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Centenary of the Publication of The Beautiful Homes of Cleveland

Updated: Feb 29


Previous Beacon articles highlighted the Edgewater neighborhood in the Gilded Age, which ran from the 1870s to about 1900, when a small number of imposing mansions hugged the shore of Lake Erie along Lake Avenue. Without exception, those mansions were demolished shortly after the turn of the twentieth century and were gradually replaced with more modest, but still distinctly grand homes. The aesthetic appeal of this second generation of Edgewater residences was recognized early on, as illustrated, quite literally, in the publication Beautiful Homes of Cleveland, which was published by the Cleveland Topics Company in 1917.

Beautiful Homes of Cleveland was a photographic presentation of approximately one hundred “of the most beautiful homes” in the Cleveland area. The book grouped the homes into six areas: the Euclid Group, the Wade Park Group, the Bratenahl Group, the Heights Group, the West Side Group, and the Suburban Group. The West Side Group features a small, but readily familiar representation of homes from the Edgewater neighborhood. This article extracts the photographs of the featured Edgewater homes and provides supplemental information regarding the homes and their original owners.

The first home from the Edgewater neighborhood featured in the publication was built at 10324 Lake Avenue in 1914 for Henry T. Holmes (1863-1938) and his wife Gussie (1863-1959). Mr. Holmes had been the president of the Holmes-Shepherd Lumber Company, which was located at the junction of Pearl Road and Scranton Avenue.

The 1920 U.S Census recorded that Mr. and Mrs. Holmes lived in the home with their adult children Ruth E. and Erwin L., as well as a servant, John Slavens.

Interestingly, the 1930 U.S. Census shows that even after Mr. Holmes sold his Lake Avenue residence he stayed in the neighborhood as he and Mrs. Holmes are recorded as residing at 10418 Edgewater Drive with their maid, Celia Moran. The 1940 U.S. Census records that, after Mr. Holmes died, Mrs. Holmes continued to reside on Edgewater Drive along with her son, Erwin, his wife, their three children, and a servant. Eventually, Mrs. Holmes moved to Shaker Heights, where she died at the age of 95. She and her husband are buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

The Holmes home was designed by architect Gustave Bernard Bohm (1874-1934). It was also featured in a heavily photographed article showcasing Mr. Bohm’s residential works in The Ohio Architect, Engineer, and Builder (Mr. Bohm’s Work, December 1916, pp. 32-43). Mr. Bohm designed several other homes in the Edgewater neighborhood (such as the Christian Schuele residence, 10498 Lake Avenue, 1914), as well as the more famous Faerber-Morse mansion at 13405 Lake Avenue in Lakewood.

The Cleveland Landmark Commission’s Cleveland Architects Database provides the following information about Mr. Bohm:

Gustave B. Bohm attended West High School, and graduated from Columbia University. His brother Max Bohm was a well-known artist who lived in Paris. He was mostly noted as a residential architect with most commissions on the west side of Cleveland and Lakewood. He lived at 8912 Detroit Avenue, where his parents had lived, later moving to 19429 Frazier in Rocky River. He wrote the article "The American Adaption of A Swiss Chalet" for the September 1908 Ohio Architect and Builder, and "How the Architect Helps the Home Builder" in Material Facts, May 1915. He is buried in Lakeview Cemetery.

The next home from the Edgewater neighborhood included in Beautiful Homes of Cleveland was built for Gustav Adolph Weitz (1862-1911) at

10405 Lake Avenue in 1908.

Mr. Weitz had been president of Forest City Ice Company, which proudly advertised that the ice it sold was not obtained from within the city limits.

The 1910 U.S. Census recorded that Mr. Weitz lived in the home with his wife Mary K. (1857-1929); his adult children Albert, Josephine, Elsie, Elfreda, and Emma; and their servants, Amelia Nurnberg, Frederica Aberle, and Salmon Dile. By the time of the 1920 U.S. Census, the census records that only Mary Weitz and her daughter Elsie still loved at the house. Mrs. Weitz died in August 1929.

The Cleveland Landmark Commission’s Cleveland Architects Database records that the home was designed by William W. Hodges (1867-1923). The database records the following information regarding Mr. Hodges:

W.W. Hodges was born in Troy, Geauga County, Ohio and went to grammar and high school in Hart, Michigan. He came to Cleveland in 1888 and took up the study of architecture. In June 1894 he and brother Fred F. Hodges formed the firm of Hodges and Hodges, that was dissolved in 1900 when he went into business for himself. He designed several churches and schools for the Roman Catholic diocese. He lived at 2062 West Boulevard.

The next home featured was that of Ellen M. White (1850-1924), located at 11006 Edgewater Drive, which was built in 1910.

Readers may recall that Mrs. White was previously profiled in the spring 2015 Beacon along with her husband, William J. White, the “Chewing Gum King.” Mr. and Mrs. White divorced in October 1906 and, while Mr. White moved from the Thornwood estate they shared while married to New York, Mrs. White stayed in the Edgewater neighborhood, eventually moving from the 52 room Thornwood mansion to the more modest home she had built on Edgewater Drive.

The 1920 U.S. Census records that Mrs. White lived in the Edgewater residence with her adult son, William B., and a housekeeper, Mary Mastin. Mrs. White died at her residence in 1924 and is buried in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland alongside her ex-husband, William, who had died in 1923.

The Cleveland Landmark Commission’s Cleveland Architects Database records that the home was designed by Frank B. Meade (1867-1947) and records the following information regarding Mr. Meade:

Frank B. Meade was born in Norwalk, Ohio and educated in the Cleveland public schools, graduating from Central High School. He graduated from Wesleyan College and Boston Tech (later known as Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in 1888. He spent four years in Chicago working for the firm of Jenney and Mundie before returning to Cleveland in 1893 where he worked in the offices of Charles Schweinfurth and George H. Smith. He opened an office in 1895. From 1896-7 he was in partnership with Alfred Hoyt Granger; from 1898 to 1905 he was in partnership with Abram Garfield; and from 1911 to 1939 his was associated with James M. Hamilton. Throughout his career, no matter the makeup of the firm, he was known as the architect of some of the city's finest residential projects built in the early 20th century, including numerous residences in the Euclid Heights development and Shaker Heights. He was known for the English domestic style of architecture. He designed houses for wealthy patrons throughout his career. He also designed several clubhouses and commercial buildings. He was appointed a member of the Cleveland Group Plan Commission after the death of Daniel Burnham.

The final Edgewater home featured in the book was Bramleigh Park, located at 11420 Harborview Drive, which was built in 1915 for Matthew Frederick Bramley (1868-1941).

Mr. Bramley was president of the Land Title Abstract Company, the Cleveland-Massillon Company, the Cleveland Trinidad Paving Company, and Templar Motors. He also served in various elected public offices. Mr. Bramley and Bramleigh Park were subjects of an article in the fall 2015 Beacon written by David Buehler. Pertinent information from that article includes the following:

One owner, Mr. Matthew F. Bramley, owner of the Westwood Estate, which was minus the mansion from the fire, decided to develop his portion of the Lake Avenue land through his own Land Company, the ‘Land & Title Abstract Co.” (est. 1907), calling this new housing development by the name of “Bramleigh Park” and selling lots through the Real Estate Dept. of the Cleveland Trust Bank Co.

Mr. MF Bramley also built his new house on the shores of Lake Erie as part of the new land development project to replace the residence Westwood which had burnt down in 1908. On April 13, 1915, a city building permit was taken out for the new house with the new address of 11420 Harborview Drive. It was designed by noted local architect, William S. Lougee, with the building being described as a 85’ft. x 38’ft two story structure with clay tile roof.

The Cleveland Landmark Commission’s Cleveland Architects Database records the following information about William S. Lougee (1867-1935):

William S. Lougee was born in Buckfield, Maine and received his education in Boston. In 1884, at the age of seventeen, he went to work for architect Tristam Griffin and remained in that office for six years before moving to Cleveland. He was associated with Adolphus Sprackling in 1892 as the Cleveland Architectural Company. He had his own office in Cleveland in 1893. In 1895 he was working with George Steffens. He was associated with architect John Eisenmann until 1900. From 1901 to 1905 he was assistant architect for the Board of Education. On April 4, 1905 during the Mayoral administration of Tom L. Johnson he was appointed deputy inspector of buildings and on March 4, 1907 he was made the chief building inspector. He resigned his City position at the end of 1909 when Johnson left office and resumed a private practice. During the administration of Newton D. Baker (1912-5) he supervised the construction of Cleveland City Hall. He later became City Architect and Building Commissioner under the administration of Mayor Ray T. Miller (1932-3).

References:

For a wonderfully informative and well-researched Lakewood Historical Society monograph on the Faerber-Morse Mansion see

http://www.lakewoodhistory.org/pdf/Newsletters/Faerber-Morse%20House.pdf

For online access to Beautiful Homes of Cleveland at the Cleveland Public Library website, see http://cplorg.cdmhost.com/digital/collection/p128201coll0/id/2658

For online access to the article, Mr. Bohm’s Work, see

https://books.google.com/books?id=GHcoAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA5-PA32&dq=mr.+bohms+works&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjNmJm67e_RAhUM74MKHb3KBhsQ6AEIJTAC#v=onepage&q=mr.%20bohms%20works&f=false

For online access to the valuable and searchable Cleveland Landmark Commission’s Architects Database, see

http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/landmark/arch/architects.php


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