Kundtz Castle

On December 18, 1960, Kundtz Castle was seen by the public for the last time. In 1960 the Eggleston Development Co. paid $110,000 for the property, and in 1961 the company tore the mansion down to build 16 custom homes and Kirtland Lane.

Built by Theodor Kundtz between 1899 and 1903, the mansion featured a five story tower, a bowling alley, and a music room with 12 stained glass windows. Kundtz did most of the woodwork himself, and the Cleveland Press, in 1925, called Kundtz's work "genius."

Theodor Kundtz immigrated to Cleveland from Hungary in 1873, at the age of 21. Trained as a carpenter, he found a job making cabinets for Whitworth Co. Kundtz was ambitious and wanted to make a name for himself, so in 1878 he left Whitworth and founded his own company, Theodor Kundtz Co. The main product was sewing machine cabinets, but the company sold many other wood items as well, including bodies for cars and vans. Later on, Kundtz also founded a bicycle wheel company. Combined, the two businesses turned the poor immigrant into one of Cleveland's largest employers.

Kundtz was active in Cleveland's Hungarian community. At the height of his success 92 percent of his 2,500 workers were Hungarian. He also founded the Hungarian Savings and Loan Company and funded the Hungarian Hall on Clark Avenue. In 1902, Kundtz's service to the Hungarian people was recognized and honored when Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary had the immigrant turned businessman and philanthropist knighted.

Before Kundtz Castle was demolished, the Eggleston Company salvaged some of the woodwork and sold it at auction. Most pieces went to private collectors, allowing the memory of Kundtz Castle to survive.

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