For Sale: The Historic Lindenberg-Tarpy Residence in Marble Cliff

Michelle Sullivan

It's not uncommon for strangers to stand at the edge of Dave and Ria Bell's long driveway and tilt their heads as they peer toward the moss-green mansion in the foreground of a grassy plot carved from thick woods. It's a curious property, much grander than most in tiny Marble Cliff. The five-bedroom house is not quite a Craftsman and not quite a Victorian, but a striking mixture of both. What's not immediately evident is the estate at 1122 Cambridge Blvd. rests inside a public park, land the village purchased in 2000 to preserve the property, which at the time was abandoned and deteriorating.

Architect Frank Packard, of Bryn Du Mansion and Seneca Hotel fame, designed the original home for Frank Lindenberg in 1905; Lindenberg had grown up in the Old Governor's Mansion on Broad Street (also Packard's design). He was president of the Columbus Brass Co., one of several companies founded by his father, Charles, and he owned the Ohio Sugar Kane Co., which was headquartered in Texas. He built the home in Marble Cliff as a Midwestern getaway, says Tom DeMaria, a trustee with the Grandview Heights Marble Cliff Historical Society. Though the house was quite large, "none of the interior features were extravagant or elaborate," DeMaria says. "There were no marble staircases. It was probably just functioning as a summer home." The Lindenbergs were a prestigious family of the kind of wealth that could afford a second home, with its own manmade pond and island, for only a few months of the year-and on a golf course, at that. The property was located on the eighth green of the Arlington Golf and Country Club. The exclusive neighborhood was a private community much like Muirfield Village is today, DeMaria says.

Decades ago, Thomas Tarpy purchased the home from the Lindenbergs and made a few changes, like adding a breezeway terrace over the driveway that leads to additional bedrooms. Though neither family has occupied the house since the late 1990s, it's still known among residents of Marble Cliff and Grandview as the Lindenberg-Tarpy residence.

By 2000, the vacant house was in desperate need of repair and had been overrun by woodland critters. Rumblings that a developer planned to purchase the land and demolish the historic home made their way through the tight-knit community. To prevent this, voters approved a tax increase that allowed the village to purchase the land and the house, which it sold at auction along with about 1 of the property's original 8 acres. The rest was added to Tarpy Woods, a forested 15-acre public park that stretches southwest from the end of Cambridge to another mansion on Lincoln Road, also a former Lindenberg family property.

When the Bells bid on the house in 2003, the village council was careful to thwart any restorations that would jeopardize the originality of the home. As a result, the house appears nearly exactly as Packard designed it. Six pillars still flank the front porch, and the new sloping roof is still reminiscent of an arts-and-crafts bungalow, though its shingle-style siding is painted light green instead of deep burgundy.

Ria is a real estate agent, and Dave is a contractor; they completed the renovation themselves. The Bells restored the hardwood floors that had been buried under carpet and stripped the lavishly carved wood fireplace of its oppressive paint. Original brass light fixtures deck the upstairs hallway and bedroom walls, and the master bathroom still boasts its antique claw-foot tub. In the dining room, built-in china cabinets and a serving buffet fulfill their original purpose.

Because much of the land that surrounds the Lindenberg-Tarpy house is maintained by Marble Cliff, owners are bequeathed the privacy of a multi-acre property without the burden of laborious yard work. Much of what appears to be their spacious lawn is actually Tarpy Woods. Even their long, private driveway is now an extension of Cambridge Boulevard. So when the leaves and snow begin to fall, the city rakes and plows.

Thanks to the foresight of a small village and its residents, frolicking children and meandering adults continue to roam the quaint park and explore the tangled woods behind the Lindenberg-Tarpy house, just as they have for a hundred years.

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1122 Cambridge Blvd., Marble Cliff

Listing price: $1,285,000

Listing agent: Ria Bell, Coldwell Banker King Thompson