Euclid Heights Allotment

The Euclid Heights Allotment was the first major real estate subdivision up on Cleveland's "Heights" above University Circle and Euclid Avenue. Early, on, Euclid Heights’ developers sought to attract wealthy Millionaires’ Row residents who, in the late 19th Century, had begun migrating eastward away from the city's pollution and commercial bustle. The development benefited from the advent of electrified streetcars, which could conquer the steep grades leading up to the Heights. Tucked in the corner of a green space framed by Doan Brook and Lake View Cemetery, Euclid Heights offered a stylish retreat where those able to handle longer commutes could enjoy spacious lots, curving streets, handsome architecture, spectacular views, fresh air, privacy and a chance to put distance between themselves and the increasingly dirty, problem-plagued city below.

The story goes that Atlanta and New York railroad lawyer Patrick Calhoun, grandson of the famous U.S. Vice President and Senator John C. Calhoun, traveled to Cleveland on business in 1890. Having time to spare, Calhoun rode out to Lake View Cemetery to see the recently dedicated memorial to the slain President James Garfield, a structure Calhoun’s family had supported. On the way he noticed the building boom going on in the East End (Hough area), and wondered where that was heading. Calhoun had been involved earlier in the Richmond Terminal railroad project in Virginia and was familiar with the groundbreaking work that Frank Sprague, the "Father of Electric Traction," had done there in using electric railroads to promote urban development. Knowing that the East Cleveland Railway Company had recently done some innovative work electrifying streetcars locally, Calhoun saw an opportunity to develop an important streetcar suburb at the top of Cedar Glen.

Working with local partners, including John D. Rockefeller's real estate man, J.G.W. Cowles, attorney William Lowe Rice and merchant John Hartness Brown, Calhoun had development plans drawn up by 1892. The Panic of 1893 put their plans on hold but by 1896 an amended site plan was recorded—more or less identical to today's layout of the area with Euclid Heights Boulevard bisecting the site from the southwest corner at the crest of Cedar Hill. In the northeast corner of the development would be the commercial district: what we now know as Coventry Village. Other prominent features included The Overlook—Overlook Road southwest of Edgehill Road and featuring large mansions featuring splendid north- and west-facing views—and the Euclid Club, a country club that sported a golf course spanning both sides of Cedar Road and a grand quarter-mile entry path beginning at what is now the corner of Derbyshire and Surrey Roads.

The development gradually attracted fine homes and also spurred other beautiful subdivisions, such as Barton Deming’s Euclid Golf Allotment on the south portion of the former golf course (which closed in 1912). Moreover, the Van Sweringen brothers, are believed to have been paperboys in the Euclid Heights area and later went on to adopt themes from the Euclid Heights Allotment in their famous Shaker Heights and Shaker Farms communities (the latter comprises streets such as Stratford, Marlboro, Fairfax and Guilford, west of Lee Road and immediately north of Fairmount Boulevard) . Calhoun, however, was distracted by legal problems running the San Francisco streetcar franchise after the Great Earthquake and saw his Euclid Heights development company forced into bankruptcy in 1914. By then William Rice had been murdered while walking home to the Overlook from the Euclid Club, a sensational case that featured John Hartness Brown as a suspect. Although it still maintains its picturesque “Garden City” look, Euclid Heights soon evolved from a private hilltop retreat to a busy gateway to the rapidly developing Heights. A large portion of Calhoun-owned land in the area’s eastern sector was sold off and subdivided, thus explaining why Cleveland Heights homes east of Coventry Road tend to be somewhat more modest than those near the top of the hill. Today Euclid Heights is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It remains full of architecturally significant homes, but its main significance is the role it played in opening the Heights as a streetcar suburb for wealthy Clevelanders.

Images

Euclid Heights Stock Certificate, 1903

Euclid Heights Stock Certificate, 1903

An original certificate for 100 shares of stock in the Euclid Heights Allotment, owned by Patrick Calhoun, its developer. Image courtesy of William C. Barrow View File Details Page

Euclid Heights Location Map, ca. 1896

Euclid Heights Location Map, ca. 1896

Map from the Euclid Heights sales brochure showing the relationship between the Euclid Heights Allotment and the city's system of streetcars and parks. Image courtesy of William C. Barrow View File Details Page

Euclid Club Postcard, ca. 1905

Euclid Club Postcard, ca. 1905

A view of the Euclid Club from Cedar Road, east of Norfolk Road. From here the front nine holes of its golf course extended west along the north side of Cedar and crossed into the area now covered by Delaware and South Overlook roads, while the back nine holes extended immediately south from here, into what is the appropriately named Euclid Golf Allotment today. Image courtesy of Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Special Collections View File Details Page

John Brown Hartness House, ca. 1905

John Brown Hartness House, ca. 1905

A colorized view of the John Hartness Brown house, at the intersection of Edgehill and Overlook Roads, which still stands today. Brown was one of the junior developers of Euclid Heights and was suspected of murdering another partner, William Lowe Rice. Image courtesy of Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Special Collections View File Details Page

Howell Hinds House

Howell Hinds House

Industrialist Howell Hinds constructed this residence on Overlook Road in 1898. It was a Romanesque structure with Art Noveau interior and glasswork from the Tiffany Studios. The home was demolished in 1930 and replaced by the Neoclassical First Church of the Christ Scientist designed by the architectural firm of Walker and Weeks. Behind the new structure—now the headquarters of design firm Nottingham Spirk—one can still see the steps and slate walks of the original Hinds estate. | Source: Cleveland Heights Historical Society View File Details Page

Calhoun-Crile House

Calhoun-Crile House

Patrick Calhoun™s home at 2620 Derbyshire was a three-story brick palazzo—one of the largest residences, if not the largest, in the Euclid Heights subdivision. It included twelve bedrooms, a ballroom, six servant bedrooms, and an interior courtyard. After Calhoun left Cleveland around 1917, the house was inhabited by Dr. George Crile, one of the founders of the Cleveland Clinic. The structure was demolished in the 1940s to make way for the Cedar Avenue Baptist Church (now called the Cedar Hill Baptist Church). The coach house bordering Overlook Lane still stands. | Source: Cleveland Heights Historical Society View File Details Page

Postcard View of the Overlook, ca. 1915

Postcard View of the Overlook, ca. 1915

The Overlook (the mansion-laden section of Overlook Road southwest of Edgehill Road) was an original feature of Euclid Heights Allotment, designed with beautiful views of the city and lake for the highest quality mansions in the subdivision. Image courtesy of Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Special Collections View File Details Page

Reward Poster, ca. 1910

Reward Poster, ca. 1910

The murder of William Lowe Rice, walking home one evening from the Euclid Club in 1910, was never solved, but his law partners offered this reward for information through the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency. Image courtesy of William C. Barrow View File Details Page

University Circle, Gateway to Euclid Heights

University Circle, Gateway to Euclid Heights

To help present a beautiful entry to Euclid Heights, Patrick Calhoun joined John D. Rockefeller and Case School of Applied Science in donating the land to form the University Circle streetcar junction, which became the name for the whole district. University Circle served as the formal entry to the city's series of new parks along Doan Brook, as well as to Euclid Heights, the latter following the route shown branching off the the right here. Image courtesy of Cleveland Memory Project, Cleveland State University Special Collections View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

William C. Barrow, “Euclid Heights Allotment,” Cleveland Historical, accessed March 27, 2017, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/650.

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