The Baum-Longworth-Sinton-Taft House, a National Historic Landmark built about 1820 for prominent businessman Martin Baum, is the oldest domestic wooden structure in situ locally and is considered one of the finest examples of Federal architecture in the Palladian style in the country.
Other residents of this important villa included eminent attorney Nicholas Longworth, who hired African American painter Robert S. Duncanson to paint landscape murals in the foyer, now considered as one of the finest suites of domestic murals dating from before the Civil War.
After Longworth’s residency, the villa with a copper roof was purchased by David Sinton, iron industrialist and father of, Anna Sinton Taft. After Anna’s marriage in 1873 to Charles Phelps Taft, the couple lived in the mansion until their respective deaths in 1931 and 1929. In 1908, Charles Phelps Taft’s half-brother, William Howard Taft accepted the nomination for U. S. president underneath the house’s portico. The Tafts bequeathed their historic home and private collection of 690 works of art to the people of Cincinnati in 1927. After extensive remodeling and updating, the Baum-Longworth-Taft House opened as the Taft Museum in 1932.
The Taft Museum of Art reopened on May 15, 2004, following a major renovation and expansion, which included a parking garage, the Fifth Third Gallery for special exhibitions, Dater Education Room, Luther Hall performance/lecture facility, larger Museum Shop, and a Café.
Today, the Tafts’ distinguished collections are displayed in the Federal villa, which stands as the older part of one of the finest small art museums in the nation.