A new historic district for Cleveland Heights

The City of Cleveland Heights will soon boast a new National Register Historic District. According to the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, the new district will be the eighth nationally listed district that is in whole or in part located within the city boundaries. It will join Ambler Heights, Euclid Golf Allotment, Fairmount Boulevard, Overlook Road Carriage House, Fairhill Road Village, Forest Hill and Forest Hill Park historic districts. Sometimes referred to as “Pill Hill,” because of the abundance of doctors that once lived there, the Inglewood Historic District will include houses on Inglewood, Yellowstone, Oakridge, Quilliams, Glenwood and Cleveland Heights Boulevard. Originally developed by the Van Sweringen brothers as part of the Shaker Heights Improvement Company‘s subdivisions number four and six, the district is centered around Inglewood Drive, North of Mayfield and East of Taylor Road, behind Lutheran East High School.

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of properties recognized by the federal government as worthy of preservation for their local, state, or national significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, or culture. To qualify for the National Register, a property must meet one of four broad criteria, it must be associated with an important historic context and it must retain the integrity of the historic features that convey its significance. The Inglewood Neighborhood meets three of these criteria: Criterion A, relating to historic events; Criterion B, regarding association with individuals that have made a significant contribution to society; and Criterion C, architecture. In accordance with the National Register’s fifty year rule, the period of significance for the district begins in 1920, when the land was purchased by the Shaker Heights Development Company, and ends fifty years ago, in 1958.

The district showcases prominent residential architectural styles popular during Cleveland Height’s period of tremendous growth and transition from a rural landscape to a suburb of Cleveland. The homes encompass Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival, Mediterranean Style, Shingle Style and other popular styles and includes significant homes designed by prominent Cleveland architects. Commercial architects, such as Walker and Weeks, Howell and Thomas, Bloodgood Tuttle, Abram Garfield, Charles S. Schneider, and John Graham, along with residential architects, such as Best and Hoefler, George Johnston, William D. MacIvor, M.P. Halperin, and H.O. Fullerton, designed the homes built in the early years of the Van Sweringen development. Later architects include Ray Moulthrop, George H. Burrows, Maxwell Norcross, Munroe Walker Copper Jr., Walter Harris Smith, and Chester Lowe.

The Pill Hill area of Cleveland Heights includes two other non-Van Sweringen developments. The 25 acres that make up Oakridge Circle, previously known as Oakridge Park or the Oakridge Drive cul-de-sac, was purchased and developed by the architect Francis Wragg. Beginning in 1956, the homes along the west side of Yellowstone were built on land previously occupied by the Glen Allen Estate and became known as Prentiss Park. While at least one of the two developments may be eligible for listing on the National Register, neither one was included in the Inglewood nomination.

Diana Wellman of Inglewood Drive drafted the nomination and submitted it to the State Historic Preservation Office in early April. The Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board review the nomination at their August meeting. The Advisory Board reviews and recommends nominations to the Secretary of the Interior at the National Parks Service, who then places properties in the National Register. Residents expect the Inglewood Historic District to officially appear in the National Register of Historic Places by the end of 2008.

Once the district is listed, residents hope the City of Cleveland Heights will post a Historic Landmark sign in a prominent location in the neighborhood. Listing in the National Register will not prohibit residents from making changes to their homes, nor will it require them to do so. As are all property owners in Cleveland Heights, residents will still be required to meet permitting and construction requirements enforced by the City. For more information about the National Register of Historic Places visit: http://www.ohiohistory.org/resource/histpres/ or http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/.
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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 12:47 PM, 04.11.2008