Tiedemann House

aka Franklin Castle

Description

The High Victorian Eclectic style stone house located on the north side of Franklin Boulevard across from West 44th Street is still known to many Clevelanders as "Franklin Castle." The home has been a witness to much of the history of Cleveland's west side in the 121 years of its existence.

Tiedemann House was built in the period 1881-1883 by Hannes Tiedemann, a German immigrant who became prosperous first as a wholesale grocer and then later as a banker. The house was designed by the famed Cleveland architectural firm of Cudell and Richardson. When Tiedemann built the house in the late nineteenth century, Franklin Boulevard was one of the most upscale residential avenues in Cleveland, perhaps second only to famed Euclid Avenue's Millionaires' Row.

Hannes Tiedemann built his grand house on Franklin Boulevard, not only to provide a more upscale residence for his family, but also to provide a temporary place for friends, family and others emigrating from Germany to stay when they first arrived in Cleveland. The house replaced an earlier house on the property which was razed during the construction of the new house. Hannes, his wife Louise and their two surviving children, August and Dora, moved into the new house in 1883. There, the two children grew to adulthood. Both children later married and provided Hannes and Louise with a total of six grandchildren--all boys.

Hannes Tiedemann sold Franklin Castle in 1896--just one year after his wife Louise died. In the century that followed, the house saw many new owners and several new uses. For forty-seven of those years--from 1921 to 1968, the house was known as Eintracht Hall. During these years, it was the home of the German-American League for Culture, an ethnic cultural organization that, in its early years, was involved in political causes, and, in later years, functioned as a German singing club.

Around the time that the German club sold the house in 1968, rumors began to circulate around the west side of Cleveland that the house was haunted by the nineteenth century ghosts of Mrs. Tiedemann and her daughter Emma, who died before the house was even built. In the mid-1970s, one owner of the house capitalized on these rumors and offered tours of "haunted" Franklin Castle to the public.

In 1985, Michael DeVinko purchased the Tiedemann House and spent a large sum of money restoring it. DeVinko, whose stage name was Mickey Deans and who was the last husband of legendary singer and actress Judy Garland, lived in the house for over a decade. Shortly after he sold the house in 1999, the house was torched by an arsonist, causing substantial damage to it. A new owner spent a large sum of money in repairs, but, as a result of the two economic recessions in the first decade of the twenty-first century, was unable to complete restoration of the house. In 2011, the house was purchased by a European tapestry artist, who plans to complete the renovation and convert it into a two-family residence.



Photos Show

Tiedemann House (Franklin Castle)

The house at 4308 Franklin Boulevard has been known by different names in the 121 years of its existence. It was built in 1881-1883 by German immigrant Hannes Tiedemann, whose family lived in the home from 1883-1896. Later, during the years 1921-1968, when the house was the home of the German-American League for Culture, it was known as Eintracht Hall. In the 1960s, the became popularly known as Franklin Castle. The above photograph was taken in 1967.
Image courtesy of Cleveland Public Library, Photograph Collection

Hannes Tiedemann Family

In this circa 1880s photograph, shown from left to right are Hannes Tiedeman, his wife Louise, and their son August. Hannes Tiedemann built the Tiedemann House (also known as Franklin Castle) at 4308 Franklin Boulevard during the period 1881-1883.
Image courtesy of William Krejci.

Franklin Castle Architect

Frank Cudell (1844-1916) was a German immigrant and partner in the architectural firm of Cudell and Richardson. The firm designed the Tiedemann House, also known as Franklin Castle, in 1881. The firm was best known for the churches it designed in the late nineteenth century. Two of those churches located not far from the Tiedemann House are St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church (1873-1881) near West 54th Street and Bridge Avenue and Franklin Circle Christian Church (1874-1875) on Franklin Circle at 1688 Fulton Road.
Image courtesy of William Krejci

Steinberg

In the period 1880-1881, Hannes Tiedemann built this summer residence in Lakewood near what is today the intersection of Lake and Cove Avenues. He named the summer residence "Steinberg." While the Tiedemann House ("Franklin Castle") was being built on Franklin Boulevard during the years 1881-1883, the family and their servants lived at Steinberg. After his wife Louise died in 1895, Hannes Tiedemann sold his house on Franklin Boulevard and retired to Steinberg where he died in 1908.
Image courtesy of William Krejci

Tiedemann Family Monument

Like many nineteenth century American parents, Hannes and Louisa Tiedemann experienced the grief of losing young children to diseases, such as measles, diptheria and typhus, which were so prevalent and deadly in that century. The Tiedemann family monument at Riverside Cemetery silently tells the story of the grief these parents suffered. On the back of the monument are the names of three of the couple's infant children who died from disease during the period 1863-1873. On another side of the monument is the name of the couple's daughter Emma who died from diabetes in 1881 at age 15. Contrary to rumors circulated about Franklin Castle" since the 1960s, none of the Tiedemann children died in the Tiedemann House, which was not completed until 1883.
Image courtesy of Jim Dubelko

The German-American League of Culture

From 1921-1968, the house at 4308 Franklin Boulevard was home to the German-American League of Culture, an ethnic cultural association that later became a German singing club. As this article from the December 20, 1938 edition of the Plain Dealer reveals, members of the club, shortly after the Munich Pact, protested the aggression of Adolph Hitler against German citizens as well as Germany's neighbors.
Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library, Special Collections

A Haunted Castle for Cleveland

From 1968 to 1974, the house at 4308 Franklin Boulevard was the residence of a family who claimed that the house was haunted. According to newspaper accounts, one of the owners said that she was warned that the house was evil and that she should move out. In 1974, the family moved out and the house was taken over by an individual who, as the above photo shows, offered the public tours of haunted "Franklin Castle."
Image courtesy of Cleveland Public Library, Photograph Collection

Promoting the Haunted Castle

In this 1975 photograph, a Cleveland area reporter explores a hidden room behind a panel in a room of the house at 4308 Franklin Boulevard. In the 1970s, Cleveland's media published a number of articles about the haunted "Franklin Castle."
Image courtesy of Cleveland Public Library, Photograph Collection

The First Restoration

In 1985, the house at 4308 Franklin Boulevard was purchased by Michael Devinko, who restored it to its nineteenth century condition. The Devinko family lived in the house for over a decade before selling the house in 1999.
Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Library, Special Collections

Tiedemann House - 2001

The house at 4308 Franklin Boulevard suffered a disastrous fire in 1999. While a new owner spent a large sum of money effecting repairs after the fire, restoration was not completed. The house was purchased in 2011 by a European tapestry artist who plans to convert the house into a two-family residence.
Image courtesy of Raymond Pianka

Cite this Page

Jim Dubelko, “Tiedemann House ,” Cleveland Historical, accessed September 1, 2014, http:/​/​clevelandhistorical.​org/​items/​show/​531.​
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