By Christopher J. Hubbert, former President, Forest Hill Homeowners, Inc.
On Wednesday, September 8, 1937, George W. Mason, president of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation of Detroit, presided over the opening ceremonies of two “Kelvin Homes,” one at 3202 Rumson Road in Forest Hill and the other at 21361 Stratford Avenue in the Beach Cliff neighborhood of Rocky River. The Kelvin homes were the first homes built in Cleveland with central air conditioning. They also featured “the latest discoveries and achievements of housing science,” including an electric Kelvinator range, refrigerator, washing machine and ironer. According to an advertisement, they were “homes where all the drudgery is eliminated — where tasks are done electrically.”
The grand opening of the Kelvin homes was accompanied by much fanfare and was attended by city officials and civic leaders. The event was heralded by a flurry of articles and advertisements in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland Press and Cleveland News. Various contractors and decorators trumpeted their involvement in the project. The Second Federal Savings and Loan Association got into the act by running an ad touting its mortgage services with the tagline “Comfort in your financing, too” with a drawing of the Forest Hill Kelvin home. The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company installed a new “Butterfly” piano in both homes and their playing was featured on the “Kelvin home radio show” on WGAR on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The dedication ceremonies were broadcast as well. After the ceremonies were completed, Mason spoke at a luncheon held at the Advertising Club.