Homes Past

297 Bratenahl Road "Towers"

Plat Nos. 631-04-003, 631-04-004 and 631-04-005
297 Bratenahl Road "Towers"
297 Bratenahl Road "Towers"

Louis and Lillian Grossman acquired a ten-acre site from John and Mary Hill of Sierra Madre, California. The property was located at the northeast corner of Doan Street (Bratenahl Road) and Lake Shore Boulevard. They retained the architectural firm of  Cramer & Fugman, established in 1887, to design their châteauesque style home.

Charles Cramer was s born on October 23, 1862, and died on June 25, 1933. Godfrey Fugman was born on September 22, 1858, and died on September 3, 1935.

While not of national reputation, the architects were, nonetheless, very talented men who worked in the nationally popular styles during the Golden Era of Cleveland. Active in the continuing development of their profession, they were well-respected architects for Cleveland at the turn of the 20th century with innovation in design, technology, and use of material.

The Towers was a remarkable exercise in French chateau architecture in frame and shingle. Set high on a stone terrace, this graceful house with its magnificent tapestried living room was all charm, sophistication, and understatement.

The Grossmans acquired additional acreage to the east on Lake Shore Boulevard to Corning Drive from Nathan Loeser on November 29,1898. The northern border had a gardener’s house, barns, and a very long row of chicken houses. The entire property was cultivated intensively, with the eastern two-thirds comprising vegetable and cutting gardens. The Grossmans employed twenty gardeners to maintain their ten acres.

The Grossman home was razed in 1958. The site became covered by weeds. Out of sight from the road, the ruins of chicken coops and rusted remnants of irrigating pipes showed traces of better days.

Bratenahl Development Corporation acquired the property on October 7, 1963, and began the construction of the eight Bratenahl Court model homes. Original plans were to build a total of forty-eight units designed by Cleveland architect John Terrence Kelly. There were eight townhouses completed in the summer of 1967, and the remaining forty units originally intended were never completed.