Levi Scofield House

The Historic Home of one of Cleveland's Finest Architects Slowly Crumbles

You can't walk through downtown Cleveland today without noticing and marveling at the ongoing restoration of the beautiful Scofield building, constructed in 1902 on the southwest corner of Euclid Avenue and East Ninth Street. And who hasn't visited Public Square without noticing the imposing 125-foot tall Soldiers and Sailors Monument there, dedicated in 1894 to Cleveland's Civil War heroes. But the magnificent mansion of the man who designed these two iconic Cleveland landmarks? Sitting for the last 117 years at 2438 Mapleside Road in the city's Buckeye-Woodhill neighborhood, hardly anyone notices it today. And, sadly, it is slowly crumbling into ruins.

Levi Tucker Scofield, the man who designed the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and built the Scofield Building, as well as the mansion on Mapleside Road, was a third-generation Clevelander, born in 1842 on Walnut Street, near today's downtown intersection of East Ninth and Superior Avenue. His grandfather Benjamin, a carpenter, came to Cleveland from the state of New York in 1816, and built some of the early-era buildings in what is now the city's downtown. Levi's father William followed in the family business, likewise becoming a carpenter and also a builder who contributed to the early building up of downtown Cleveland. In the 1850s, William purchased property on the southwest corner of Erie (East Ninth) and Euclid Avenue, and in about 1861 built a boarding house there, which also served as his family's residence. Growing up in such a family, it is not surprising that Levi decided to become an architect.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Levi Scofield, just 19 years old, left Cleveland to fight for the North. He joined the 103rd Regiment as a private, but was soon commissioned a second lieutenant. By the War's end, he had risen to the rank of Captain. In 1865, he returned to Cleveland and began his career as an architect. His work covered a wide range of building types. He designed mansions for Euclid Avenue millionaires. He also designed school buildings--including the Central High School building on Wilson Avenue (East 55th Street) in 1877. He was an early architect of penitentiary buildings, creating the plans for the Athens, Ohio Lunatic Asylum (1868)--today, housing the Kennedy Museum of Art at Ohio University, the North Carolina State Penitentiary (1870), and the Ohio State Reformatory at Mansfield (1886). Scofield also designed monuments--not just the famous Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Cleveland Public Square (1894), but also--and perhaps just as important to his national reputation, the 'These Are My Jewels' monument for the State of Ohio that was featured at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. And, of course, he designed office buildings, including the downtown Scofield Building.

In the 1890s, as the Euclid Avenue corridor in downtown Cleveland was transforming into a commercial district, Levi Scofield decided to move from what had been his boyhood neighborhood of Erie (East Ninth) Street and Euclid Avenue, to the "country"--the southeast side of Cleveland, near today's intersection of Quincy Avenue and Woodhill Road. There on a bluff overlooking the Fairmount Reservoir--which was then a picturesque body of water, he purchased six plus acres of land and designed and built a beautiful residence for his family. The three-story, stone-facade Victorian style house with over 6,000 square feet of living space was completed in 1898. Scofield resided there until his death in 1917.

After the death of Levi Scofield, his family remained in the house until 1925, when it was sold to the Cleveland Catholic Diocese. For the next thirty years, the Scofield mansion served as a chapel, a mission headquarters, and as a convent for the Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity. In 1955, the Sisters sold the property, and the mansion became a nursing home--first Mapleside Nursing and then Baldwin Manor, until approximately 1990, when it closed. Since that time, the mansion has been vacant and has experienced neglect and disrepair. Now nearly 120 years old, the Levi Scofield mansion is on the brink of demolition. There has been much talk in recent years about the Opportunity Corridor and what that new roadway might bring to the Buckeye-Woodhill neighborhood on Cleveland's southeast side, where this mansion still stands. Whether the new corridor will be built in time to bring new opportunity to the historic Levi Scofield Mansion, though, is anyone's guess.

Images

Levi Scofield Home

Levi Scofield Home

Built in 1898 on a bluff overlooking the Fairmount Reservoir, the Victorian-style mansion contains many of the features noticeable in other buildings designed by Scofield, particularly its rusticated stone exterior, castle-like turrets, and large and numerous windows. Levi lived in this house with his family until his death in 1917. | Creator: Cleveland Public Library, Digital Photograph Collection View File Details Page

Levi T. Scofield (1842-1917)

Levi T. Scofield (1842-1917)

One of Cleveland's best known architects, Scofield was a third generation Clevelander, the grandson and son of carpenters who built many of the early to mid- nineteenth century buildings in what is today the downtown area. Levi grew up on the corner of Ninth and Euclid, served in the Civil War as a captain of the 103rd Regiment, and then returned to Cleveland where he became a talented and prolific architect. He was the first architect from Cleveland to be invited into the membership of the American Institute of Architects. This photo was taken circa 1900. | Creator: Cleveland Public Library, Digital Photograph Collection View File Details Page

Euclid Place

Euclid Place

In circa 1861, William Scofield, a carpenter by trade, built an Italianate-style boarding house (shown on the right of this 1884 photograph, just west of the First Baptist Church) on the southwest corner of Euclid Avenue and Erie (East Ninth) Street. The boarding house, which also served as home to the Scofield family, fronted on Euclid, and replaced a smaller Scofield family home--built in about 1852, which had fronted on Erie St. Perhaps this informed son Levi's decision decades later to design the Scofield Building to wrap around the corner of Euclid and Ninth with prominent frontage on both streets. | Creator: Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Special Collections View File Details Page

Central High School No. 2

Central High School No. 2

Levi Scofield designed a number of school buildings in Cleveland including this, the second Central High School Building. Located on Wilson Avenue (East 55th Street) south of Cedar Avenue, it opened to classes in 1878. The building was razed in 1952. The site is today occupied by George Washington Carver elementary school. This photo of Central High School was taken in 1912. | Source: Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Special Collections View File Details Page

These Are My Jewels

These Are My Jewels

Levi Scofield achieved national prominence as an architect when this monument, which he designed for the State of Ohio, was featured, as shown in this photograph, at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. After the Fair ended, the monument was transported to Columbus, where it became the first monument to be placed on the grounds of the State House. It is still there today. | Creator: Ohio History Collection View File Details Page

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

Soldiers and Sailors Monument

Perhaps the jewel of Levi Scofield's career, this monument, which honors the Clevelanders who fought in the Civil War, was dedicated in 1894. But, before it could be built, Levi had to wage a nearly 8-year long battle to convince State and local officials that it was a worthy project. Along with his design work for which he received no compensation, Levi contributed $57,000 to the construction costs of the monument. In 2015 dollars, that figure would be well over $1,000,000. This photograph, which, in addition to the monument, also presents a view of Euclid Avenue east from the Square, was taken between 1895-1900. | Creator: Cleveland History Collection View File Details Page

A Beautiful View

A Beautiful View

In the 1890s, as Cleveland's industrial growth and population boomed, the Euclid Avenue corridor in the city's downtown area began its transformation into a commercial district. Perhaps in response to this commercialization of what had been a residential neighborhood in his boyhood, Levi Scofield decided in 1897 to move out of downtown. He purchased six plus acres of land near Quincy Avenue and Woodland Hills Road on the city's southeast side, located on a bluff overlooking the Fairmount Reservoir. This section of the 1898 Cleveland Atlas depicts the mansion which he built there in that same year, and its proximity to the Reservoir. Levi Scofield resided in this neighborhood until his death in 1917. | Creator: Cleveland Public Library, Digital Map Collection View File Details Page

One of Cleveland's Beautiful Homes

One of Cleveland's Beautiful Homes

The Scofield Mansion was featured in a book aptly named the "Beautiful Homes of Cleveland," published in 1917, the same year that Levi Scofield died. His family continued to live in the house until 1925, when it was sold to the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, and became, for most of the next three decades, a convent for the Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity. | Creator: Cleveland Public Library, Digital Photograph Collection View File Details Page

The Scofield Building

The Scofield Building

After moving to the southeast side of Cleveland in 1898, Levi Scofield designed and then in 1901-1902 built the Scofield Building, which still stands on the southwest corner of Euclid Avenue and East Ninth Street. Levi's architectural firm, which by this time his sons William and Sherman had joined, was located for years in this pressed red brick 14-story building. The Scofield Building dwarfed the 8-story Hickox Building (1890), located directly across Euclid Avenue from it, and, until construction of the Rockefeller Building was completed in 1905, it was the second tallest building in Cleveland--second only to the Guardian Bank Building at East 6th and Euclid. This photo of the building was taken in 1910. | Creator: Cleveland Public Library, Digital Photograph Collection View File Details Page

Ohio State Reformatory

Ohio State Reformatory

Among the types of buildings, for which Levi Scofield acquired fame as an architect, were penitentiaries. In 1886, he designed the Ohio State Reformatory at Mansfield (shown in this 1900-1910 postcard) as an "intermediate" penitentiary for young offenders. Scofield also designed the Athens, Ohio Lunatic Aylum (1868) and the North Carolina State Penitentiary in Raleigh (1870). | Creator: Ohio History Connection View File Details Page

A Convent and Then a Nursing Home

A Convent and Then a Nursing Home

The Scofield Mansion appears to have been fairly well-maintained for the 30-years during which it was owned by the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, as this 1959 county tax appraisal photo of the rear of the mansion reveals. It thereafter operated as a nursing home until approximately 1990, when it closed. Over the next decade and a half, the Scofield mansion was vacant and, because of neglect, entered into a period of accelerated decline. By 2015, the mansion was beginning to crumble into ruins. | Creator: Cuyahoga County Archives View File Details Page

The Levi Scofield Mansion - Today

The Levi Scofield Mansion - Today

These three photographs taken in October 2015 sadly reveal the condition of the mansion today. | Creator: Jay Westbrook View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Jim Dubelko, “Levi Scofield House,” Cleveland Historical, accessed May 29, 2017, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/742.

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