Filed Under Architecture

Glen Allen Estate

The intersection of South Taylor and Mayfield roads in Cleveland Heights is nothing like it was 100 years ago. In the early 20th century, both roads were narrow but long-established country thoroughfares. Dense, old-growth foliage bordered much of the intersection. But the properties on three of those corners were hardly vacant. Indeed, this corner was home to four large country estates owned by leading Cleveland industrialist families.

The intersection's northwest quadrant comprised the outermost reaches of an estate owned by John D. Rockefeller. On the southeast quadrant stood Longwood, a 125-acre estate built in 1911 by John L. Severance, an early partner of Rockefeller and the primary benefactor of Severance Hall, the home of the Cleveland Orchestra. The intersection's northeast corner actually included two grand properties. Ben Brae, the home of Dr. Benjamin Millikin and Julia Severance Millikin, was built in 1913. Immediately to the east of Ben Brae was Glen Allen.

The Glen Allen estate was constructed in 1915 by the recently widowed Elisabeth Severance Allen, John L. Severance's sister. Both Glen Allen and Ben Brae had been in the family for several decades, serving as summer retreats for relatives living on Euclid Avenue. The site of these two estates later became the Jewish Community Center, followed by Lutheran East High School. More recently, the Bluestone townhouse development has taken shape on parts of the old estate.

Designed by the renowned architect Charles Schweinfurth, Glen Allen evoked the English manor style. Like Longwood and Ben Brae, it was mostly brick, with stone detailing and a combination of gabled and flat roofs. An ornate metal and glass awning framed the home's entryway. Inside, the walls were hung with French tapestries, important paintings and rare prints. Extensive formal gardens surrounded much of the 45-acre property.

The house was demolished in 1945, one year after its owner's death. However, there are a surprising number of remnants, including the stone wall that runs along Mayfield Road and the stone pier at the southeast corner of the Lutheran East property. Several complete structures also survive, most notably an old farmhouse at 3555 Birch Tree Path.

Early Cleveland Heights had no shortage of great estates but, unfortunately, a great majority-including Glen Allen-have fallen to the wrecker's ball. Thus it is only though stories, pictures and the recollections of a few seniors that we are able to enjoy the tremendous beauty and architectural brilliance of these magnificent homesteads.

Images

Glen Allen Glen Allen sat on 45 acres along Mayfield Road just east of Taylor Road. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Formal Gardens Flower beds line a straight path leading to Glen Allen's conservatory, where the Allen family grew many ornamental plants and flowers for seasonal enjoyment. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Lily Pond The expansive grounds of Glen Allen covered more than forty-five acres on the north side of Mayfield Road, including this peaceful lily pond and Japanese gardens. Nearby, the gardens also included a small Korean pavilion. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Drawing Room The Glen Allen drawing room, with its ornate coffered ceiling and elaborate furnishings, bespeaks the opulence of Cleveland's early 20th-century country estates. Source: Heights Community Congress
Leaded Windows This rear view of Glen Allen shows off its stunning leaded windows. Source: Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Library Special Collections
Severance Family Farm In the 1880s, Elisabeth Severance Allen and her cousin, Julia Severance Millikin, established small farms along Mayfield Road near Taylor Road. Source: City of Cleveland Heights

Location

Metadata

Christopher Roy, “Glen Allen Estate,” Cleveland Historical, accessed August 15, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/index.php/items/show/494.