Curtis Hall House

Joseph Hall (1793-1855) and his wife Sarah (1799-1877) were some of the earliest settlers in Rockport Township (as Lakewood was then known) when they and their five children arrived there from England in 1837. Joseph quickly set about building a stone house for the family at the southwest corner of Detroit and Marlowe Avenues. The building was very similar to settler John Honam's Oldest Stone House, which was built in 1834 and is now home to the Lakewood Historical Society. The Hall Family's risky move quickly paid off as Joseph became a prosperous farmer, steadily increasing his land holdings in Rockport. Each of Joseph's four sons received 80-acre estates in Rockport from their father when they married.

Joseph's son Curtis Hall (1827-1927) built his house in 1864 at 16102 Detroit Avenue, on the northwest corner of Detroit and Cranford Avenues. It is one of the few Hall Family houses that remains standing in Lakewood, though it is now largely obscured by other buildings. Curtis farmed the land behind his house, which stretched north from Detroit Avenue to Lake Erie. While the oldest son, Joseph Jr., continued to live on his father's estate, the other sons Matthew and John followed in Curtis' footsteps and built houses on the 16000 block of Detroit Avenue. John was the most successful of Joseph's children, establishing a successful fruit farm on his estate. Matthew farmed as well, and also served as the supervisor of the Plank Road which ran through the city.

By the turn of the 20th-century, many of Lakewood's farms were being turned into residential developments as Cleveland and its surroundings areas grew rapidly. Streetcars replaced the wooden Plank Road, making the commute from Cleveland more manageable. The increasingly crowded and polluted big city led those who could afford it to seek greener pastures in the suburbs. Real estate development soon became more profitable than farming in Lakewood. John Hall partnered with his son-in-law Herbert Matthews to develop his farmland south of Detroit Avenue, advertising lots for sale in "Beautiful, Smokeless Lakewood" and assuring potential buyers that "We put in curbing, sidewalks, trees, and proper grading. Water and sewer will be put in shortly." John Hall also spent three years developing Arthur Avenue on his former farmland. Meanwhile, in 1907, Joseph Hall sold most of his family's original land holding to the Genck Realty Company, which soon thereafter developed Lincoln and Marlowe Avenues. Joseph Hall's stone house became the development's sales office. The rest of the Hall Family's farmland eventually became redeveloped for other purposes, and, one by one, most of their original houses were demolished.

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