"HIDDEN" Victorian Architecture of Lakewood, Ohio: a driving tour
by Craig Bobby
The following is a driving-tour of historic (mostly late-19th-century)
structures that are either hidden from 'proper' view, contain significant
details not seen unless you really look, or are otherwise going unnoticed.
The driving-tour is divided into two parts, one encompassing the sites
in western Lakewood, and the other for those in eastern Lakewood.
1. EAST ROCKPORT CENTRAL SCHOOL, 1456 Warren
|Lakewood was first settled very early in
the 19th-century. Before taking on the name Lakewood upon the occasion
of becoming a hamlet (1889), the community was known as East Rockport.
We appropriately start our driving-tour at the only public school building
remaining from that era, the East Rockport Central School. As most buildings
designed for institutional purposes, it is a largely undistinguished brick
building. It does have tall windows, with sandstone heads and sills, and
most importantly the words "East Rockport Central School" and "1879" (its
year of construction) carved in sandstone blocks above the central second-floor
windows and the main entranceway, respectively. It is presently being used,
with the adjacent school building constructed in 1899, as the offices of
the Lakewood Board of Education.
2. CURTIS HALL HOUSE, 16104 Detroit (1386 Cranford)
||Lakewood thrived throughout the latter half of the 19th
century via fruit-farming. The Hall family were among the more significant
of Lakewood's prosperous fruit-farmers. The Curtis Hall house is one of
the two Hall homesteads still standing. Built in 1864, it has since all
but disappeared from view due mostly to a commercial building erected in
its front-yard and additional shops grafted onto its Cranford Avenue side.
Some windows and its front-porch have suffered, as well, but the flat roof
with its wide overhang, and the decorative brackets and small windows just
below the roofline (all typical features of the 'Italianate' style) remain
as they were. See Page 22 of
Lakewood - the First Hundred Years
for two 'vintage' views of this house.
3. MATTHEW HALL CARRIAGE-HOUSE, behind Edwards Playground,
Detroit at Edwards
|Curtis Hall's brother Matthew's house was torn down so
that this playground could be created. But the carriage-house, built in
1879, was spared. The unassuming two-story brick building stands quietly
on the other side of the playground's rear-fence, with its two carriage
doors facing into the playground.
4. 1464 Riverside
||Here is an example of the type of house frequently constructed
for those with moderate incomes. Built in 1884, if it weren't for the very
tall first-floor windows, its age might not at all be apparent.
5. 16807 Hilliard
|One of the most charming Victorian-era structures
remaining in Lakewood is this spacious cottage, a substantial enlargement
of an older and smaller house, sometime in vicinity of 1880. A second-floor
window cutting into the roofline, decorative hoods over the windows, a
marvelous set of Victorian double-doors under a transom-window, altogether
make for a delightful composition. Best of all are round windows in the
peak of the gables, framed by deliciously lace-like vergeboards. The iron
fence surrounding the deep front-yard is not original to the house but
is otherwise of the same era as the house. [See Dan Chabek's Lakewood
Lore article on the Erastus
6. RHODES ESTATE-WALL, Lake at Belle
|The second part of this driving-tour commences
at Lakewood Park which, until 1918, was the Robert Rhodes estate. Like
many others once gracing Lake Avenue, this was Rhodes' 'country' home.
Erecting an elegant wall at the street was a common practice for such estates.
The wall seen near the park-entrance is a remnant of the estate-wall. If
you look closely at the 'post' at the west end of the wall, you can discern
"The Hickories," apparently the name Rhodes had given to his country home.
[His house was built circa 1874, but it is difficult to determine if the
wall was constructed at the same time.]
7. HARRIS/TOWNSEND HOUSE & WALL, 12984 Lake
|Due to a thick grove of old trees, several of them evergreens,
it is very difficult to get a proper look at the towered, three-floored
'Queen Anne' mansion that stands here. Most likely built sometime in the
1880s, it is the sole remaining Victorian-era lakefront estate-house. Its
original estate-wall, fully intact, is very visible. A glorious example
of Victorian estate-wall design at is creative zenith, this picturesque
composition effectively expresses the Victorian desire to blend with Nature
all that Man built in its midst. Carved at the crown of one of the posts
at the driveway is "Lake Cliff", the estate's original name. [An interesting
diversion from here would be to go elsewhere all along Lake Avenue to view
some of the more estate-walls that were spared the fate of the original
8. 1421-23 Ridgewood
||The paired brackets and porthole-type windows at the
roofline, plus the porch columns, are all tell-tale signs of the Italianate
style. This structure most likely was built sometime in the 1870's. Ridgewood
Avenue, though, wasn't put through until 1905-6. This house had earlier
faced Detroit Avenue. It was the residence of George F. Marshall, a Lakewood
councilman and its treasurer during some of Lakewood's early years. This
house was turned to face Ridgewood, after Marshall's death in 1904.
This was a provision included in the transfer of the deed to the property
recorded in the County Auditor's Office on July 18, 1904. The house was
a duplex no later than 1913.
9. WINTERICH HOUSE, 13521 Detroit
|Hidden behind the greenhouse-like flower-shop is a large
house designed in the so-called Stick style and built in 1883 for Lewis
Short. This design-type gets its name from many singular boards angling
strategically across the exterior walls. This house also has two "jerkin-head"
gables at the front.
10. 1422 Grace
|A very unique overall design, this house
was built in 1902 for William J. Ingram. The side of the house that faces
the adjacent apartment building has the most interesting set of windows
in all of Lakewood, together an eclectic mix of medieval-inspired Tudor
and Gothic elements. This house was designed by architect Frederick Baird,
who designed many Lakewood, and Lakewood-area, structures, c.1900-1920.
He lived on W. 116th Street, near Detroit. A large number of his built
designs survive today, including a house built in the Ohio City neighborhood
for another member of the Ingram family.
11. 1435 Cohassett
|This house, also built in 1903, has perhaps Lakewood's
most distinctive facade. Gothic-arched windows and Flemish-influenced dormers
are just some of the heady mix of features that make this house so visually
tantalizing. It cannot possibly be all taken in at a mere glance.
This is the end of the driving-tour.
From this point, through, you may wish to conduct a walking-tour of Cohassett,
and the adjacent Grace and Clarence avenues, largely in the blocks bounded
by Detroit and Franklin. The Cohassett Avenue development was begun in
1903. The Grace and Clarence development was begun in 1892. The latter
two streets were named after a daughter and son of the developer, Ezra
Nicholson. These three streets are full of elegant "cottages" built during
the turn-of-the-century. Most fortunately retain their original architectural
Originally a pamphlet "HIDDEN" Victorian Architecture of Lakewood,
Ohio: a driving tour, photos and text by Craig Bobby (1992). In
his pamphlet, Mr. Bobby acknowledges: Lakewood: the First One Hundred Years
by James and Susan Borchert, for much of the basic historic information;
City of Lakewood's Building Department, for supplying the Permanent Parcel
Numbers for the featured sites; Cuyahoga County Archives, from whose Real
Estate Appraisal cards the years of construction for some of the buildings
were taken (please forgive any inaccuracies, as these were not 'confirmed'
Mr. Bobby also compiles the Historic Buildings of Lakewood, Ohio database for the Library.
Lakewood Public Library Main Page
Lakewood Historical Society
Home Preservation - Lakewood
Heritage Advisory Board