Leaders of the Cleveland business community soon built homes, including Dennis Upson, president of the Upson Nut Company; George Hascall, president of Hascall Paint Company; Alva Bradley, chairman of the Cleveland Builders and Supply Company; Edward Brown and Ernest Brown of the Brown Brothers Stores; A. V. Root and S. K. Root of The Root-McBride Company; Benjamin Bourne, president of the Bourne-Fuller Company; and George Canfield, president of the Canfield Oil Company. They were followed by other prominent families, including those of Joseph O. Eaton, chairman of the Eaton Axle and Spring Company; Amos Barron, president of the Amos Barron Company; Charles Cassingham, president of the Cassingham Coal Company; and Samuel Halle of Halle Brothers Department Stores. By 1912, 31 homes had been built in Ambler Heights. By 1920, Ambler Heights included about 56 homes of similar style and quality. By 1927, building of the district was substantially complete.
Many of the homes in Ambler Heights were designed by the city’s leading architects, including Frank B. Meade and the firm of Meade and Hamilton; Walker and Weeks; Abram Garfield; Charles S. Schneider; Howell and Thomas; Bohnard & Parsson and Harlen E. Shimmin. In addition, several homes were designed by Boston architect Charles R. Greco. They are mostly in the Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival styles. There also are examples of Georgian Revival, Italian Renaissance Revival, Prairie School, French Renaissance Revival and Shingle Style designs.
The Ambler Heights homes clearly reflect then-evolving concepts of suburban home design: a sense that domestic architecture should have aesthetic merit, but should be designed for comfortable family living. Rather than being tall and formal, homes generally have a long horizontal dimension parallel to the street. The garden facades are often viewed as equally important as the street front and are as architecturally developed; many feature elaborate permanent garden layouts and decorations. Facades feature the natural textural qualities of stone, brickwork, wood and small panes of window glass. Interiors include spaces planned for the comfortable grouping of people-large living rooms with fireplaces as focal points, private spaces such as studies and libraries, and sunrooms and porches oriented to the garden. Homes are elaborate in their detail, reflecting an interest in craftsmanship and materials, and are very well-built, taking advantage of the high quality of handicraft that was still available.
*since this writing it was discovered that Nathan Ambler fathered two children outside of his marriage (see “The View from The Overlook” Issue no 48 Spring 2022).