Filed Under Entrepreneurs

Alwin C. Ernst House

In ninety years, three prominent Cleveland families have called 2540 Fairmount Boulevard home. The story of this house mirrors that of Euclid Golf, an early planned suburban development that benefited from the eastward spread of Cleveland's wealthy off of Euclid Avenue in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and continued to serve as a favored address for professionals and industrialists.

The first owner of 2540 Fairmount was Alwin C. Ernst, founder of the public accounting firm Ernst & Ernst, the forerunner of Ernst & Young. Ernst is credited with pioneering the idea that accounting information could be used to make business decisions and with inventing management consulting. Born in Cleveland in 1881, he attended West High School and a business college, and then worked as a bookkeeper for the Audit Company. In 1903, he founded Ernst & Ernst with his older brother Theodore, who left the company three years later. Alwin Ernst went on to build the business to more than 50 offices in the United States and two in Canada. When Ernst died suddenly after collapsing in the Union Club on May 13, 1948, Cleveland Mayor Thomas A. Burke said, "No matter what occasion in Cleveland called for a civic group to help out, you could count on Mr. Ernst to be in the group."

The second owners of 2540 Fairmount were John and Susanna Carlin. John Carlin was a lawyer who had grown up on Millionaires' Row. His father, Anthony, had been a pioneer in the steel rivet business and was one of the last millionaires to build on Euclid Avenue. Susanna came from humble circumstances. Her mother was widowed and raised ten children on her own. They met at the Guardian Building. He was working as a lawyer at the firm Henderson, Quail, Barkley and Schneider. She was one of the building's elevator operators. Their fairytale wedding in St. John's Cathedral in downtown Cleveland was one of the most significant social events of 1941. The Carlin's moved from 3233 Euclid to their Euclid Golf home in 1950. When John Carlin died in December 1973, 2540 Fairmount was valued at $95,000 and his estate was valued in excess of $7 million.

Patrick Parker of Parker Hannifin Corporation, and his wife Madeline, were the third owners. They purchased the house in 1985 for $330,000.

Audio

Playing in the Ernst House Gardens Dennis Coughlin remembers playing on the grounds of the Ernst House as a child. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Images

Ernst House Alwin C. Ernst house, 2540 Fairmount Blvd., as built, looks very different from the proposed speculative house that Deming planned for the homesite.
A. C. Ernst Engraving In addition to his auditing expertise, Alwin C. Ernst co-founded the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, helped bring the Republican National Convention to Cleveland in 1936, and was among the organizers of the Great Lakes Exhibition in 1936-37. Ernst's hobby was breeding and racing horses. He owned a breeding farm in Lexington, Kentucky, and a racing stable on Long Island. The names of each of his horses began with the letters AL - Alorter, Alquest and Alablue, to name a few. Several were winners, including Aletern, who placed first in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park on May 30, 1944. Engraved by E. G. Williams & Bro., N.Y., Lewis Publishing Co., courtesy of Western Reserve Historical Society
Mouat-Squires Ad, 1921 The Mouat-Squires Company was one of several companies that mentioned the homes of prominent people, such as A.C Ernst, to promote their products. The home shown here in the B. R. Deming Co.'s brochure The Home in Good Taste is 2335 Delamere Drive in Euclid Golf, although it looks quite different today because of a prominent addition constructed in the 1920s. Also mentioned in the ad is the B. R. Deming House at 2514 Fairmount Boulevard. Image courtesy of Hugh and Deanna Fisher
Euclid Golf Ad Architects Howell & Thomas designed several concept homes for the B. R. Deming Company in Euclid Golf. They created this sketch for the site of 2540 Fairmount Boulevard. A.C. Ernst purchased 2540 Fairmount while it was under construction, and the home that was built is English, rather than the French style depicted here. Developers of suburban allotments often built demonstration models to set the tone for their developments. Town Topics. Image courtesy of Western Reserve Historical Society
2520 Fairmount 2520 Fairmount sits across the street from 2540. It was one of several homes featured in a 1921 promotional brochure that the B. R. Deming company created to celebrate its seventh anniversary. The brochure depicted homes in various styles - this one a Colonial - to showcase the variety of "Homes in Good Taste" available in Euclid Golf. The double porches on the left-side of the house are enclosed today. Image courtesy of Hugh and Deanna Fisher
Ardleigh Circle at Fairmount Blvd., 1914 Although the landscaping has changed over the years, Ardleigh Circle today looks much as it did when it was first laid out in 1914. Like Shaker Heights, Euclid Golf was planned in the Garden City model, a design movement that started in England. The Garden City rejected the rectilinear street pattern of the city for roads that followed the natural contour of the land and incorporated trees and landscaping to evoke the beauty of the garden. Streets were given picturesque English names. It followed other nationally prominent developments like Llewellyn Park in East Orange, New Jersey, Riverside outside Chicago, and Baltimore's Roland Park.
Carlin House, 3233 Euclid Avenue, 1974 When the Carlins moved to Fairmount Boulevard in 1950, John Carlin was chairman of the board of Anthony Carlin Co., a real estate holding and property management company that his father had founded. The Carlins left the family home at 3233 Euclid Avenue, which became the headquarters of the International Ladies Garment Union, to move up the hill to what had become known as the "Euclid Avenue of the Heights," the Euclid Golf Allotment. Image courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.

Location

2540 Fairmount Blvd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44106

Metadata

Deanna Bremer Fisher, “Alwin C. Ernst House,” Cleveland Historical, accessed May 19, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/523.