Photo: Homes in the Ocoee Street Historic District Cleveland. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. Photographed by User:Andrew Jameson (own work), 2011, [cc-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons, accessed October, 2023.
The Ocoee Street Historic District [†] contains houses with much architectural ornamentation which makes it unusual for the community.
The area began developing as a residential area as a result of the opening of the Centenary College (now Lee College) in 1884-85. Before the development of the College, the lands were unused. Shortly after the development of Centenary College, residential development began to occur along Ocoee Street and Centenary Avenue. At the same time the industrial base of Cleveland was growing and neighborhoods of industrial housing were developed. Those neighborhoods contained un-ornamented one story houses, and many have been altered significantly since construction.
None of the neighborhoods surrounding the industrial plants exhibit the architectural ornamental features of Ocoee Street. They tend to be very simple with streets of practically identical buildings constructed to minimize costs of individual buildings.
The Ocoee Street Historic District was developed by the industrial and business leaders of Cleveland. They chose to build their houses in the Colonial Revival style, which makes up 70% of the district. This style was popular nationally from the turn of the century until the 1930s when the Ocoee Street district stopped growing.
Ocoee Street developed as an area where the leaders of Cleveland settled because it was removed from the industrial plants of south Cleveland. By building north of the business district these houses were separated from the industrial plants by more then a mile, and odors and noise from the plants did not effect these property owners .
Some of the leaders who chose to build in this area included Frank T. Hardwick, superintendent of the Hardwick Woolen Mills, who built his house at 1733 N. Ocoee Street. The Hardwick Woolen Mills were one of the largest employers in Cleveland at the turn of the century. Another leader was Theodore Stivers, who owned the Theodore Stivers Milling Company which manufactured mens clothing.
He built his house at 1590 N. Ocoee Street. Another "industrial leader who built here was John Milne, at 1790 N. Ocoee Street, manager of the Cleveland Chair Factory.
Common architectural features of the Colonial Revival style houses in the district include central doors with classical door surrounds or porticos, symmetrical facade patterns and wings, classical columns for porches and pilasters, window surrounds, and returns in gables. The houses in the district which are not Colonial Revival are good examples of Queen Anne and Tudor Revival styles with the use of many of the ornamental features of the style.
The Ocoee Street Historic District is similar to the Centenary Avenue Historic District in that both districts were developed around the same time by the wealthy families of Cleveland.
The districts are different in that Centenary Avenue was settled primarily by people associated with Centenary Academy (now Lee College), and Ocoee Street was developed by business and industrial leaders.
Also Centenary Avenue has more diverse architectural styles with Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Bungalow, Tudor Revival and Prairie style houses present, with no one style dominating the area. Ocoee Street has Colonial Revival, Queen Anne, and Tudor Revival houses, but the Colonial Revival style dominated the district.
The houses along Ocoee Street also tend to have more stylistic detailing then those along Centenary Avenue. The Queen Anne houses have elaborately turned or cut balustrades on the porches and scrollwork in the gables. The Colonial Revival styles has classical columns, dentil moldings, and gable returns; many have symmetrical facades. The brick versions have brick or stone lintels over doors and windows, and brick or stone sills under windows.
† Adapted from: Karen L. Daniels/ Historic Preservation Planner, Southeast Tennessee Development District, 1995, Ocoee Street Historic District, nomination document, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
Ocoee Street North