Early Settlers

Charles and Mary Bratenahl

East 88th Street

Charles George Bratenahl, the namesake for the Village of Bratenahl, was born on December 9, 1817, in Wolfenbuttel, Germany, and emigrated to the United States in June 1846. His younger brother, Louis, followed in May 1949. On March 29, 1850, the brothers established a large wholesale trade in hides and leather on Superior Street near West 9th Street in Cleveland.

Charles became a naturalized United States citizen on January 14, 1853. On February 17, 1853, he purchased 19.5 acres of lakefront property in East Cleveland Township from Catherine Walbridge that subsequently became the Bratenahl homestead.

He followed up with the purchases of 22,97 acres, known as the Houghton lot, adjoining his homestead on the west and south; next was 5.77 acres known as the Odell lot; and 36.3 acres, known as the Sizer place, on the west side of Bratenahl Lane south of the railroad. Charles had amassed 84.6 acres of land extending from the lakeshore to St. Claire Street. The path to his farm from St. Claire Street was called Bratenahl Lane (East 88th Street).

Charles built a home on the lake in East Cleveland Township from a design supplied by Cleveland architect Joseph Blackburn.

Charles married Mary Grant Fitch on June 27, 1861, at Dunham Tavern in Cleveland. She was born on May 23, 1840, in Cleveland to Grant and Mary Baldwin Fitch who owned the Dunham Tavern where Mary and her sister grew up.

Charles and Mary had four children: George Carl Fitch, born on May 14, 1862; Gustav Weber, Mary, who died on April 27, 1864, after living only 25 days and Lydia, who died on June 26, 1870, after having lived only eight months.

Charles was quite well known for his gardens and flowers. He exhibited and won several prizes at the state fair held near the Glenville Race Track. Because of Bratenahl’s love and knowledge of horticulture, he planted their property most unusually with many rare trees and shrubs and fine specimens of native plant material. The property was said to have borne a more considerable resemblance to a park than a truck farm.

Charles died of heart disease on August 14, 1870, only nine years after his marriage, and was buried in Woodland Cemetery. After his death, Mary moved with her sons to live with her mother, sister, and stepfather at Dunham Tavern.

Mary had to sell the properties to pay off the mortgages. Abel Fairbanks acquired the 15.52-acre Bratenahl homestead in 1870. William J. Gordon acquired the property west of Bratenahl Lane (Gordon Park) in 1871. Dr. James Salisbury purchased 8.3 acres. Mary maintained seven lots on Louis Avenue (Lake Shore Boulevard). Louis Avenue was thought to be named after Charles’ brother, who died from cholera a month before Charles.

By 1878, the Bratenahl boys were ready for college, and Mary remarried Edward G. Day of New York City, and the family moved east.

Mary died of pneumonia on January 10, 1914, Her will was probated in New York, and listed her son, George Charles Fitch Bratenahl as executor and trustee of her will.

Mary was returned to Cleveland to be buried alongside Charles in Woodland Cemetery?