John Hartness Brown’s stone home was designed by Alfred Hoyt Granger and pairs the Romanesque tradition with elements of the Gothic, most notably the flattened arch windows. Nearby Brown’s Gothic-inspired mansion, William L. Rice’s brick colonial revival home on Overlook Road offered a stark contrast. This massive Neoclassical residence had a two-story ionic colonnaded porch, and each end of the porch was punctuated by a protruding temple front. The mansion has since been demolished to construct the eight-story Waldorf Tower apartment building.
In 1897, approximately a dozen new residents moved to Euclid Heights. Most located their homes along Overlook, Edgehill, and Kenilworth roads. The new residents came from many different occupations: insurers, merchants, brokers, bankers, doctors, lawyers, and real estate agents. Many relocated here from the prominent streets of Euclid and Prospect Avenues. However, those with smaller budgets could also find their place in Euclid Heights: in 1897 a stenographer and a clerk built their homes on the allotment’s smaller lots.
The following year, 1898, brought nearly as many new residents as the previous year, most of whom clustered on Berkshire, Kenilworth, and Derbyshire roads. As in earlier years, many wealthy professionals relocated to Euclid Heights: merchants, real estate agents, engineers, and lawyers. They relocated from the foot of the bluff, as well as from Cleveland’s near west side.
Howell Hinds constructed his residence on Overlook Road in 1898. This Romanesque residence boasted an interior of the Art Nouveau style with much of the glass work done by the Tiffany Studios. It was demolished in the 1930s to make way for the Neoclassical Christian Science Church.
1898 was also the year that Patrick Calhoun completed his first Euclid Heights house at 2460 Edgehill Road. Designed in the Tudor style by this neighbors, Frank B. Meade and Alfred Hoyt Granger, the two and one-half story residence is boxy in massing, but exhibits a complex, multi-gabled roof, complete with jerkin head gables and half timbered gable ends. For the owner of the elite subdivision, this was a modest residence, executed in wood and relatively small compared to its neighbors. However, Calhoun obviously built this as his vacation home, living in Euclid Heights only during the summer in the early years. Today, the veranda and two bay windows have been removed.
Later, Calhoun would construct a three-story brick palazzo at 2620 Derbyshire, but it has since been destroyed. Designed by Frank B. Meade just after the turn of the century, it was one of the largest residences, if not the largest, in the subdivision. It included twelve bedrooms, a ballroom, six servant bedrooms, and an interior courtyard. This sizable house was ideal for Calhoun, his wife, eight children, and hired help. Later, in about 1917, the house was inhabited by Dr. George Crile, one of the founders of the Cleveland Clinic, and his family. Crile operated a biophysical laboratory in the basement of what he called “House on the Hill.” Demolished in the 1940s to make way for the Cedar Avenue Baptist Church, all that remains is the coach house on Overlook Lane.
Early residents of the southwest corner of the subdivision, Myron T. Herrick, Edward O. Gordon, Melvin B. Johnson, and Howard Eells, purchased four small lots near one another on which to group their carriage houses. This way the necessary, but not particularly desirable structures, could be distanced from the residences. Today, while many of the residences these carriage houses serviced have been demolished, the cluster of four outbuildings has been preserved and is known as the Herrick-Mews district.
By 1898 thirty families resided in the community. Additional structures included St. Alban’s Episcopal Church and the Euclid Heights Office. The church had been moved on rollers from the bottom of Murray Hill to the site Calhoun donated. After the move, its name was changed from St. Andrews-in-the-East to St. Alban’s. At this time, not all streets in the subdivision were completed. Kenilworth, most of Overlook, and parts of Derbyshire, Berkshire, and Edgehill roads, as well as a small portion of Euclid Boulevard had been “improved.” Scheduled work for the upcoming year included the near-completion of Berkshire, Edgehill, Kent, and Overlook, as well as portions of Hampshire, Norfolk, and Overlook Lane.
Only a few new residents came to the area in 1899 and 1900, but again in 1901, construction increased. At least fifteen more families made their homes in Euclid Heights, ranging from a cashier and a gardener to several attorneys. It was this same year that the hamlet of Cleveland Heights was formed. This included Euclid Heights as well as some adjacent subdivisions and outlying areas.
In 1906 Dr. Charles Briggs constructed what would be one of the largest estates in Euclid Heights. Designed by renowned Cleveland architect Charles Schweinfurth, its thirty rooms included a ballroom wing for local children’s dance classes. The grounds around the castellate Tudor mansion included a swimming pool, stable, gardener’s cottage, a playhouse, and formal plantings. The residence was demolished in 1965 for four condominiums, and only the ballroom, stable, playhouse, and stone perimeter wall remain today.
In 1909 Howard Eells moved his family to the Heights, locating his home at the top of Cedar Hill, in an English Tudor stone house designed by Frank Meade. Eells was involved in banking, oil, and manufacturing. This residence was demolished in 1951 to make way for an apartment building.
Euclid Heights represented one of many suburban developments available in the greater Cleveland area. The period of 1900 until 1910 brought dramatic growth to the once rural areas of Cuyahoga County. In this decade, Cuyahoga County saw an increase of over fifty percent in its agrarian areas. People were slowly moving from the congested inner cities and creating rural enclaves which, in only twenty years, would become dense suburban areas, no longer eligible for the title “rural.”
As the population of the subdivision grew, more improvements were financed. In September, 1911, the Euclid Heights Committee reported that the pavement on Edgehill between Cornell Hill and Kenilworth was near completion, and noted the unchanged poor condition of Cedar Glen. In 1912 it appeared that Euclid Heights was caught between an urban and rural character. The Report of the Euclid Heights Committee makes note of the problem of automobile companies using Cornell Hill to test their vehicles. Testers would speed up the hill and then across the subdivision. At the same time the residents had to deal with horses from the “Italian settlement” grazing on their properties.
Euclid Heights Governmental Legislation
On April 9, 1901, the first meeting of the Trustees of the Hamlet of Cleveland Heights was held. One month later, the first ordinance was passed, prohibiting ale, beer, and porter houses, as well as other places which sold intoxicating liquors. On June 8, 1901, the Trustees of the Hamlet began their quest for modern conveniences and passed an ordinance to grant the Cuyahoga Telephone Company permission to erect, construct, and operate telephone lines within the hamlet of Euclid Heights. It was about this same time that door-to-door mail delivery was established in Euclid Heights.
The autumn of 1901 brought the adoption of appropriations for the purpose of opening Euclid Heights Boulevard as a public roadway. April 6, 1903, marked the first election in the Village of Cleveland Heights, and not entirely surprising, the first trustees included John G.W. Cowles, John Spence, and William T. Quilliams, all residents of the Heights prior to the development of Euclid Heights.
Early in 1903 the forty-six families of Euclid Heights united to form the Euclid Heights Improvement Association. Led by Charles E. Adams, Thomas Hogsett, and S.M. Bond, the group sought to secure modern conveniences. Each family was assessed $5 per month to help pay for a day and night watchman, street cleaning, street lighting, and basic costs.
While the residents had established a local government, the population was still not large enough to merit the construction of a City Hall. It was not until 1909 that the first permanent governmental structure was constructed. Appropriately, it was constructed near the community’s first village center known as Fairmount.
By 1907, Euclid Heights was a haven for socialites in the Cleveland area. Sixty-nine families who resided in the subdivision were listed in The Blue Bookover 75 percent of the entire number of families in the subdivision.
Recreation in Euclid Heights
In keeping with the needs of the bourgeois that moved to this new subdivision, a golf course was planned as the chief recreation facility. As early as 1897, links were available to Euclid Heights residents. This early course was abandoned when the Euclid Golf Club was later constructed. Cleveland’s society newspaper, Cleveland Town Topics, reported on December 1, 1900, that the construction of the Euclid Heights club house was underway, and that a golf pro from Detroit, W.H. “Bertie” Way was busy perfecting the links.
Euclid Golf was only the second course in greater Cleveland, the sport only recently having gained recognition in the United States. Many were unfamiliar with the game. In fact, a lengthy article in The Plain Dealer of 1897 explained the concept and history of the game.
The brainchild of Calhoun and architect Frank Meade, the Euclid Golf links opened on July 4, 1901, while the $50,000 club house opened in August of that same year. The structure was near the center of the golf links with a view of the lower nine holes, the fairway, and the tennis courts, as well as the Cleveland skyline and Lake Erie.
The Euclid Club had a Tudor style club house with verandas and was the center of social and recreational activity in the Heights. Frank Meade designed the structure. The interior was designed by Mr. E.W. Currie and included Roman style frescoes, richly colored rugs, toilet rooms, a dining room, a banquet and ball room, and sleeping apartments.
Prior to the opening of the clubhouse, a newspaper article boasts of an experienced staff led by Mr. Nelson of New York City. It notes that he brought help with him, most of whom were Japanese. An early member of the club remembered that the “club started out with a force of Japanese servants and waiters but for some unremembered reason they ran out on us about the end of the first month,’ and other men and boys took their places.” A club with membership of such high social standing undoubtedly required a large staff.
Early membership was made up of approximately one hundred men. The club had a membership limit of four hundred, but there was a long waiting list as the club gained notoriety. Euclid Golf owned the property north of Cedar Road on which three of the golf holes and Tudor style club house were located. Property southwest of the club combined with these three holes to comprise the “upper nine.”
Directly across from the club house to the east and south the club leased an additional nine holes from John D. Rockefeller, an honorary club member. Rockefeller’s only stipulation for the lease was that the club members not golf on his property on Sundays. Consequently, on the Sabbath, golfing members were forced to play the lower nine holes twice.
The club had also been recognized outside the Cleveland area. In July, 1907, the National Amateur Championship golf meeting was held at the Euclid Club and Jerry Travers won the tournament, thus becoming the American amateur champion. When Euclid Heights resident Myron T. Herrick was running against Mayor Tom L. Johnson for the position of Governor, the two men challenged one another to a round of golf prior to the election. Herrick was the winner in both instances.
About 1910, many members left the Euclid Club to join the new Mayfield Club and Shaker Club. A newspaper report stated that the Euclid Club would to go out of business on October 1, 1910. “Thereafter the famous course will be idle unless some arrangement is made for its continued use pending the opening of the Mayfield course next summer.” However, on October 1, 1910, after a stockholders’ meeting, it was announced that the club would remain open.
In 1913, the course remained open. It appears that perhaps the club was closed for the 1914 season, most probably due to Calhoun’s bankruptcy and auction proceedings in the allotment. However, on July 3, 1915, golf enthusiasts were “taking advantage of the reopening of the historic Euclid Club Course.” This season may have been the last for Euclid Golf. Soon after, the beautiful Club House was razed. The Alcazar Hotel was later built near the site. After the course had closed, B.R. Deming bought 141 acres, which included nine golf holes, from John D. Rockefeller. He then developed the Euclid Golf Development, a residential subdivision, which would offer yet more competition to Calhoun’s subdivision.
By 1912 there were about eighty-six residences, one church, and the Euclid Golf Club in Euclid Heights. The most densely developed areas were along Overlook and East Overlook, while secondary areas of construction were along Berkshire Road and Kenilworth. Although the population was increasing, it was doing so at a slow pace. It had been almost nine years since the first resident moved to Euclid Heights, yet only 10% of the lots were occupied. By 1914, 102 residences were constructed on the 841 sites in Euclid Heights, approximately 12% of the available area. Construction in nearby developments proceeded at a similar pace.
To lure homeowners, Calhoun had arranged for a street car to provide subdivision access, improved streets with paving, installed streetlights, paid a night watchman, constructed a golf course and club, and provided water, gas, sewerage, telephone, and electricity. However as he created this subdivision, other developers saw the potential of this land atop the bluff, which was not readily accessible due to Calhoun’s contract with the streetcar line. Other developers also knew he had taken the first steps to obtain city utilities by constructing main lines to tie into Cleveland’s services.
Similar subdivisions began to spring up adjacent to Euclid Heights: Mayfield Heights to the east, Cedar Heights, Ambler Heights, the Wade Allotment, and Bellfield and Grandview Avenues to the south. These subdivisions were, for the most part, developed contemporaneously with Euclid Heights, although it is difficult to say whether the Heights’ Grandview and Bellfield Avenues, and Mayfield Heights predated Calhoun’s subdivision. None of the other developers invested as much in improvements as Calhoun. Often they could sell their lots for less because they had been spared the initial development expenses that Calhoun had incurred. In fact, Calhoun forbade M.M. Brown, developer of Mayfield Heights, from constructing houses in his subdivision, angry over the competition. Brown supposedly emptied his sewers into the brook and constructed substandard water and sewer lines; yet he outsold Calhoun’s properties because he paid little in improvement costs. Additionally, Brown used his adjacency to Euclid Heights to promote his subdivision:
“To all clear sighted people it is evident that Euclid Heights will in the near future be the finest residence portion of Cleveland, containing as it now does, the finest pavements and best improvements in the city. Mayfield Heights is separated from this unusual tract of land only by a street and its improvements will undoubtedly be extended to our land.”
The developer boasted of all improvements being made at Euclid Heights, implying that purchasers could derive these benefits by purchasing the less expensive land in his allotment.
In about 1905, Patrick Calhoun moved his family to San Francisco, California, and once again went about consolidating street railways. At that time, city officials were divided about the type of transit system they would prefer: trolley or underground. Calhoun advocated the trolley system which the city officials decided upon just prior to the 1906 earthquake. Soon after the quake, Calhoun became president of the United Railroads of San Francisco. A transit union strike in 1907 brought Calhoun into a desperate fight with the unions, a conflict which would again divide the city. In that same year he was charged with bribing city officials to ensure their choice of trolley car transportation over underground lines. A year later, in 1908, Calhoun was indicted on further charges. Very little evidence existed against Calhoun, but the case was tied up in court and later postponements until August 15, 1911, when it was dismissed due to an alleged conspiracy, as well as the discovery that the prosecution planted a juror. Much of Calhoun’s fortune, as well that of the United Railroads, had been drained during the trial.
Because Calhoun had no business associates, during the trial he was unable to deal with his many investments: oil fields in Texas, utilities in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and various interests in New York, as well as his suburban development of Euclid Heights. In the end, Calhoun was found innocent, but his inability to deal with his investments during this time resulted in the loss of his fortune.
Calhoun and the United Railroads Board of Directors approved the withdrawal of money from their treasury in 1912. By July of the following year, Calhoun had withdrawn $1,096,000 and invested it in the Saloon Irrigated Farms Company, hoping to receive a large return. Unfortunately, the investment failed and Calhoun was ousted as president of United Railroads, accused of using the funds for personal use. He subsequently denied the charges to a New York Times reporter from his home in Euclid Heights.
When Calhoun’s fortune began to wane during his trial, he lost much of his property to foreclosure, including Euclid Heights. Calhoun declared bankruptcy in 1916 but still owned several properties: a coal mine in Beattyville, Kentucky; fifty thousand acres in Calhoun Falls, South Carolina; a seaport in Port Royal, South Carolina; choice residential property at Hilton Head and Beaufort, South Carolina; and his wife’s parents’ home on Meeting Street in Charleston. After his bankruptcy, various Cleveland firms offered the entrepreneur positions; however, he declined, certain that he would regain his fortune.
After losing his subdivision in Cleveland, Calhoun moved to a boarding house in Beattyville, South Carolina. He later moved to Louisville, Kentucky, and then, in 1918, to Calhoun Falls, South Carolina. He eventually lost this land to creditors, and finally relocated to Pasadena, California, where he is said to have negotiated a lease on an oil field in the lower San Joaquin valley. There, at the age of 87, he died after being hit by a speeding car.
It has been said that Calhoun was ahead of his time. His development of Euclid Heights opened the gateway for similar subdivisions in the Heights. Small developers profited from their adjacency, while others would learn from his mistakes. The Van Sweringen brothers had undoubtedly followed the progress of Euclid Heights and used their knowledge to develop Shaker Heights, a community approximately one mile south of Euclid Heights. This community would become a nationally-known model suburb of the 1920s and 1930s.
The bankruptcy of Patrick Calhoun dramatically changed the vision of what Euclid Heights was to be. Once foreseen as a suburban rebirth of the glory of Euclid Avenue, the subdivision completely changed direction. The construction of grandiose homes for Cleveland’s elite was supplanted by a boom of developer-built homes, most targeted at the growing middle class of Clevelanders. This development would take advantage of the convenience of regular streetcar service by constructing apartment buildings for those who could not afford to purchase a suburban home.
This shift of direction resulted in a new face for Euclid Heights, one that today creates the primary character of the subdivision. The earlier homes, several of which still exist, act as accents in this largely twentieth century streetcar suburb.
Kara Hamley O’Donnell is Historic Preservation Planner for the city of Cleveland Heights. This article was excerpted from her Master’s Thesis, “Cleveland’s Park Allotment: Euclid Heights, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and its Designer, Earnest W. Bowditch,” submitted to the faculty of The Graduate School of Cornell University, January, 1996.