Filed Under Architecture

Glidden House

An Inn in a Historic Paint Company Executive's Former Home

In 1909, Francis K. Glidden, the son of the founder and president of Glidden Paint Co., built a dream home for his family in the University Circle district. The family chose to build in the Wade Park Allotment, a residential development near the current Case Western Reserve University campus. The area was designed for well-to-do residents of Cleveland. Even in the company of the affluent, the Glidden mansion was one of the largest and most impressive in the neighborhood, with dozens of rooms, a full basement, a stately corner yard, and a carriage house.

The Glidden House was built to serve as the family's main residence. Francis (Frank) and his family moved from East 55th Street to the new mansion in 1910. After his death in 1933, his wife Mary resided in the home with her sister - another prominent Clevelander, Ida Winifred - until she passed away in 1939. Mrs. Winifred stayed in the home into the early 1950s.

Like most of Cleveland's elite neighborhoods, Wade Park lost most of its wealthier inhabitants to the nearby suburbs. The expanding suburbs boasted close proximity to Cleveland without the noise and pollution associated with the city. The suburbs also offered safety, larger yards, and lower price tags. This migration left many of the older homes at the mercy of surrounding institutions. Fortunately, because the Glidden House was so centrally located to the WRU campus, the school purchased the property and put it to good use. Originally used as the Psychology Department Building for many years, it later became part of the Law School.

In the mid-1980s, Glidden House evolved into its current life as a boutique hotel. The house is part of the greater movement for more housing in University Circle. Previously, the most common developmental practices here included replacing residential buildings with institutional ones. While many original homes were demolished to make way for high-tech campus buildings or expansive museums, these same institutions also saved some of the magnificent homes. The Glidden House is one home which has not just survived, but has continually been used to contribute to the development of University Circle.


The Glidden House
The Glidden House Built in 1910 as the primary family residence, the Glidden House was acquired by Western Reserve University in the early 1950s after the last family members passed away. The University used the building for years as the Psychology building and later as a Law School building. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Francis Harrington Glidden
Francis Harrington Glidden Francis Harrington Glidden, Frank Glidden's father, moved his family to Maine to Cleveland in 1869. He started the paint business in 1875. It was the success of the paint business that made his family quite wealthy. Frank Glidden, who also worked in the family business, built several houses, one of which was the Glidden House in University Circle. Source: Samuel Peter Orth and S.J. Clarke, A History of Cleveland, Ohio: Biographical (Chicago and Cleveland: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1910)
Glidden and Joy Varnish Co. Engraving
Glidden and Joy Varnish Co. Engraving Glidden and Joy Varnish Co. churned out approximately 1,000 gallons of paint a week and delivered them via horse drawn wagons to their customers. The company was known in the late nineteenth century mostly for their lacquer, called "Jap-a-lac." This plant was at the crossing of the New York Central and the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroads, just north of today's Opportunity Corridor between East 79th and Buckeye. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections Date: ca. 1882
"Always Ask for Glidden Paint Products"
"Always Ask for Glidden Paint Products" This was one of the Glidden Co.'s factory buildings in the Cleveland area. It stood on the corner of Berea Road and Madison Ave in Lakewood. The Glidden family sold the paint company in 1917. With new owners, the company began extensive research in oil-based products, and by the mid-20th century developed interior and exterior latex paint. Glidden Co. continues to sell paint and varnish to this day. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Fashionable Architecture
Fashionable Architecture The house was designed by Edward Hughes Glidden, a noted architect from Baltimore. He built the mansion in a fashionable mix of Tudor, Gothic, and French Chateau. It is not known whether the architect and the house owner were related or not. Creator: Eleanor Kaiser
For the Sake of Style
For the Sake of Style Today the entrance to the mansion is on Ford Drive, but at its creation the Gliddens added a small door on the side of the house. This allowed them to claim that their address was on the far more stylish and exclusive Juniper Drive. Creator: Eleanor Kaiser


1901 Ford Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106


Eleanor Kaiser, “Glidden House,” Cleveland Historical, accessed June 24, 2024,