Staff and Administration

Hoban, Hogan or Who? – A Bratenahl School Mystery

On Saturday, February 13, 1971, Dr. and Mrs. Donald B. Cameron hosted the First Scholarship Ball in their Bratenahl home to raise funds for the Bratenahl School scholarship program.  It was a memorable event.  As reported by Mary McLaughlin in The Plain Dealer the following Monday:

“During the evening a number of guests performed the ‘Sirto,’ a fast tempo Greek dance.  Music was by the Drachmas, and joining in the combo on the trumpet for a few minutes was Chris T. Jelepis, the school superintendent.  Music for the rest of the evening was by the Ed Cole Quartet.”

A program was distributed to all residents and guests attending the ball, including an article entitled “The History of Bratenahl School.”  In the program, the first year that school classes were conducted in the Village of Bratenahl is summarized as follows:

“After the local county school board was formed and plans were made to build a school building, the Bratenahl school was held in temporary quarters in 1906-07 in the summer home of Mr. Hoban (an undertaker) on the land at the northwest corner of Lake Shore Boulevard and Bratenahl Road (formerly East 105th Street and even earlier Doan Street.)”

The statement that the first school year in Bratenahl was held at the summer home of “Mr. Hoban (an undertaker)” appears in a number of subsequent articles discussing the history of the Bratenahl schools, probably copied from the First Scholarship Ball program.

Unfortunately, a search of Bratenahl land records from the early 1900s and other contemporaneous documents, has failed to identify any Bratenahl landowner or resident from the time period with the name of “Hoban.”   (Edward Francis Hoban, Archbishop of Cleveland, purchased Lakehurst in 1945, long after the time period in question.)  Although the Bratenahl Historical Society has numerous records detailing the history of the Bratenahl School, none of these documents identify where classes were held during the first school year.

So where did the schoolchildren attend classes during the first year of the Bratenahl School?

It turns out that during part of that first school year, classes were held in the newly-built Bratenahl School.  While the historical record shows that the Bratenahl School was dedicated on June 6, 1907, the school was forced to open on February 4, 1907 thanks, in part, to Bratenahl’s winter weather.  As reported in The Plain Dealer on February 5, 1907:

“Bratenahl school was occupied for the first time yesterday. . . .[A]n emergency building has been utilized for school purposes, but its heating arrangement was not what it might have been, and when the cold snap came the pupils were dismissed and the teachers went home.  There was no school at all last week and most of the children were happy.  Seating arrangements were provided at once in the new building and it was thoroughly warmed Sunday so that classes resumed yesterday.”

The location of the “emergency building” where classes were held from September 1906 to January 1907 is not identified in the article.  Since the heating arrangements were “not what it might have been” in the building, could this describe a “summer home” as referenced in the First Scholarship Ball program?  Possibly, but where was the “emergency building” or “summer home” located?

One explanation could be the result of a simple typographical error:   Hogan, not Hoban.  In the early 1900s, Jerimiah P. and Mary A. Hogan owned a number of parcels in Bratenahl Village.  Jerimiah P. Hogan was born on February 1, 1852 in Cleveland, the son of parents born in Ireland.  He died, after Mary, on February 19, 1933 at the age of 81.  Although retired at the time of his death, Hogan’s profession is identified on his death certificate as “Funeral Director.”  A Cleveland business directory from 1901 shows that Jeremiah Hogan owned Hogan & Company (identified as “Funeral Directors”) with a main office at 717 Superior in Cleveland.

Both Jeremiah and Mary Hogan owned property in Bratenahl along Lake Erie west of Doan Street (now Bratenahl Road) in the Haldeman allotment in 1900, approximately where 10401 Lakeshore Boulevard is today.  Cuyahoga County records show, however, that the Hogans sold their property on the lakefront to Lennox Realty Company on July 25, 1901.  Although no longer owners of the property, is it possible that a building on the parcel was still referred to as the “Hogan summer home” five years later, just as residents still refer to the “Gwinn Mansion” today?  Could recollections have confused “Mr. Hoban (an undertaker)” with “Mr. Hogan (an undertaker)?” If not Jeremiah Hogan, how many other undertakers lived in the Village in the early 1900s?

Whether the Bratenahl School actually met in Jeremiah and Mary Hogan’s summer home cannot be verified from the currently available records of the Bratenahl Historical Society. Where did the Bratenahl students actually meet in the autumn of 1906?  If anyone has any information that could definitively solve this mystery, please contact the Bratenahl Historical Society.