Barton R. Deming House

Canadian-born Cleveland real estate developer Barton Roy Deming was smitten with the verdant beauty of a craggy knoll just south of the recently closed Euclid Golf Club, which stood near the intersection of what are now Norfolk and Derbyshire Roads. In 1914, having decided to create a large suburban residential allotment nearby, Deming set out to build his own home on this sliver of land where Fairmount Boulevard branches off of Cedar Road. The home would serve as a unique marquee advertisement and gateway to Deming's Euclid Golf Allotment. Deming contracted with architects Howell and Thomas to design 2485 Fairmount, nestled into a narrow, steep, and rocky site with a deep gorge running through it. Howell and Thomas relished the challenge of building in such a location, and Deming was proud of the resulting four-story French Eclectic mansion, which embodied his aspirations for Euclid Golf.

Deming lived in the house until the death of his wife, Helen, in March 1934 and the marriage of his only daughter, Elaine Allen, to Weston Schmitt the same year. His nephew, Grant Deming, Jr., helped the elder Deming auction off his furnishings and lived with him in the Heights Rockefeller Building apartments at Mayfield and Lee Roads in Cleveland Heights. Deming then worked for John D. Rockefeller, Jr., to develop Rockefeller Sr.'s Forest Hill estate into the residential village that straddles the East Cleveland and Cleveland Heights border today. When Cleveland Heights established a Zoning Commission in 1920, Deming was one of its first appointed members.

Towards the end of his life, Deming lived with his sister, Millie, on Stoer Road in Shaker Heights. He served for many years as a trustee of the Cleveland Real Estate Board, and later established the Deming Ironing Company, which manufactured gas electric ironing machines. He died at Overlook House, a Christian Science Home, in Cleveland Heights, on Sept. 15, 1956, at the age of 81.

Images

Barton R. Deming House

Barton R. Deming House

The view of the Deming House from Fairmount Boulevard is quite impressive. Its high, stone wall exaggerates the verticality of the natural landscape. The house marked the entrance to Deming's Euclid Golf development and served as a subtle advertisement of the grandeur prospective residents could expect to find in Euclid Golf. Image courtesy of Hugh and Deanna Fisher View File Details Page

Euclid Golf Site, 1914

Euclid Golf Site, 1914

The site of the Barton R. Deming House and the 141 acres that would become the Euclid Golf Allotment were the site of a timber farm in the mid-nineteenth century. One difficulty in developing Euclid Golf was the irregular lot created by the streetcar line where it branched off from Cedar Road. While most of the other development proposals considered by John D. Rockefeller's real estate company had ignored it, Barton Deming planned to build a gateway house that would catch the eye of prospective buyers. Image courtesy of Hugh and Deanna Fisher View File Details Page

Barton R. Deming

Barton R. Deming

Barton Roy Deming, developer of Euclid Golf, was born in Windsor, Canada, and followed several of his brothers to Cleveland in 1893. In 1903-5, the Demings developed several high-quality allotments on Cleveland's east side. In 1905, his brother Grant organized his own company and developed several allotments in Cleveland Heights, including Hyde Park and the Forest Hill Allotment. Barton Deming formed the B. R. Deming Company in 1912 to develop John D. Rockefeller's Euclid Golf property. Image courtesy of Hugh and Deanna Fisher View File Details Page

Deming House Construction, 1914

Deming House Construction, 1914

The stone facing for 2485 Fairmount, and the formidable stone wall that rises along Fairmount Boulevard, reportedly was built of sandstone excavated from the construction of the street. Portions of the stone wall that faces Cedar Road remain today. This section of the wall likely belonged to the P. W. Miller estate next door to Deming. Image courtesy of Hugh and Deanna Fisher View File Details Page

Built on a Sliver

Built on a Sliver

The B. R. Deming Co. obtained a building permit for 2485 Fairmount Boulevard on May 4, 1914. The French Eclectic house that the company built was clad in stucco and half timbering. The estimated cost of construction was $6,000. The company laid out Fairmount Boulevard on either side of the streetcar tracks, which ran down the center median. Image courtesy of Hugh and Deanna Fisher View File Details Page

A Billboard House

A Billboard House

Plans for all four levels of the Deming House were featured in the May 1917 edition of Architectural Forum. The plans show a garage and billiard room on the basement level; an office, kitchen and dining room on the first floor; a living room and family bedrooms on the second; and servants' rooms on the third. Like a row house, the home is one room wide and several rooms deep. The house is angled to conform to the site. Image courtesy of Hugh and Deanna Fisher View File Details Page

Creek Behind Deming House, 1914

Creek Behind Deming House, 1914

Stone retaining walls were built to control the creek that runs behind the Deming House. The walls were likely a part of the estate of P. W. Miller, Deming's next door neighbor, whose property included extensive woodland gardens. The Miller house predated development of the Euclid Golf Allotment. Image courtesy of Hugh and Deanna Fisher View File Details Page

Gardens On Top

Gardens On Top

The upper garden of the Deming house exemplifies the desire of suburban planners to combine the convenience of city living with the peacefulness and beauty of the country. It featured a flagstone walk, a delicate fountain, lush plantings, and a pergola. The garden door entered into the second-floor living porch, which later became Deming's library. Deming had a grand vista from his house at the edge of the Heights. He could see both the city of Cleveland and Lake Erie. Image courtesy of Hugh and Deanna Fisher View File Details Page

Rear Garden

Rear Garden

Behind the Deming House, a creek bed forms a deep gorge. The property contained an abundance of trees. A rustic wooden bridge connected the rear gardens. The bridge likely predated Deming's house and was a part of the Miller estate next door. Image courtesy of Hugh and Deanna Fisher View File Details Page

Deming Family in Rear Garden, 1917

Deming Family in Rear Garden, 1917

A man believed to be Barton R. Deming plays with his nieces (brother Grant Deming's children) in the creek behind the Deming house in 1917. Image courtesy of Hugh and Deanna Fisher View File Details Page

Garden Seen From Window

Garden Seen From Window

A view from a second floor window in the Deming House overlooks the rear garden and the creek below. The skillful siting of the house on its narrow lot created the illusion of secluded country living. Not unlike Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water, one is never far removed from the natural landscape. Image courtesy of Hugh and Deanna Fisher View File Details Page

Inside Deming's House

Inside Deming's House

The 12-foot high ceiling in the Deming House living room featured birch beams, spaced three feet apart, decorated with Venetian stenciling. Intricate plaster moldings and voluminous windows, detailed with leaded glass, spoke of the home's elegance. An 8-foot tall, white marble rococo fireplace was imported from Italy. Image courtesy of Hugh and Deanna Fisher View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Deanna Bremer Fisher, “Barton R. Deming House,” Cleveland Historical, accessed July 24, 2017, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/485.
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