Houses on Oakridge Drive int the Inglewood Historic District, Cleveland Heights. The District was listed on the Nationak Register in 2012. Photographed by wikipedia username: Tim Evanson own work, 2015 [cc-2.0], accessed July, 2022.
The Inglewood Historic District is an early twentieth century architect-designed neighborhood envisioned by the famed Van Sweringen brothers' Shaker Heights Improvement Company. Located north of Mayfield between Taylor and Warrensville Roads, the garden city design was platted by the F.A. Pease Engineering Company in a horse shoe shape. The wooded area both historically and currently has an old tree canopy of varying species such as oak, maple, and hemlock to name a few. The homes are set on varying sized lots with some lots exceeding two acres and carry the highest classification from the city of Cleveland Heights zoning board.
The neighborhood, marketed as the Inglewood Neighborhood, was purchased from Charles Pack in 1920 as the Company's Subdivision #4 in the City of Cleveland Heights. The location made for a prime development of finer homes. The neighborhood is situated off of Mayfield, just east of Taylor Road, where the C & E Mayfield Road interurban line ran from Euclid Avenue easterly along Mayfield to Gates Mills. Elisabeth Severance Allen's Glen Allen estate of 1913 was located just west of the neighborhood, while her sister's Ben Brae of 1915 was located at the corner of Taylor and Mayfield. Just south of the Inglewood neighborhood stood John Long Severance's Longwood estate of 1911. John D. Rockefeller's estate occupied the site just west of Ben Brae on the southwest corner of Taylor.
The F.A. Pease Engineering Company created lots in the usual Garden City manner of curving streets and varying lot sizes. The neighborhood is entered off of Mayfield, directly across from the Severance estate on to Inglewood Drive where the street Y's at the first few lots to form Oakridge Drive, which curves back west to Inglewood. Glenwood cuts through Oakridge connecting Cleveland Heights Boulevard with Yellowstone Road. which runs along the west side of the Glen Allen estate Monte Vista Drive intersects Oakridge and Oakridge ends at Yellowstone. 81 lots were originally laid out, but in 1923 the northwest corner Oakridge lots were combined and subdivided to create eight additional lots along Ouilliams Road. The majority of the existing lots remain intact except for a few incidents where lots were combined to form larger lots (original lots 2 and 3 to form 1360 Cleveland Heights Blvd, lots 44 and 45 make up 1334 Oakridge Drive, lots 67 and 68 make 1370 Inglewood Drive), or the few which were split, such as lot 8 which was split to make 1381 and 1391 Oakridge, and lot 34 which was split to form 1225 Oakridge and 1251 Yellowstone.
The same deed covenants outlined for the Shaker Heights Improvement Company for their properties in Shaker applied to the Inglewood development. This guaranteed a high level of development and clientele. The development was deemed for residential use, single-family dwellings only. All houses were to be architect designed with no two exactly alike. Prominent Cleveland architects such as Howell and Thomas, Walker and Weeks, Charles Schneider and Bloodgood Tuttle along with lesser known architects such as Maxwell Norcross, Copper and Dunn, George Johnston and Chester Lowe designed the houses in Shingle, Colonial Revival, Tudor, Beaux Arts, French Eclectic, and Italian Renaissance styles. Many of the building permits were lost at the city, but a good many survive. In addition, many homeowners have the original architectural drawings while some even have the specifications.
The Shaker Heights Improvement Company provided future homeowners with a packet that included a copy of their standards, a booklet containing guidelines which supplied architects with necessary information but also bestowed an emphasis on dignity and good taste. The Shaker Heights developments particularly called out specific styles of architecture: English, French and Colonial. The styles were further defined with an emphasis on harmony of color, form, brickwork, unity and particularly "good taste.As a result of earlier work for the Shaker Heights Improvement Company's Shaker developments, the architects hired to design for Inglewood had much experience in the standards set forth.
Many of the houses constructed during the early period of significance are moderate in size and almost all have both an attached garage and servant quarters. The attached garage does not necessarily provide direct egress into the house, but allows efficient use of the area that can be devoted for lawn. In almost all cases, the garage is not visible from the street. A few exceptions do occur.
The Inglewood Historic District is amplified by both the draw of affluent members of society to navigate to the Inglewood neighborhood from the favorable Euclid Avenue's Millionaire's Row and into a Van Sweringen's Shaker Heights Improvement Company neighborhood, Cleveland's most sought-after addresses. The district's buildings represent prominent residential architectural styles popular during Cleveland Heights' period of tremendous growth and transition from a primarily rural landscape to a suburb of Cleveland. The homes encompass popular styles and building technology ranging from the early to mid 20th century, and include significant homes designed by prominent Cleveland architects.
The boundary of the district encompasses the Van Sweringens' Shaker Heights Improvement Company's Subdivision #4 & #6, which are centered on Inglewood Drive and includes homes on Yellowstone Road, Oakridge Drive, Quilliams Road, Glenwood Road, and Cleveland Heights Boulevard. Oris Paxton (24 April 1879 - November 22, 1936) and Mantis James (July 8, 1881 - December 12, 1935) The Van Sweringen brothers formed a developing company which began in residential that ultimately attempted to monopolize the United States railroad system. At the time of their zenith in 1928 the Vans controlled 30,000 miles of railroad worth $30 billion. The period of significance begins in 1920, when the land was purchased by the Shaker Heights Improvement Company and ends in 1958 in accordance with the National Register 50 year rule. The 78 contributing resources which were constructed between 1920 and 1958 compile the Van's envisioned "neighborhood for Finer Homes."
The first Inglewood homes were constructed in 1923. Cleveland Heights enjoyed an extraordinary population growth, 500 percent, in the 1920s. Suburban growth, which was a national trend, was in part due to prosperity, availability of credit, public transit systems and private automobile ownership. Items like cars and suburban homes were once luxury items for the wealthy. The change in American economics allowed access of these luxury items for middle-class families. From 1922 to 1925 an average of 1,200 homes were built each year in Cleveland Heights. The majority of the Inglewood lots, 47 of the 82, were sold and constructed during the 1920s. The Depression, from late 1929 to 1939, had a small impact on the construction of lots; fifteen homes were constructed during this time period. In addition, eight homes were built in the years of World War II, despite the Government's temporary moratorium on domestic housing construction. Seven more homes were built from 1945 to 1958. The last of the lots were constructed after 1960.
The City of Cleveland Heights developed from a small farming community into a residential suburb as residents from Cleveland were fleeing the crowded city center. The dominating element was the introduction of a streetcar, creating easy access for successful business from home to work. [See: Streetcar Suburbs 1888 to 1928] The Van Sweringens' capitalized on this element in their Shaker Heights development, and Fairmount Boulevard District. The Ambler Heights Historic District and Euclid Golf Allotment both were successful due in part to accessibility by streetcar. Other amenities included public schools, access to private schools such as Hathaway Brown, University School and Hawken along with city amenities including a police and fire department, and Cumberland Park and pool. In 1901 the population of Cleveland Heights was 1,564 but by 1920 the soon to be declared city had grown to a population of 15,396.
The 41 acres were purchased from Charles Pack. Charles Lathrop Pack (May 7, 1857 - June 14, 1937) was internationally known as a forestry conservationist and first executive-committee chairman of The Cleveland Trust Company. He was the son of George Willis Pack, head of the lumber firm Packs, Jenks, and Company, of Cleveland. The Pack, Woods, and Company, was the parent company, located in Iosco County, Michigan. The Packs, Jenks, and Company handled from fifty to one hundred million feet of lumber annually at the turn of the century. Charles Pack married Alice Gertrude Hatch on April 28, 1886 at her parents home, 680 Prospect Street (now Prospect Avenue), Cleveland. The couple purchased their home, known as Nonway Lodge, at 3307 Euclid Avenue in 1887 and lived there until 1900, when they moved to Lakewood, New Jersey. The Euclid home was transferred to their daughter, Beulah Frances Pack in 1919. Beulah came to own much of the property surrounding the Inglewood neighborhood.
Charles Pack was president of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce in 1901. He was instrumental in the construction of the Garfield Building, located at 601 Euclid Avenue. The Garfield Building, designed by New York architect Henry Ives Cobb in 1893, housed offices for the Cleveland Trust Company, which opened in the fall of 1895. Pack encouraged the Cleveland Trust to move their headquarters to the corner of Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street. Pack also purchased the land fronting Euclid Avenue where the Hotel Statler was constructed at 1127 Euclid Avenue. The land was purchased for $150,000. The Statler was designed by New York architect George B. Post and Charles Schneider in 1912. Pack threw a formal Grand party at the opening of the 1,000 room hotel in 1931 Charles Pack was the president of the American Forestry Association from 1916-1922. He organized the National War Garden Commission, which inspired the planting of three million gardens. He wrote numerous books on garden and forestry that were widely read: 7,300,000 copies had been distributed throughout the nation.
Inglewood - A Select Neighborhood for Finer Homes
These elements, established for Shaker Village, carried on to the brothers' other developments. The Inglewood Neighborhood is a quintessential example in Cleveland Heights, demonstrating the brothers desire to continue the efforts beyond the original Shaker Village development. In their promotional material for Inglewood, the neighborhood is described as "A select neighborhood for Finer Homes, a natural Park of Great Beauty." The advertisement continues:
Hemmed in by the splendid Severance, Prentiss and Gownlock estates its character is established, itself a beautiful park, shaded by lovely trees and commanding a view of Lake Erie for many miles, Inglewood has long been the residence site most envied in Clevelanders. This Company was fortunate in securing this property and intends to develop it into a neighborhood exclusively for the finer homes, of selected people of culture and refinement. This wide experience that the officers of this Company have had in developing properties of this character, the extensive study they have made into the matter of restrictions, and the care with which they have enforced their restrictions, is a warrant of the future of Inglewood. They promise a continuance of the thoroughness and care which made for character in their Fairmount Boulevard development of Shaker Heights. This offering is timely as the wooded lots of other neighborhoods are practically all held under private ownership. The few for sale being held at two to three times the prices placed on Inglewood lots.
The name "Inglewood" was part of an early 20th century trend to combine "wood" with other English names. There are nearly twenty streets in Cleveland Heights with the suffix "wood". "Ingle" stems from a Gaelic word for fire and is used in the English language to denote the area in a house next to the hearth.
The location of the Inglewood neighborhood was ideal; 41 acres available between Elisabeth Allen's Glen Allen estate and Robert Gowanlock's estate, and directly across from John Long Severance's Longwood estate. The C & E Mayfield Road interurban line ran along Mayfield connecting Cleveland Heights ultimately to downtown Cleveland. Exodus of the wealthy from Euclid Avenue's Millionaire's Row to neighborhoods like Ambler Heights and Euclid Golf amplified the trend of suburban living.
One of the first homes constructed was for Lucretia Prentiss at 1255 Oakridge Drive. In 1903 Lucretia Prentiss lived at 921 Euclid Avenue before moving farther down on Euclid to 3407 in 1912. Her sister, Ellen Cox lived, at 4311 Euclid Avenue. Eventually the sisters shared the 4311 home which was a double house. The congestion on Euclid Avenue encouraged Lucretia to move to a residential neighborhood in Cleveland Heights.Lucretia traded her ownership of the double for the land in Cleveland Heights owned by her sister Ellen. The house on Oakridge Drive was designed by Charles S. Schneider in the Colonial Revival style. The house was built with an elevator that led from the first floor to the second floor. The original construction also included two secret hiding places, probably for jewelry.
Lucretia, never married, was the daughter of Samuel B. Prentiss and Jane Atwood Russell, both buried at Lake View Cemetery. Samuel B. Prentiss was the son of Judge Samuel Prentiss of Montpelier, Vermont. His father (Samuel) served on Vermont's Supreme Court and was elected to the US Senate and served two terms before becoming Federal Court Judge in 1842. Lucretia's father followed his brother Frederick to Cleveland in 1840 and together they formed Prentiss and Prentiss; a law firm specializing in civil and criminal cases. After the death of his brother the firm was renamed S.B. Prentiss and Baldwin. In 1867, S.B. became a Judge of the Common Pleas Court. Lucretia's sister, Ellen Cox, was married to Jacob Dolson Cox, co-founder of Cleveland Twist Drill. Frances Fleury Prentiss, the sisters' cousin who was married to Elisabeth Severence Allen Prentiss of the close by Glen Allen estate, established Cox and Prentiss in 1880. In 1883 the firm became known as Cleveland Twist and Drill. Later the company was acquired by Acme-Cleveland Corporation. Lucretia died in 1931 at the age of 75 in her Oakridge Drive home.
Other prominent Clevelanders were attracted to homes built in the Inglewood neighborhood. Samuel Slotky, founder and publisher of the weekly Heigtits Press, forerunner of the Sun Press, bought his home designed by John G. Graham in 1931 in the Georgian style at 1276 Oakridge. Edgar Byers, an attorney from the law partnership of Byers and Friebolin, purchased the Tudor Revival home at 1247 Oakridge Drive. Byers was founding member of the Soviet Table, a lunch group whose name exaggerated its members' liberal views, protesting proposals he thought were contrary to the public interest. He directed the City Club from 1927-1930. Willard Wetmore Combes was both a professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art and an editorial cartoonist for the Cleveland Press. He also taught from 1926-36 at Western Reserve University School of Architecture. He won a Pulitzer Prize honorable mention in 1938 for a cartoon on a cemetery lot racket. He resided in the Tudor at 1266 Oakridge from 1931 until his death in 1984. Other leading members of the community living in the Inglewood neighborhood include: Barlett Shepherd of the law firm of Smith, Olds, Smith and Shepherd at 1325 Oakridge; Edward McConnell, Radio Entertainer at 1243 Oakridge; William Tonks, the Vice President of the Union Trust Company at 1259 Oakridge; Henry Toedtman of Toedtman & Follis at 1286 Oakridge; Frank O'Dea, the Secretary of The May Company at 1311 Oakridge; Rienhold L. Wendt, the President of Excelsior Cabinet Co at 1314 Oakridge and many others. See the property list for more information on original tenants.
The neighborhood continued to attract leading members of society through the decades. Doctors were commonly attracted to the neighborhood due in part to its close proximity to the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, and also for the architecture and surrounding landscape. At one time, the neighborhood was coined "Pill Hill" because of the number of medical personnel living in the neighborhood. Dr. Benjamin Spock, one of the country's leading pediatricians, lived at 1285 Inglewood from 1956 to 1958 during his twelve year stint as a professor of Child Development at what is now Case Western Reserve University. He is best known for his 1946 book "The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care". The book has been translated into 39 languages and has sold more than 50 million copies, making it second in sales only to the Bible. Another famous physician that resided in the neighborhood was Richard Renner, founder of Hillcrest Hospital. He lived at 1259 Oakridge in the 1940s. He incorporated in 1947 the Renner Clinic Foundation which supports higher education and hospital and health planning. Currently, the neighborhood is home to physicians, medical personnel, attorneys, architects, engineers, civic, and business leaders.
The current Inglewood neighborhood, with the entire allotment developed, reflects the Van Sweringen Standards. The development was laid out with 81 lots in June of 1920 by the F.A. Pease Engineering Company. In 1923, the subdivision #6 was subletted from the northwest corner of the Inglewood development. The lots at this end of the development were well over an acre and lots 26 and 27 were divided into eight smaller lots along Quilliams Road. Lots 26 & 27 still remained the largest lots in the neighborhood.
The F.A. Pease Engineering Company was founded by Fred A. Pease in 1903. The firm was responsible for the layout of over 30 square miles of Cleveland suburbs, particularly in Shaker Heights and Gates Mills. Fred Pease was a life member of the Cleveland Engineering Society and American Society of Civil Engineers. In 1905, Pease was appointed the Engineer for Cleveland Heights and remained in that capacity until his retirement in 1941. In 1912 Harry C. Gallimore was appointed Director and Secretary Treasurer of the firm. Gallimore's design philosophy was that gentle curving streets that follow the natural contours of the land better displayed the personality of homes "nature never builds in Squares."
In addition to the large work associated with the Shaker Heights Improvement Company, the firm planned the subdivision of some 12,000 acres in Cuyahoga County. These include The Maple Leaf Land Company's Gates Mills, the Windermere and other subdivisions in East Cleveland, Oakwood-on-the-Lake in Rocky River, and many subdivisions in Cleveland Heights, University Heights, Lyndhurst, South Euclid, Pepper Pike and other sections. The firm collaborated with Garfield, Harris, Robinson & Schafer for work at the Reception Center at Camp Perry. Other government projects include the 2,900 family unit housing development of Kingsford Heights near La Porte, Indiana and the Housing Development at Windham, Ohio.
The Inglewood Historic District reflects the Van Sweringens' standards of romanticism popular in American culture in the 1920s. Their impact on the eastern suburbs of Cleveland prevails in Shaker Heights but is valid and imposing in Cleveland Heights. In all, the Shaker Heights Improvement Company developed six subdivisions in Cleveland Heights, but only the Inglewood neighborhood, developed at the height of the company's investment, continued their original intent of architect-designed homes for the upper middle class. The developments surrounding Inglewood, were for the most part, small, grid subdivisions. These homes were intended for middle-income buyers and for the majority did not contain architect-design homes, nor did developers impose architectural standards. The designs were modified farm house, bungalows, four-squares or copied or adapted from mail order pattern books. The Colonial and Tudor revival can also be found in these neighborhoods but at a smaller scale. The Inglewood neighborhood reflects the styles of architecture set forth for architects with the Colonial predominating, and the English style a close second with only a few designed in the French styles. The architects were well established when they were designing homes in the Inglewood neighborhood, which further distinguishes the development and the clientele. The level of diversity in the architecture is testimony to the architects' knowledge of their craft.
Adapted from: Diana Wellman. Diana Woodbridge and Mazie Adams, Inglewood Historic District, nomination document, 2008, National Register of Historic PLaces, Washington, D.C.
Cleveland Heights Boulevard • Glenwood Road • Inglewood Drive • Oakridge Drive • Quilliams Road • Yellowstone Road