Parkland Drive Demonstration Homes: Howell & Thomas

The design of at least 27 homes in Shaker Heights has been attributed to the architectural firm of Howell and Thomas, including the grouping of demonstration homes on Parkland Drive. Formed in 1908 by Carl Howell and J. William Thomas, the Columbus-based business made its name designing Revival style homes. The firm specialized in residential architecture for upper-class clients. The architects were brought to Cleveland by 1913 to help design homes for real estate developer Barton R. Deming's garden city suburb, the Euclid Golf Allotment. The firm relocated to Cleveland within five years and remained active in the construction of residences throughout Cleveland Heights. In 1922, the Van Sweringen Company retained the locally-renowned architectural firm to design four demonstration homes at Shaker and Courtland Boulevards. Their services were employed again in 1924 to design an additional seven demonstration homes at 3280 Maynard and 18414, 18428, 18500, 18524, 18560 and 18580 Parkland Drive.

The Parkland Drive demonstration homes not only advertised the possibilities of the emerging suburb, but provided examples to potential home owners of the type and quality of home appropriate for Shaker Heights. Designated a Shaker Heights Landmark on June 27, 1983, the homes are reflective of the Van Sweringen Company's architectural standards as well as Howell and Thomas' mastery of the Revival styles. The designs of the demonstration homes incorporated various French and American regional styles in a manner that captured distinctive elements without displaying a strict adherence to form. In this way, the homes were constructed to complement the surrounding built and natural environment. For example, due to the narrowness of the rear lot of the demonstration home at 3280 Maynard, the floor plan of the residence steps back - a design feature that allowed for multiple attractive window exposures and an interior space flooded with natural light. Similarly, gutters, downspouts and decorative gutter boxes were fashioned in copper in order that they weather to a natural green and blend with their surroundings. The Parkland grouping was estimated to have cost the Van Sweringen Co. over $250,000.

Images

French Eclectic Demonstration Home

French Eclectic Demonstration Home

Designed in a French Eclectic style, the home at 3280 Maynard employed the use of stuccoed and painted masonry walls, large chimneys, and a steeply pitched roof. The residence was designated a landmark on July 26, 1983. Image courtesy of City of Shaker Heights Planning Department View File Details Page

French Country Home

French Country Home

The demonstration home on Maynard employs many characteristics of the French Country Chateau. These chateaus were based on French provincial farmhouse designs and country houses in Normandy. The French styles generally have steeply pitched roofs and chimney stacks that enhance a structure's skyline. The French Eclectic style never found extensive use in U.S. architecture. Most examples were built between 1920 and 1935. Image courtesy of City of Shaker Heights Planning Department View File Details Page

18414 Parkland Drive

18414 Parkland Drive

Designed in an eclectic English style, this home was designated a landmark on July 16, 1983. The brick and stucco structure is accented with half timbered gables. English Colonial and Tudor Revival were the most popular architectural styles in Shaker Heights. Image courtesy of City of Shaker Heights Planning Department View File Details Page

Parkland Drive, 1923

Parkland Drive, 1923

The design of the Van Sweringen's suburb left behind the traditional grid pattern for a system of elliptical boulevards lined with tree lawns and medians. These highly landscaped boulevards lead through neighborhoods with spacious lots and set-back homes, defining the character of some of Shaker Heights' most beautiful neighborhoods. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University Special Collections View File Details Page

18500 Parkland Drive

18500 Parkland Drive

The demonstration home located at 18500 Parkland Drive was built in 1924 and designated a landmark on June 27, 1983. Its design reflects characteristics of early English styles, including a steep roof and a picturesque stone facade. Image courtesy of City of Shaker Heights Planning Department. View File Details Page

18428 Parkland Drive

18428 Parkland Drive

Built in 1924, the estimated cost of the French-style demonstration home at 18428 Parkland was $25,000 - this converts to the buying power of around $317,000 in 2011. Image courtesy of City of Shaker Heights Planning Department View File Details Page

Howell And Thomas Cleveland Office

Howell And Thomas Cleveland Office

One of the many offices used by the firm of Howell and Thomas in Cleveland was located at 3868 Carnegie Avenue. While originally based in Columbus, Ohio, Carl Howell and James Thomas, Sr. moved to Cleveland following their commission to design homes for the Cleveland Heights Euclid Golf Neighborhood. Image courtesy of Cleveland Public Library Special Collections View File Details Page

Euclid Golf Neighborhood Exhibit

Euclid Golf Neighborhood Exhibit

Prior to their work on the Van Sweringen Co. demonstration homes, Howell & Thomas designed up-scale residences for Barton Deming's Euclid Golf Neighborhood. To market the residential district, an exhibit was created for the Cleveland Building show in 1916. Nine scale models of homes designed by Howell and Thomas were displayed. Image courtesy of Cleveland Public Library Special Collections View File Details Page

Residence of Barton R. Deming

Residence of Barton R. Deming

Deming's home on Fairmount Boulevard was one of the many residences constructed by Howell and Thomas in the Euclid Golf Neighborhood. Similar to the Van Sweringens' suburb, Deming's upper class development was planned using Garden City principles. Image courtesy of Cleveland Public Library Special Collections View File Details Page

Akron Times Press

Akron Times Press

Along with high-end residences, the firm of Howell and Thomas specialized in designing newspaper plants. The Akron Times Press building was constructed in 1930. Other newspaper plants were built in Pittsburgh, Rochester, Brooklyn, Cleveland, Houston and Beaumont. Image courtesy of Cleveland Public Library Special Collections View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Richard Raponi, “Parkland Drive Demonstration Homes: Howell & Thomas,” Cleveland Historical, accessed June 27, 2017, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/390.
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