Photos from The Plain Dealer, Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland Public Library

Cleveland, Ohio – There is no bigger loss in Cleveland cultural history than that of Millionaires’ Row.

From the mid-1800s to the 1930s, the portion of Euclid Avenue known as Millionaires’ Row was home to more than 40 grand mansions — and some other really big homes — that housed the crème de la crème of Cleveland society: industrialists and inventors such as John D. Rockefeller, Marcus Hanna, Leonard Hanna, Jeptha Wade, Charles F. Brush, Amasa Stone and John Hay.


Library of Congress

Baedeker’s Travel Guide called the elm-lined stretch of Euclid Avenue the “Showplace of America” in the late 1800s, urging all visitors to America to pay a visit. The avenue was compared to the Champs-Elysees in Paris, Fifth Avenue in New York and Berlin’s Unter den Linden.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collections: Stager-Beckwith Mansion

The enormous mansions were set several acres back from the avenue, which was paved with Medina sandstone. In front of the houses, landscaped grounds added to the allure. Many driveways had imposing gates signaling the importance of the residents. Architectural styles varied, but the overall theme was grandeur and size — such as Leonard Hanna’s neoclassical mansion near East 30th Street.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection

For Clevelanders, it was the most fashionable address in town.

Today, only four of those mansions remain. The rest have been lost to the wrecking ball and time and neglect — only accessible in dusty photos and the pages of myriad books that have been written about the glittery era.

Cleveland Memory Project/Courtesy of Alan Dutka: Samuel Andrews mansion, C. 1923

“It was such a loss, with so many fascinating stories — and a lot of mistruths, too,” says Cleveland historian Alan Dutka, author of the new “Cleveland’s Millionaires’ Row” (Arcadia Publishing, $21.99).

“Although so much has been said about the history of Millionaire’s Row, a lot of Ph.D. dissertations and magazine articles, people still have many questions: who lived there, when and what happened to these mansions. I wanted to answer these, and also dispel a lot of incorrect things that have been written before.”

Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer: Ella Grant Wilson wedding on Eucli Avenue

This is Dutka’s second book about Millionaires’ Row. The first, “Misfortune on Cleveland’s Millionaires’ Row,” was released in 2015. Since that book focused mostly on the human stories of the street, Dutka’s latest delves into the history of the homes, starting at Public Square and moving east.

Alan Dutka: Drury Mansion on Cleveland Clinic campus, 2019

One-hundred-and-twenty-six pages of vintage pictures show the interiors and exteriors of the homes, as well as the passage of time as Gothic houses are replaced by motels and arenas and business schools. Dutka includes several “now” photos to show what stands today where the houses stood.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection

A slate of sleek midcentury motels such as Watson’s Motor Lodge and the Sheraton Sahara, often overlooked in histories of Euclid Avenue, are the exception to the rule — though they, too, are now long gone.

Despite his focus on the houses, Dutka includes many interesting bits about the residents of the 28-block stretch. Four presidents visited Sylvester Everett in his 50-plus-room Gothic castle at East 40th Street, for example, while down the street, Mark Hanna convinced William McKinley to run for president in the library of Daniel Eell’s mansion.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection: Euclid Avenue and East 55th, 1922

“I wanted to show what all of the locations looked like now, but a lot of those photos were so boring we didn’t use them … what has replaced these mansions isn’t too interesting in a lot of cases.”

Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer

Dutka meticulously moves down Euclid Avenue, thoroughly documenting well-known houses such as the Stager-Beckwith Mansion, one of the earliest homes; Charles Brush’s 40,000-square-foot mansion at 3725 Euclid, complete with Tiffany glass; and Samuel Andrews’ sprawling Victorian Gothic on the northwest corner of East 30th Street that took 100 servants to maintain and was soon dubbed “Andrews’ Folly” since it was so hard to maintain. It was shuttered by 1898 and demolished in 1923.

Cleveland Public Library/Courtesy of Alan Dutka: Everett manion at East 40th

Everett’s house at 4111 Euclid, broken into apartments in 1922, was demolished in 1938. Today it’s a parking lot.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection

Dutka also delves into the history of lesser-known homes, such as railroad executive Henry Payne’s pre-Civil War Victorian at 2121 Euclid, John Henry Devereux’s Italianate palazzo at 3226 Euclid and Morris Bradley’s English manor at 7217 Euclid.

Library of Congress

Fifteen of the mansions were by architect Charles Frederick Schweinfurth, who also designed Cleveland’s Old Stone Church and Trinity Cathedral.

Schweinfurth’s first Euclid Avenue home was Everett’s sprawling mansion, while the Samuel Mather Mansion was a 45-room Tudor masterpiece. Built in 1910, Mather’s home was the most expensive on Millionaires’ Row. Made of handcrafted stone, it included a third-floor ballroom with a 16-foot-ceiling that could fit 300 guests.

Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer

Mather’s extravagant effort was also the last significant home built on Millionaires’ Row. By the 1920s, many of the wealthy had begun to flee to the eastern suburbs as the Euclid Avenue commercial district began to creep closer.

Library of Congress: Charles Brush mansion

Despite what you may have heard, most millionaires did not ask for their houses to be demolished after they moved or died, says Dutka.

“That’s really more of a story than truth,” says Dutka. “It wasn’t very common. [Jeptha] Wade and [Charles] Brush did it, but that’s about it.”

Peggy Turbett, The Plain Dealer: Wick mansion mural

It was mostly a skyrocketing tax rate as well as downtown pollution that drove the millionaires east, says the writer.

“It’s funny, because they created this environment with their factories, but they didn’t want to live there.”

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection: 1961

By 1937, most of the houses had been torn down or were split into boardinghouses. None were occupied as single-family homes. The 1950s meant the demise of the majority of the remaining houses for the Inner Belt freeway.

Peggy Turbett, The Plain Dealer: Evertt mansion mural

A few remnants of the once-glorious Row remain, however. The Mather Mansion escaped the wrecking ball and is now part of Cleveland State University, while the 1863-built, Second Empire-style Stager-Beckwith Mansion was acquired by the Cleveland Children’s Museum in 2014.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection

A few remnants of the once-glorious Row remain, however. The Mather Mansion escaped the wrecking ball and is now part of Cleveland State University, while the 1863-built, Second Empire-style Stager-Beckwith Mansion was acquired by the Cleveland Children’s Museum in 2014.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection

“Once the original owners had moved on, many of the houses were also lost, because Clevelanders just didn’t care,” explains Dutka.

Peggy Turbett

Stockbridge mansion murals

A handpainted mural depicts the Corning mansion in the Stockbridge Apartment building, built in 1911 as the Stockbridge Hotel, photographed Wednesday, March 30, 2011. The Stockbridge was a winter home for millionaires so they wouldn have to heat their 20,000 sq. ft. mansions. (Peggy Turbett/ The Plain Dealer) The Plain Dealer

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection: Everett mansion

“One thing that doesn’t get talked about much is that in the ’40s and ’50s, there was a backlash against these fantastic Gothic houses. People really didn’t have an interest in these houses, and that was surprising to me. When the Everett house was torn down, The Plain Dealer wrote, ‘This Gothic structure was considered fashionable at one time.'”

Peggy Turbett

Stockbridge mansion murals

The Beckwith mansion is depicted in a handpainted mural in the Stockbridge Apartment building, built in 1911 as the Stockbridge Hotel, photographed Wednesday, March 30, 2011. The Stockbridge was a winter home for millionaires so they wouldn have to heat their 20,000 sq. ft. mansions. (Peggy Turbett/ The Plain Dealer) The Plain Dealer

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection

“No one really cared then. Today there would have been more outrage.”

James A Ross, The Plain Dealer: White Mansion, 1989

Out of all the lost grand mansions, which one does Dutka consider the biggest loss?

Cleveland Public Library Photograph Collection/Courtesy of Alan Dutka

“I could see Everett’s house being some kind of fantastic museum today,” he says. “That to me was the spectacular example of Millionaires’ Row. It would have been nice to save.”

Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer: Inside the Mather mansion

Coming Up

What: A book signing for Alan Dutka’s “Cleveland’s Millionaires’ Row.”

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection: 702 Euclid Avenue C. 1907

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer: Early Millionaires’ Row residents

Where: North Royalton Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, 5071 Wallings Road.

Plain Dealer Historical Photograph Collection: 1921

Register: cuyahoga.libnet.info/event/1914269?registration=true



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