Showing posts with label East Cleveland Township. Show all posts
Showing posts with label East Cleveland Township. Show all posts

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Farmhouse in the City

Greek Revival farmhouse

This house, at 1209 East 71st Street - just north of Superior - has been on my radar for a long time. In fact, it was the subject of one of my very first stories here.

Try to imagine the house as it was at the time it was built, 160 years ago. Remove the porch. The house would have sat on a rise, a couple of steps leading up to the front door. The windows on the front of the house, on the first floor, had a somewhat ornate trim, as did the front door. The windows, two over two, would have been flanked by shutters, perhaps in dark green, in contrast to the white of the house.

Clemen N. Jagger residence

The color scheme might have been something along the lines of the Clemen N. Jagger residence, now at Hale Farm and Village. The first floor windows on the front might have had panels underneath, like this structure, or they might have been triple-hung - what I do know is that the original window trim extended downward to a line even with the bottom of the doorframe.

It was a simple structure, but with good proportions, on a relatively small (ten acre) lot.

Greek Revival house - foundation detail

On the exterior, the house has plenty to tell us. The foundation, now covered with a layer of paint, bears the tool marks of the people who quarried and cut it.

Hand-hewn timbers

While most of the framing for the house was cut in a sawmill, the largest timbers were hewn by hand. One can be seen here, underneath a bit of trim.

Siding detail, W. Lewis residence

A closer look at the front of the house illustrates the flush siding - an uncommon detail. One can also see, in the paint, the outline of the trim that originally flanked the windows - a helpful piece of information for the party that chooses to fix up this house.

This house plays a signficant role in illustrating the way this neighborhood changed and grew over time.

William Lewis was born on 3 April 1809, in Westport St. Mary, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, England. His wife, Mary Anne Ponting Lewis, was born 1814, also in England. In 1847, they immigrated to the United States with their four children: Thomas (born 1838); George (born 1840); Jane (born about 1842); and Edward (born about 1845). By 1850, they were farming in East Cleveland, Ohio. (Sources: Find a Grave records for William Lewis and Mary Anne Ponting Lewis, 1850 and 1860 US Census).

1209 East 71st street Google Maps

In September, 1852, they purchased, for $500, a ten acre parcel facing Becker Avenue - now East 71st Street. (Cuyahoga County Recorder, AFN: 185312190004 ) The parcel extended eastward to what is now East 79th Street. The original property is shown in blue on this map - the location of the house, in green.

Published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10 October 1897, page 4. Used courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

The seller was one Edward Lewis, also from Wiltshire, England. He had risen to prominence within the iron and steel industry by the time this portrait was made, in 1897. His relationship, if any, with William Lewis is unclear.

At the price, it's plausible that the house had just been built - especially if Edward Lewis was a relative and was giving William a good deal. If not, the house was built soon after.

The 1860 US Census lists two more children: William (born about 1848) (henceforth William, Jr.) and Benjamin (born about 1851). It's unclear why William, Jr. wasn't numerated in the 1850 census.

William Lewis died July 30, 1854, at the age of 45. He was buried in Woodland Cemetery. I have not been able to locate any documentation as to the cause of death. (Find a Grave William Lewis.)

View of the Ohio State Fair Grounds, 1856
View of the Ohio State Fair Grounds, 1856. A hand-colored print (1856) by Klauprech & Menzel. Used courtesy of the Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps.

The family would have likely attended the 1856 Ohio State Fair, held just a mile and a quarter to the east.

By 1858, there were neighbors on either side, both occupying similarly sized (and shaped) lots. The family remained at this house, and by 1860, the value of the property was listed as $4,000.

Used courtesy of the National Archives,, and Cleveland Public Library.

Thomas Lewis and George Lewis both registered for the draft in 1863. Their occupation is listed as "gardener". How this is different from "farmer", which appears far more frequently, is unclear.

Mary Lewis died 11 December 1863. She was buried alongside her husband at Woodland Cemetery. (Find a Grave: Mary Anne Ponting Lewis)

George Lewis and Jane Lewis transferred their shares in the property to Thomas Lewis, in 1863. (Cuyahoga County Recorder, AFN: 186302250002)

Thomas Lewis married Amelia Gibbs. They raised several children in the house: Celia Jane Lewis (born 23 October 1865); Frank J. Lewis (born 1866); William E. Lewis (born July, 1870); Thomas E. Lewis (born 9 July 1873); Charles A. Lewis (born January, 1878); and Sarah E. Lewis (born December, 1879). Arthur Lewis, born November 1875, died the following month, from whooping cough.

By 1874, the area was becoming more developed. The Lewis children would have attended a brick schoolhouse, built at the corner of what is now Carl Avenue and Addison Road, a walk of abuot a fifth of a mile.

The best frame Italianate house on the east side

The larger farm lots were beginning to be split up to build residences. Some were massive, grand structures, like this house, at 6512 Superior, which I've written about in detail. (See: The best frame Italianate house I've seen in Cleveland and Threatened: The best frame Italianate house on Cleveland's east side)

Italianate house on Superior

On the opposite side of the street, the Beckenback residence has a similarly interesting story. Like the house facing it, it retains significant interior detail.

The biggest change to the immediate surroundings came in the form of the Lakeview, Collamer, and Euclid Railway, which ended just a couple hundred feet up Becker Avenue (now East 71st Street).

Published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 23 June 1876, page 4. Used courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

Published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 8 May 1880, page 4. Used courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

449 Camp Gilbert
Residence and Grounds of George Gilbert, Esquire, Euclid Station, Ohio. From the 1874 Lake Atlas of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Used courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

Passengers might have used the railway to visit Camp Gilbert, at the mouth of Euclid Creek.

The following clipping, in addition to illustrating storm damage (front page news!) provides us with a vital bit of history - this house did, in fact, have shutters.

Published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 16 December 1876, page 1. Used courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

Published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10 February 1877, page 4. Used courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

This quantity - an unknown portion of the Lewis flock - strongly suggests that at least part of their income came from selling either eggs or chickens.

Published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 13 April 1880, page 5. Used courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

This purchase suggests that the railway was busy.

A beer garden was built at the railway terminal - next door to the Lewis house. As this 1885 article suggests, it caused some problems.

There's nothing useful that I can say about the following articles.

Published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 13 July 1885, page 1. Used courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

Published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 14 July 1885, page 1. Used courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

Published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 14 July 1885, page 3. Used courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

Published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1 October 1885, page 3. Used courtesy of Cleveland Public Library.

In 1885, Celia Lewis married John Moser in a ceremony at the Lewis family home. John Moser moved in to the house, where they had two children: Grace M. Moser (born 1886) and John Lewis Moser (born 1887).

The Lewis / Moser family remained in the house through the end of the 19th century. The ten acre lot was gradually split into smaller and smaller peices, as this became a residential neighborhood. In 1900, Amelia Lewis sold the house to Eliza and William Lehmann. (Cuyahoga County Recorder, AFN: 190003230029)

In the next article, we'll see how this house (and the neighborhood) changed during the course of the 20th century.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Thorp - Page Sawmill

Detail, East Cleveland Township
A detail from the 1858 Hopkins Map of Cuyahoga County. Used courtesy of Rails and Trails, original courtesy of the Bedford Historical Society. Annotations by the author.
In 1837, two farmers, both residents of Cleveland, purchased a small, oddly shaped parcel of land (Cuyahoga County Recorder, AFN: 183904200003). The $250 purchase netted them 8.27 acres, with Coit Road on one side, and Nine Mile Creek running down the middle of it. The property, outlined here in green, was about a quarter mile south of St. Clair Avenue.

The Luster Tannery
You may recall Nine Mile Creek as the source of water for the Luster Tannery (16360 Euclid Avenue, East Cleveland), about a mile upstream. The structure, built for tanning leather in the 1850s, is a major early industrial landmark. The Luster property is outlined in light blue

The two men who purchased the land, Cornelius Thorp and Isaac Page, both lived in the area. Cornelius, at the time, was 30 years old, and was married, with three or four children. Isaac was a few years older, also married and the father of at least a couple children.

Both had farms of a decent size - Isaac Page's amounted to 62 acres, while Cornelius Thorp's farm was about 40 acres.

Why, then, did they purchase the land?

Detail, 1903 USGS Topographic Map
This detail of a 1903 USGS topographical map, covering about the same area as the one used to open this story, helps illustrate why. Note that Nine Mile Creek seems to enter a ravine at about the point where the sawmill is located (to the left of the "k" in "Creek"). Perhaps there was even a falls. Whatever the case, there would probably have been significant water power at the site.

Water power was very important in the early to mid 19th cenutry - other than steam engines and manual labor, it was the only way one could power anything. Even on a tiny creek, a small dam could store up enough water to power a mill for a couple hours a day.

To take advantage of the water power, a sawmill was built on the site, as illustrated in the 1858 map that I lead with. When was it built? I haven't been able to locate any information relating to that. One might suspect that construction began soon after the purchase, unless they bought the land speculatively.

Thorp and Page probably operated the mill part-time - the 1850 and 1860 U.S. Censuses list their occupations as "farmer". It was quite common at the time to do other work to supplement farm income, so this does not seem strange. However, as of 1860, Isaac's son, Isaac Morris (or Maurice) Page lists his occupation as "sawmill" - perhaps running the business full time. A decade later, however, he is listed again as a farmer.

There is only one other sawmill pictured in East Cleveland township on the 1858 Hopkins map - a steam driven one on Shaw Brook, operated by Henry Coit, shown in the far left of the detail above. This suggests relatively little competition in the immediate area.

The grave of Isaac Page (the father) is marked by this obelisk, in East Cleveland Township Cemetery.

A small obelisk, mostly buried, marks the Thorp family plot at First Presbyterian Churchyard, in East Cleveland.

Thorp, Mary
The only name visible is that of Cornelius's daughter, Mary. It'll be worth digging up the fallen obelisk and replacing it on its mount, to see if the names of other family members are noted.

These weren't the only mills in the immediate area - there were more in Euclid, as detailed in Mills & Salt, on Bluestone Heights. Still, this example represents an interesting piece of our early industrial history.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Leonard Parks Residence: Part 1: The Farwell family

14417 Darley Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio

Leonard Parks residence

This historic brick home, the Leonard Parks residence, sits on a side street in the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. It looks, for all appearances, like a rural farmhouse built in the 1830s or 1840s. It's not on any of the major historic roads, so was it moved?

Leonard Parks map
From the 1858 Hopkins Map of Cuyahoga County. Used courtesy of Rails and Trails, original courtesy of the Bedford Historical Society.

A quick look at the 1858 Hopkins Map of Cuyahoga County, shown in detail here, reveals that there was a house on approximately this location in 1858, on land owned by one L. Parks. Why, then, was it at the end of a dead end road - piece of land that would have definitely been less desirable? Why did the road going to it disappear soon after?

J.J. Farwell, Rebecca Farwell, and their three children, Benjamin J., Lydia, and John J., were among the early settlers to this area. J.J. Was born between 1761 and 1770 in Maine. Little more is known about him. Rebecca was born in about 1777, in New Hampshire. Benjamin J. was born either in New Hampshire or Vermont, in about 1805. Lydia Farwell was born in Vermont in about 1817. John J. Farwell was born in Vermont, in about 1823. It would seem that the family was probably from an area close to the border between the two states. (U.S. Federal Census, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 and Cleveland Necrology File: Farwell, Mrs. Rebecca)

Both Benjamin J. and John J. would become involved in creative pursuits. Did they choose these occupations merely because they were good trades or was there some sort of artistic tradition in the family? At present, this is unclear.

Sometime between 1824 and 1834, the Farwell family moved west, from Vermont to Cleveland. Olive, born 1801 in Vermont, married Benjamin Farwell, and in 1834 their first child, Harriet S. Farwell, was born. They may have met in Vermont. Their second child, Eliza H. Farwell, was born in 1836.

That year, Benjamin J. Farwell purchased 10 acres of land from Thomas McIlrath and Jerusia McIlrath, some of the earliest settlers to this area. (Cuyahoga County Recorder, AFN: 184312220001) This $400 purchase seems to indicate that he was likely having at least some success as a carpenter / joiner. (In April of 1838, Benjamin Farwell purchased more land, this time from Darius Adams and Mary A. Adams. (Cuyahoga County Recorder, AFN: 184312220002) The sale - six adjacent acres for $180 - includes the space where the house now stands. Later that year, Olive gave birth to the couple's third child, Horace W. The following year, 1839, their fourth child, Henry J., was born.

Doorway, Leonard Parks residence

The doorway, if we ignore the newer door and storm door, looks like something that may have been built in the 1830s, perhaps by a carpenter eager to show off his skill. A historic photo, provided by Dan Musson of the Cleveland Landmarks Commission, shows that the bottom pane of the sidelights was originally a wood panel.

Brainard residence front door The Warren House, drawing 4 (detail)

This is consistent with the doors of the Brainard residence, on Denison Avenue, at left (demolished 2010) and the Isaac Waren residence, at the corner of Warren Road and Lakewood Heights Boulevard, in Lakewood, at right (demolished or moved 1938). The Isaac Warren residence drawing is a detail, taken from a set of plans done by the Historic American Buildings Survey in the 1930s. Both were built at about the same time - Brainard circa 1830-1850, and Warren circa 1835. Both were of similar scale to this one.

The proportions, in specific, the taller transom (the window over the top of the door) and the brackets at the top of the columns, splitting the transom in three, make me think of someting a bit grander.

Doorway from the Isaac Gillet House by Jonathan Goldsmith Jonathan Goldsmith residence

These two doorways were both designed by architect Jonathan Goldsmith. To the left is the one from the Isaac Gilette residence, built in 1821, now in the Cleveland Musuem of Art. At the right is the one built for the William Peck Robinson residence, in Willoughby, in 1831 or 1832. It has been moved to Hale Farm and Village. Both share grand proportions and earlier dates of construction.

It would be worth investigating the glass in this door to see if we can determine its age. While it would be difficult to tell the difference between glass made in 1835 and 1850, it would be much easier to differential between that and glass made in the 20th century. This might help one see whether there were originally such vast expanses of glass or if they were originally broken up into smaller panes.

We can be reasonably certain that there wasn't a residence on this location when Benjamin Farwell purchased the land. The current residence straddles the line between the two parcels he purchased. Further, neither of the individuals he purchased the lots from were listed as residents of Euclid or East Cleveland Townships.

Benjamin Farwell did not call this house "home" for long. By 1840, Benjamin, Olive, and their children had moved into the city of Cleveland, while J.J., Rebecca, and John J. Farwell most likely remained here. (1840 U.S. Census) Perhaps Benjamin was able to find more work as a carpenter in the city.

Oliver Emerson map
A detail from the 1858 Hopkins Map of Cuyahoga County. Used courtesy of Rails and Trails, original courtesy of the Bedford Historical Society.

Oliver Emerson, a lawyer, was a relatively early settler to Cleveland. In 1830, he purchased 60 acres in Parma. It was a long, skinny lot, with frontage on Pearl Road, just south of the intersection with Snow Road. (Cuyahoga County Recorder, AFN: 183010270002) Center Creek, as illustrated on later maps cut through the northeast corner of the proptry. D. Reimes operated a sawmill on the adjacent pond. A school was located just down the road.

We can be reasonably certain that Oliver Emerson was the son-in-law of J.J. Farwell and Rebecca Farwell. When Lydia Farwell married him and where she lived prior to this marriage is less clear - at the age of 23, in 1840, she does not appear to have been living with her parents. Perhaps she was in school, or perhaps she was married to another individual.

View Larger Map

This house, at 5856 Pearl Road in Parma Heights, may have been his residence. The structure, probably built in the 1840s or 1850s, is located on land that he owned. Oliver's first wife, Mindwell Emerson either divorced him or died (I can find no further record of her) sometime after 1844. (Cuyahoga County Recorder, AFN: 184404250001) By 1850, Oliver Emerson had married again, to Lydia Farwell. They remained in Parma, possibly in this house, for the rest of their lives.

Benjamin and Olive's fifth child, Francis J. Farwell, was likely born in the city of Cleveland, in 1844. That year, they sold all 16 acres to Almon A. Snow for $350. (Cuyahoga County Recorder, AFN: 184405220004) We don't have any evidence to explain why the sale price of the property, which would have probably had a home on it, therefore increasing its value, would have dropped from the $580 paid a decade prior.

The Farwell farm might have sold after the death of J.J. Farwell. His date of death is unclear - the only thing we can say with certainty is that it was between 1840 and 1850. His death, combined with the marriage of John J. and Mary Farwell, probably in 1844 or 1845, would have left Rebecca alone on the farm. Perhaps this was the reason they chose to sell the property.

John J. Farwell, like his brother Benjamin, was engaged in a creative pursuit - painting. The 1848 Cleveland City Directory lists his address as 120 Erie Street, Cleveland, Ohio. The extent of his work is unknown - I've been unable to locate any information about his works, either in the standard source, Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900 or elsewhere. He remained a painter for the rest of his life, though as of 1870, he was a "varnsher in a railroad shop", suggesting that his work may have been more technical than artistic. (U.S. Federal Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880)

John J. Farwell married one Mary Farwell, from Pennsylvania, presumably before 1845, the year of the birth of their first child, Mary C. They had three more children: Charles (born about 1848); Julia (born about 1852) and Lilly (born about 1856). (U.S. Federal Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880)

As of 1880, John J. Farwell and his family had moved to 251 Erie Street (now 1793 East 9th Street). By 1892, they moved to 450 Erie Street. The address is now 2254 East 9th Street. (Old and New Street Numbers, page 61)
He died of cancer on March 25, 1892, at the age of 70. He is buried in Highland Park Cemetery. (Cleveland Necrology File and the Plain Dealer, March 29, 1892, page 6)

As of 1850, Benjamin Farwell had moved back to the neighborhood where he grew up, and was working as a carpenter. He was probably renting, as I can locate no record of him having owned property in the vicinity at that time. (1850 U.S. Federal Census) Ten years later, his occupation was listed as "grocer", and his son, Horace W. Farwell, was working as a carpenter and jointer. He had likely learned the trade from his father, and had perhaps taken over his father's business.

I have not been able to find anything regarding the death of Benjamin Farwell's wife, Olive Farwell. She does not appear on the 1860 U.S. Census record with Benjamin, strongly suggesting a date between 1850 and 1860.

Rebecca Farwell moved into the house of her son-in-law, Oliver Emerson, in Parma, by 1860, when she would have been 83. She remained there, perhaps in the residence shown above, until her death, on July 31, 1868. The funeral was held at the residence of John J. Farwell, at 251 Erie Street (now 1793 East 9th Street). The Cleveland Necrology File notes her age as 70, though, given that this is inconsistent with every other souce, 90 seems more likely. (Cleveland Necrology File, Farwell, Mrs. Rebecca)

In his later life, Benjamin Farwell also lived with his brother-in-law, Oliver Emerson. (U.S. Federal Census, 1880) He died in December of 1880 of "neuralgia of the heart". The funeral was held at Oliver Emerson's residence. Benjamin Farwell was buried in East Cleveland Township Cemetery. (Cleveland Necrology File, Farwell, Benjamin J.) If we were looking for the graves of other members of his family, this cemetery might be a good place to start.

The Farwell family likely had a creative impact greater than we can know based on the existing record. The aesthetic quality of the doorframe, illustrated above, makes me wonder what other structures Benjamin Farwell might have been responsible for.

In the next post in this series, I'll address Almon Snow, who purchased this parcel from the Farwells in 1844, and his family.

Monday, November 30, 2009

East Cleveland Township in 1858

A big part of my historical research involves looking at old maps. They often allow me to verify residences and land ownership as well as helping me to compare the built landscape that I see today with the historic landscape.

One of the most valuable maps in this respect is the 1858 Hopkins map of Cuyahoga County. The city of Cleveland was much smaller than it is today. Outside the city limits, it shows land ownership and the locations of houses.

The landscape has changed so much in the past 150 years that it can be hard to see the relationships between the roads illustrated on Hopkins' map and the roads that exist today. To that end, I've spent some time playing around with Google Maps. This map shows the streets in East Cleveland township in 1858, according to the Hopkins map published that year.

View 1858 East Cleveland Township Roads in a larger map

There are some roads that are popularly known to be older: Euclid; Superior; and St. Claire. There are others that one might suspect, because they are major roads: East 55th and East 105th Streets. The problem with looking for extant historical fabric on these streets is that they have remained major streets. They have fostered commercial growth, and with commercial growth has come the loss of residential structures.

The streets worth really looking at are those that one might not have realized were older streets: Addison; Crawford; Ansel; Lakeview; Eddy; and Coit. I haven't been able to find much along Crawford and Ansel, due primarily to redevelopment, much of it at the turn of the century.

The Yellow House

The Banks-Baldwin Law Publishing Co. headquarters was originally located at 757 Ansel Rd, before it was moved.

Greek Revival house

On and near Addison, just north of Superior, there are two Greek Revival farm houses, one that I've written quite a bit about, and the other, shown here, which hides back a bit from the road and remains a private residence.

These other streets are worth checking out - take a look at these maps, and at the older streets in your neighborhood, and see what you find. There are surely at least a few interesting buildings on Coit, Eddy, and Lakeview, and perhaps on the streets just off them as well. I know that there are more hidden gems out there. Let me know what you find.