Homes Current

9718 Lake Shore Boulevard

Plat No. 631-02-005
Sublots 58, 60, 61 and 62 in the Burton & Moses Allotment.

This home is listed in the Ohio Historic Inventory

9718 Lake Shore Boulevard
9718 Lake Shore Boulevard

Abram and Sarah Garfield received five acres of the Brightwood property at the southeast corner of Haldeman Avenue (Lake Shore Boulevard) and Robison Avenue (Garfield Lane) as a marriage gift from Sarah’s parents, Edward and Mary Williams, who lived at Brightwood, 9534 Lakeshore Boulevard.

Garfield designed this Tudor Revival home on his father-in-law’s property in 1897. Phase I was completed in 1898. The newlyweds’ half-timbered mansion illustrated how fashions in domestic architecture had changed during the two decades that had passed since the construction of the Brightwood less assuming summer home.

Inspired by the firsthand study of English dwellings, the 9,200 square-foot home represented an amalgamation of Elizabethan, English, Jacobean, and Norman influences. Its ornate timber, masonry and stucco veneer, patterned brick and stonework, lent texture and depth. A steep-pitched gabled roof and prominent cross gable set it apart from other contemporary English-inspired motifs. Narrow grouped casement windows with small diamond glass panes and tall-stacked chimneys crowned by glazed pots made this home unique.

The 1898 entrance faced west to East 96th Street, now part of Lake Shore Boulevard. By 1915, the new main entrance changed to face north toward Lake Erie. Garfield designed three of the four sides of the home generally associated with classic front yards and effectively used architectural composition to welcome visitors from different geographic directions.

Between 1913 and 1915, Garfield designed a significant addition to the east of the original house, including the new entry, a majestic music room, a summer dining room, and a third-floor suite for their son Edward. The kitchen and their daughter, Polly’s room, went through a combination of additions and renovations.  The house changed from gas to electric lighting. A new steam boiler system and a built-in vacuum system were added. A phone and intercoms were installed to communicate with Brightwood, the gardener’s cottage, and the garages.

Visitors to the home entered through a massive four-inch-thick oak door and stepped into a paneled windowless vestibule. Pre-additions had served Garfield’s designated smoking den; the floor directly above had been Sarah’s sitting room.

A short passageway to the right of the vestibule led to a stepped entry to the family area and became a foyer facing the original 1898 entrance.

Initially, there was a spacious grand stairway leading to the second floor where there were four bedrooms- each with its bath, and a sitting area or sleeping porch. Three of the suites also had working fireplaces.

To the north of the stairway and original entry was the library with a paneled alcove tucked behind the fireplace with a leaded glass cabinet used to store Garfield’s drawings. The extensive porch wrapping around the northwest corner of the home was viewed through six matched leaded glass windows. Each of the windows had its own delicately designed emblem typical of the subtle attention to detail throughout the house.

Across the hall from the library was the formal dining room initially painted with a Sherwin-Williams cream milk paint. The original woodwork was refinished with the addition of booked cherry wainscoting.

Initially, two swinging doors connected to the butler’s pantry, leading to the kitchen and a flower room with a separate entrance to the gardens. Further back, the kitchen extended into a maid’s dining room, cook’s pantry, and a cold room. A built-in icebox spanned a complete wall with and exterior door for delivery of ice. Further, a scullery exited to a back porch. Off the dining room, an alcove opened to a screened summer dining room/porch with a Japanese influence. A 270-degree panorama swept across formal English gardens featuring brick-lined grass walkways.

Contrasting roof slates on the southeast dormer, facing the porch, were a reminder of the year the original home was built, and its roof replaced.

Details of the music room may well be the embodiment of Garfield’s career and the knowledge he garnered from his travels. The church-style room was laden with limed oak panels and gothic style molding to give the feeling of stone. The ceiling featured an ornamental plaster ceiling, and the floor was a herringbone oak parquet finished in lacquer.

The gallery at the opposite end of the room housed hand-made wooden organ pipes. The ornate gothic woodwork in the opposite southwestern corner of the room served to frame the organ console.

Three ornate clerestory windows framed a one-story spiral stairway. Mixed patterns of leaded Harvard glass allowed sunlight into the room. Beyond the door, off a small balcony, had been two rooms. Lined with cypress boards, one housed the handmade wooden organ pipes. Garfield used the second smaller room as his office. A dividing wall was likely removed when the organ and organ pipes were dismantled.

At the stairway’s base, to the left, was an exit to steps and a second exterior door leading to the porte-cochere and a separate entry where carriages and motor cars would transport guests to parties in the music room. From there, the carriages and motorcars were directed to either the small family farm or a limestone parking lot along the southern property line.

A spiral stair tower dominated the northwest corner of the music room with white oak-paneled wainscoting. At the bottom was a unique telephone booth/coat closet.

The stairs winding past what previously had been Sarah’s sitting-room led to a suite designed for their son, Edward. A domed plaster ceiling crowned the stairwell with exposed white oak timbers abutting a row of casement style windows. A pewter lantern hung centered above the stairs. Edward’s sitting room was reminiscent of a captain’s quarters in a rigged schooner.

A bedroom hall passed a bath with a walk-in closet complete with cabinets and slatted drawers typical of other built-ins throughout the home.

Off to the right of the bedroom was an all-weather porch. This sleeping porch occupied a second unique tower with ten leaded glass casement windows overlooking much of the southern gardens. Four grotesque gothic copper gargoyles replicating the singed and unwinged evil angels of folklore were seen from Edward’s sleeping porch.

A brick and stucco wall enveloped the property facing Lake Shore Boulevard and Robison Avenue (Garfield Lane). Attached to the wall on Robison Avenue was and open brick and sandstone summer tea house roofed with steam-bent cedar shingles. The tea house was initially on the sidelines of a tennis court.

To the rear of Brightwood was a stable/garage used by both the Baldwins and Garfields. Above the garage were servants’ sleeping quarters. Between the two houses was a wooden walkway that was stored away during the winter.

Ray and Katharine Rosenberry acquired the home on May 17, 1957.

Bratenahl Development Corporation acquired the home on September 24, 1962, to use as its headquarters. The development company later moved into permanent offices in the Bratenahl Place development, and the house converted to residential status.

Benson and Vicki Lee acquired the home on September 16, 1971.