrial Savings and Loan, with slight variations of the name, appeared in The Union newspaper as either news items or advertisements. An ad that announced of the January 31, 1920 opening appeared in The Union, February 14, 1920, p. 4. The most informative is a story “Building and Laon Association a Success,” Ibid, July 24, 1920, p. 1. See also a display ad, “Financial Statement, Industrial Laon & Savings for the fiscal year ending January 22, 1921”, Ibid, March 12, 1921, p. 1. A display ad, “Start the new year with a savings account in The Industrial Savings and Loan Co.,” Ibid, December 31, 1921. The display ad “Annual Meeting of Stockholders” shown on this page, Ibid, February 4, 1922, p. 3.  For official documentation see “Building and Loan Associations that filed first reports during fiscal year ending June 30, 1921,” Thirty-first Annual Report of the Superintendent of Division of Building and Loan Associations of the State of Ohio, Springfield, 1921, p. xx [sic], and the report on p. 363; also, the routine report in ibid., 1922, p 198. Middleton, op. cit., pp 5-6. For more information see our website, https://walnuthillsstories.org/stories/horace-sudduth-industrial-building-loan/.

[xiv] On the Walnut Hills Enterprise Company, “a corporation organized and managed by colored men for the purposes of buying real estate and engaging in mercantile businesses” organized by Sudduth, see The Union, “Sales of Sudduth,” September 25, 1920, p. 1. The phrase also appeared in display ads, e. g. ibid, January 1, 1921, p. 3. The company appeared as a business filed July 19, 1920, selling groceries with capital of $20,000 in the Annual Report of the Secretary of State, to the Governor of the State of Ohio for the Year 1921, Springfield Ohio, 1921, p. 50. The company owned the building on the north east corner of Chapel and Alms and operated the grocery store there. Other storefronts and storerooms were rented out to other Black-owned businesses, including a drug store owned by successive Black pharmacists Archibald Dickerson and Anna Beckwith. The Enterprise Company continued to own the building until 1953: “About Town,” Cincinnati Enquirer March 8, 1953, p. 103. On the Creative Realty, display ad “Never before in the history of our group had an opportunity to invest in a safe, sound and sure money maker like THE CREATIVE REALTY COMPANY …” ibid, March 1, 1924 p. 4, or “ARE YOU DOING YOUR SHARE? You can become a part owner of the Creative Realty Company …” ibid, September 6, 1924 p. 2. For more information see our website https://walnuthillsstories.org/stories/irene-kirke/