A young newspaper reporter once stopped Cornelius J. Hauck on the street to ask an "opinionnaire" question. The article that subsequently appeared in the newspaper recorded Mr. Hauck's occupation as "gardener." This both pleased and amused him, for he often referred to himself as "a gardener, first and foremost . . . . I don't profess to be anything else," he said (Lackman 1960). Mr. Hauck was a Cincinnati businessman, civic leader, visionary, and a collector of rare books.
"a gardener, first and foremost"
During the forty years following his marriage in 1924 to his death in 1967, he amassed approximately 3,900 monograph titles relating to botany, horticulture, landscape architecture, agriculture and forestry dating from 1471 to the twentieth century.
Born in 1893, Cornelius Hauck was the son of Louis J. Hauck and a grandson of John Hauck, the founder (with John Windisch) of the Dayton Street Brewery in 1864. In 1882 Hauck incorporated the brewery as the John Hauck Brewing Company and served as its president. The brewery was on Dayton Street in Cincinnati's West End and the Hauck families lived nearby, John at 812 and Louis at 825 Dayton Street. In 1911 Louis Hauck and his family moved from Dayton Street to 425 Oak Street in Mount Auburn.
Cornelius attended Miss Sattler's School on Eden Avenue, Franklin High School, and the University of Cincinnati where he majored in chemistry and medicine. After graduation, he spent two years in Austria studying the brewing industry. He returned home at the outbreak of World War I and enlisted in the army as a pilot. Following the war, he joined the brewing company, which sold "beverages" during Prohibition. The John Hauck Company was reorganized as an investment firm after Prohibition. Cornelius Hauck was a director of the Lincoln National Bank, the Fifth-Third Union Trust Company, and the Little Miami Railroad. He was active in cultural organizations as well and served on the boards of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the May Festival Association, and the Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati.
In 1948, Mr. Hauck was appointed to the Cincinnati Park Board and was its President from 1957 until his retirement in 1966.
"Cities, to be competitive today, must be more than industries, highways, sewers, etc. . . . they must be beautiful."
Concerned with the urban environment, he was an early advocate of the city's Open Space Program, designed to preserve the natural beauty of the hillsides. "We must become more greenery-minded with the guiding star of persistent and continuous thought of restoring and amplifying the priceless living and growing gifts of nature," he wrote. "Cities, to be competitive today, must be more than industries, highways, sewers, etc. . . . they must be beautiful" (Hauck 1960, 29, 30). He led the drive that resulted in the acquisition of the initial parcel of land for Yeatman's Cove Park in 1960.
Mr. Hauck was a member of the boards of directors of the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and The Cincinnati Historical Society. Appointed Chairman of the Historical Society's Building Committee in the early 1960s, Mr. Hauck was a major contributor toward the construction of its quarters in the Adams-Emery wing of the Cincinnati Art Museum, completed in 1964. The plans for the society's quarters included a formal library for his book collection. Custom-designed display cases, mirrored so viewers could see every aspect of a book, were incorporated into the room. He began moving his collection to the library in 1964 and legally transferred ownership to the Society in 1966. When the Society moved to Union Terminal in 1990, the collection was moved and is stored in a vault adjacent to the Hauck meeting room funded by Frederick Hauck in memory of his brother.
Hauck, Cornelius J. Historical Guide: Sooty Acres Garden. Cincinnati: The Author, 1960.
Lackman, Libby. "Cornelius Hauck Champions More Parks, Greenery Here." Cincinnati Enquirer, May 12, 1960.