Homes Past

12003 Lake Shore Boulevard "The Beeches"

Plat No. 631-07-003 Lots 352 and 356
12003 Lake Shore Boulevard
12003 Lake Shore Boulevard

Colonel Henry and Mary Coit took possession of his father’s 264 acres bounded on the west by Dugway Brook and on the east by Nine Mile Creek in 1833. They built an unassuming farmhouse named for the Beech trees that grew along Shaw Brook stretching from the boulevard to the lake. Coit enlarged the house from its original size on four different occasions along with a string of outbuildings used for chickens, storage and as garages, an immense cattle barn, and a superintendent’s cottage.

Up to the 1890s, the property had included farmland reaching to St. Clair Avenue between Coit and Eddy Roads. By the turn of the century, the area was reduced to the ten acres of the southwest portion of the land between Shaw Brook and Nine Mile Brook on the north side of Lake Shore Boulevard.

Beeches was always a country place and did more than any other property in the Village to maintain a rural feeling. It was atypical from the beginning, when compared to other residences in the area, first, as a year-round dwelling, and second, as the center of a working farm. By the 1890’s it had reached its ultimate size, casually rambling to the east, west, and north of the original story and a half brick structure. Most of the additions were shingle, but the house did boast a squat brick tower and a porte-cochère.

The natural beauty of the site, bordering a ravine, creek, and the lake more than made up for the unassuming grounds. Elms, planted by Coit, lined the extensive system of drives. Between the house and the lakeshore, two rows of ancient apple trees formed a wide walkway.

The interior of the house consisted of a series of rooms leading into each other, not all on the same level. The ceilings were low except for the living and dining rooms. American Georgian and Federal Period furniture surrounded three magnificent Victorian mantles of white, green, and red marble, elaborately carved with figures, surmounted with gilt-framed mirrors to the ceiling.

Caroline Coit acquired the property from Charles Coit on May 23, 1903.

Cleveland Trust acquired the property from Mabelle Coit on October 19, 1926.

Samuel Mather acquired the property from Cleveland Trust on November 20, 1926.

Jeanette and Helen Kocin acquired the property from Cleveland Trust on December 31, 1947.

Joseph Kocinski acquired the property from the Kocins on March 13, 1950.  The great cattle barn had been pulled down.  The police chief reported in 1950 that the property was being operated as a rooming house with John Baker proprietor.

George and Ruth Gantose acquired the property from Cleveland Trust on July 30, 1952.

George Cantose died in November 1961.  The property passed through his estate to Cantose Realty, Inc. by executor's deed on November 21, 1963.   The house stood vacant for many years.  Dutch Elm Disease and the abandonment of the house took its toll on the property.  Cantose Realty continued to own the property when the house was demolished in 1971.