Enduring. Intriguing. Home.

The Timeless Elegance and Celebrated Legacy of an Indian Hill Landmark

Set on 10 acres atop a rise in The Village of Indian Hill, Fairlea Estate is a village landmark with an enduring legacy of gracious living.

Photography provided by Perrin March


This remarkable Indian Hill estate, originally known as Wellridge Estate, traces its history to the 1830s, when Hamilton County Engineer James Given acquired the land and began building a farmhouse for his family. Construction was completed by the next owner, John Symmes Buckingham, son of pioneering parents who helped settle Ohio.

Beginning in 1925, and for the following 60 years, the estate would change hands seven times. The list of former residents reads like a Who’s Who of Cincinnati, and includes financiers, industry leaders, preeminent physicians, noted philanthropists, celebrated hostesses, a millionaire energy magnate and the socialite mother of a world-renowned racecar driver and sports car designer.

The home’s first major remodeling, which included the addition of the pool, happened in 1927. Today, this stunning pool with its mosaic mermaid floor (added in the ‘70s) is one of oldest cement pools in Cincinnati.

In the 1930s, P&G vice president Stockton Busby renamed the home Fairlea Estate and oversaw additions that included the home’s grand two-story portico. Extensive remodeling followed in the ‘40s under the watchful eye of Elizabeth Kilgour Cunningham, widow of financier Briggs Cunningham and mother of racing legend Briggs Cunningham II.

For two decades, from 1950-1970, the home was in the care of William Wasson Ruxton, his wife Jane and their six children. The Ruxtons were celebrated hosts, and Fairlea Estate was the site of debutante parties, weddings and glittering dinner parties, as well as a meeting place for the Indian Hill Garden Club and a highlight of the 1969 Antiques Festival home tour.

In 1970, Jay and Dorrie Thompson purchased Fairlea Estate. The social couple hosted parties legendary in Indian Hill, including the night Lester Lanin’s orchestra entertained their guests. The Thompsons made extensive improvements to the estate, adding the pool house, tennis court, platform tennis court and gazebo, as well as commissioning the pool’s mermaid mosaic.

The current owners purchased Fairlea Estate in 1986 and have since renovated and updated the kitchen, and extended the home’s footprint by adding a large, open family room and an expansive first-floor wing that includes the master suite, guest suite with private bath, study, powder room and breathtaking glass-roofed conservatory. The wing’s lower level created additional living space, including a media room, game room, family room, craft room, tiled utility room with dog bath and storage space.

Additional buildings on the Fairlea Estate property include a stable, guest cottage, greenhouse and tractor barn. In a community renowned for its hunts, the barn (5 minutes from Clippinger Field) offers six stalls, a hayloft and tack area.

For generations, Fairlea Estate has been a welcome retreat for those fortunate enough to call it home. Currently on the market, it presents a rare opportunity to own one of Indian Hill’s most recognizable and beloved properties. 


To sell your historic home and to learn more about Fairlea Estate, contact Perrin March at Robinson Sotheby’s International Realty, 513.379.2253, perrin.march@sothebysrealty.com or visit www.perrinmarch.com.