281 Corning Drive
Plat No. 631-05-026
Standard Land Company Sublot 24
The home is listed in the Ohio Historic Inventory
Henry and Edith Corning acquired a large sublot on the northeast corner of the Corning Place development from the Standard Land Company on November 8, 1917. Known as sublot 24, the property consisted of 8.5 acres and ran south along the western shore of Dugway Creek.
They built a 13,000 square foot Jacobean Revival home designed by Meade & Hamilton on grounds planned by the noted landscape architect A. D. Taylor.
The partnership of Meade & Hamilton coincided with the “golden age” of the suburban home that came in the years immediately before and after the First World War. After three years with Alfred Granger and six years with Abram Garfield, Frank Meade formed a partnership with James Hamilton in 1911 that lasted for thirty years.
Frank B. Meade was born in Norwalk, Ohio. Meade studied in Boston and worked as a draftsman in the office of William LeBaron Jenney in Chicago. In 1911, Meade succeeded John Carrere as a member of the Cleveland Group Plan Commission.
Meade & Hamilton designed six additional Bratenahl residences: the Bulkley home at 282 Corning, the Haysmar Complex at 10221 Lake Shore, the Strong home at 10494 Lake Shore, the Sheffield home at 13003 Lake Shore, the Coe home at 13303 Lake Shore, and the Johnson home at 13405 Lake Shore.
The Corning estate copied Hampton Court Gardens near London. English precedent prevailed in the design of the house as a whole and the handling of some of the detail. The grouping of windows in the gable end has the typical result in modern English work of contrasting large openings with larger wall surfaces, differing in this respect from the more usual American way of treating each window as a separate unit. To avoid monotony in form, the architect had broken the exterior with several masses instead of treating it as a single mass. Chimney and gable verticals contrast with the long horizontal roof. To the west of the house was a sunken walled garden.
One of the first homes to have an elevator, the house had the usual large rooms with paneling and leaded glass windows. The Adam-style formal dining room with its fireplace and detailed plaster relief overlooked the terrace. Floors are of inlaid herringbone oak. The library is perfectly proportioned with paneling on the walls and the bookcases that have leaded glass doors. The living room was large enough to hold two concert grand pianos and 120 people.
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History acquired the property on November 26, 1940.
William and Amelia Dornback Sr. acquired the home on October 2, 1953, moving from their home at 10221 Lake Shore Boulevard.
Belden Realty acquired the home on June 20, 1957.
William and Loretta Dornback Jr. acquired the home on February 11, 1960.
Dale and Cynthia Gnandt acquired the home on September 1, 1972. They spent years designing and building a break wall with over 10,000 truckloads of stone into place.
Thomas and Lydia Christopherson acquired the home on June 18, 2007. The Christophersons repaired fifty room leaks, ran new gas and water lines, put seven bathrooms on the second floor back in working order, bought a new boiler, and removed a tree that had crashed through a second-story room.