in partnership withLocal 12 News
The Emery library / Image: Phil Armstrong, Cincinnati Refined /// Published: 10.26.16

Peterloon Was Built for Cincy's Famous Emery Family (And It's Unbelievably Gorgeous)

On its own website, the Peterloon Estate in Indian Hill is described in big, forest green block letters as “built to rival the grandest houses of Europe and America.”

36 rooms, 19 fireplaces, 21 baths, 1200 acres... it’s straight up staggering when you consider the immensity of this Georgian/Queen Anne style home built for one of Cincinnati’s most famous families: John J. and Irene Emery.


You might know John as the lead developer of downtown’s iconic Carew Tower. You know, the gigantic skyscraper which was the tallest building in Cincinnati for 80 years and also the prototype for New York’s Empire State building? Yeah, that one.

And you might know Irene as a philanthropist who did charitable work throughout her lifetime, using the Emery fortune to give back to the community. In a newspaper called 'The Union,' the Emerys were described simply as “that English stock whose blood ever fired at oppression, whose heart ever warmed to charity.”

Baseline: there’s a lot more to the family. Google ‘em—you’ll see. But the takeaway is the Emerys were pretty awesome and had an incredible house built in 1928.


The architect, William Delano, modeled it after a house in Belgium and incorporated historic European building materials into the design. So when you walk through much of the first floor, you’re walking on imported 400-year-old English and French wood. And that fireplace on the wall when you enter through the front door? It was made in the 1500s.

Unbelievable, I know.

It has a library, a gigantic kitchen, elaborately-decorated rooms in its original style, huge hallways, a massive garden area, a swimming hole that doubles as a fountain, and an area that was both an outdoor lounge area in the summer and an ice skating rink in the winter.

But one of my favorite things about the Peterloon Estate has to do with the architecture itself. The Emerys apparently loved animals, so they had most of the home’s exterior adorned with cement snails, dolphins, birds, and—get ready for it—even a gigantic pediment shaped like a basket of beagle puppies.

Show me one other mansion with a basket of gosh darned beagle puppies and I’ll eat the Carew Tower in one bite.


Simply put, today it’s an event space for rent featuring a basket of beagle puppies over an exterior door. Have a wedding, have a grand ball, have whatever lavish get-together your heart desires.

It doesn’t matter how I end this, because you just need to see the photos of this place to believe it. Our full gallery is above.

- - -

The Peterloon Estate is located at 8605 Hopewell Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242.