Noble-Monticello

Tour curated by: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities

The Noble-Monticello area of Cleveland Heights was largely farmland until about a century ago. Dairies, orchards, and farms made the area something of a "breadbasket" while bluestone quarries yielded the stones that helped build Cleveland. As in other cities, wealthy industrialists fashioned country estates on the Heights by the turn of the last century. By the 1910s Noble Road also became home to the nation's first suburban industrial campus as the GE Lighting Division opened Nela Park, the "University of Light." Thousands of suburban homes replaced farmland in the 20th century, and today the few remaining farmhouses are curiosities amid the many colonial revival tract houses that joined them. With its walkable commercial districts and quaint homes, Noble-Monticello also has some hidden surprises--WPA murals and ceramics, relics from bygone estates, an architect-designed enclave developed by the creators of Shaker Heights, Ohio's first shopping mall, and even an astronomical observatory.

Locations for Tour

Denison Park, which anchors the northeastern edge of Cleveland Heights just west of Euclid Creek, straddled one of the old Euclid bluestone quarries that dotted the landscape to the east of Cleveland. Nearby, a town called Bluestone appeared in…

The home at 1022 Keystone is a rather modest dwelling, with little now to distinguish it from its neighbors. But underneath the siding and some other modern improvements is a Lustron home, one of about 3,000 prefabricated enameled-steel houses that…

Although it is hard to imagine, Cleveland Heights was once covered in towering trees, large farms, quarries and vineyards. While people moved from the City of Cleveland into other adjacent areas in the 1830s and 1840s, Cleveland Heights remained…

In 1907, as the First United Presbyterian Church of East Cleveland celebrated its 100th birthday, it was suggested that an appropriate feature of the celebration would be the founding of a mission chapel, originally called Noble Heights Bible Chapel.…

"If you've ever tried to find a cookbook at the Noble library and couldn't, I think we know why," said a Cleveland Heights police spokesman following the 1984 arrest of an unemployed insurance salesman. They nabbed the man, who…

Covered in large farms in the mid-19th century, the northern end of Cleveland Heights was sparsely populated. The twenty school age-children all attended a simple one-room school house starting in the 1840s. This schoolhouse continued to serve the…

The famed Van Sweringen brothers, known for developing Shaker Heights, envisioned an architect-designed neighborhood rubbing shoulders with three grand estates in the countryside of Cleveland Heights. The resulting neighborhood, now the Inglewood…

The intersection of South Taylor and Mayfield roads in Cleveland Heights is nothing like it was 100 years ago. In the early 20th century, both roads were narrow but long-established country thoroughfares. Dense, old-growth foliage bordered much of…

In the early 1900s, wealthy Clevelanders escaped from the pollution and congestion of downtown to the fresh air and open spaces of the countryside. Three members of the Severance family purchased land at the intersection of Mayfield and Taylor Roads…

Seven years after Victor Gruen's visionary Southdale appeared outside Minneapolis, consigning many an American downtown to a generation of retail decline, Severance Center opened in Cleveland Heights in 1963 as the first fully enclosed regional…

Monticello Junior High was the last building built in the Heights Schools' rapid expansion of the 1920s. After the construction of Roosevelt, Fairfax, Coventry, Roxboro Elementary, Taylor, Noble, Boulevard, Roxboro Junior High, Oxford and…

On a high, grassy knoll overlooking East Cleveland stands the Warner & Swasey Observatory. Once a scientific landmark, today it is a bleak sentinel. Although it operated for more than sixty years, offering what the Plain Dealer called "a…

The National Electric Lamp Association (NELA) formed in 1901 under Franklin Terry and Burton Tremaine. Much of NELA's light-bulb innovation stemmed from, and competed with, both Brush's arc light technology, and Thomas Edison's…

Tucked away in a Cleveland Heights neighborhood is a whimsical trove of 1930s federal art. Thousands of students and hundreds of teachers who walked daily through the halls and library of Oxford Elementary School have passed by these beautiful pieces…
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