Matthew and Mabel Shields Andrews - Businessman and Philanthropist

Gordon Hall (East 88th Street)
Matthew Andrews
Matthew Andrews

Matthew Andrews, chairman of the board of M. A. Hanna Company, and Mabel Shields Andrews, a recognized Cleveland philanthropist, lived in Bratenahl at Gordon Hall, Dan Hanna’s fashionable English manor.

Matthew Andrews was born on March 29, 1865 in Industry, Pennsylvania, the son of Thompson J. and America Andrews. His family moved to East Liverpool, Ohio, when Matthew was young.  He came to Cleveland as an employee of the Pennsylvania Railroad, working as the weighmaster at the railway’s East 55th Street station.  After some time employed by the railroad, he worked at the C&P ore dock, obtaining first-hand experience in the handling of iron ore traffic on the river and lake.  Thereafter, he worked at the M.A. Hanna iron ore dock, where he later became superintendent.

Impressed by his knowledge of the iron ore trade, Andrews was made a partner in the M. A. Hanna Company around 1908, working alongside Dan R. Hanna and R. L. Ireland.  In 1922, Andrews became chairman of the board of the company.  He maintained an office at 1300 Leader Building.  Andrews was a member of the Union, Tavern, Chagrin Valley Hunt, Pepper Pike, and India House Clubs, and the Racquet and Tennis Clubs of New York.

Andrews married Mabel Shields in Hudson, Ohio on February 24, 1892.  Mabel Shields Andrews was born on March 9, 1869, on East Main Street in Hudson, Ohio.  They had two children, Donald Shields, born on September 21, 1893, and Marcella Virginia, born on March 18, 1895.

Mabel Shields Andrews

Mabel Shields Andrews

Matthew and Mabel Andrews purchased Gordon Hall from Dan Hanna in 1910.  They lived in the manor for ten years, hosting large society events.   On January 27, 1917, Marcella married Charles McGhee Baxter, the son of the former Governor of Tennessee, in what was described at the time as “the largest and most fashionable wedding of the winter.”  The wedding reception was held at Gordon Hall. Marcella and Charles Baxter had three children, Matthew Andrews Baxter, Charles McGhee Baxter, Jr., and Nancy Baxter.

During the time that the Andrews lived at Gordon Hall, their son Donald married Alma V. Hayne over their firm objections.  Hayne claimed to be the natural daughter of the Crown Prince Rudolph, son of Emperor Francis Joseph, and Marie Vetsera, the beautiful young baroness, with whom the crown prince was found dead in a hunting lodge in 1889. The wedding scandalized society at the time and the marriage ended within a few weeks.  Donald later married Nilah Reeder, becoming an independent chemical researcher.  They had one son Donald Shields Andrews, Jr.

The Andrews moved from Gordon Hall to Gates Mills in the early 1920s, leaving the manor vacant.  Over a period of three years in the late 1920s, the Andrews family experienced loss and tragedy. Marcella Andrews Baxter died in Paris on May 16, 1927, at the age of 32.  On January 5, 1929, Matthew Andrews died in St. Augustine, Florida, where he had gone for a winter vacation.  He was 63 years old.    On June 10, 1930, Donald Shields Andrews died at his chemical laboratory in Fairhaven, New Jersey, after he accidently drank poison mistaking it for water.

After the death of her husband and children, Mabel Andrews continued to live at her estate on Hanover Road in Gates Mills until 1951, when she moved to Wade Park Manor.  She devoted herself to philanthropic pursuits.  She was a charter member of the Garden Club of Cleveland and helped establish the Garden Center of Greater Cleveland and the Fine Arts Garden.  She established the Matthew Andrews Foundation at University Hospital in memory of her husband.  The foundation provided funds for the study, prevention, and treatment of nervous and mental diseases.  In 1945, Mabel Andrews donated the site of Gordon Hall to the City of Cleveland for park purposes, although most of the land would be used eventually for the construction of the Lakeland Freeway.

In 1954, Wooster College dedicated Matthew Andrews Hall, a new dormitory designed to house 80 male students, funded in part by the generosity of Mabel Andrews.  She became a member of the board of trustees of Wooster College in 1954, receiving an honorary degree from the college in 1960.  She was honored again in 1962 when the Andrews Library at Wooster College was dedicated.  She donated $1 million for the library in 1969.

Mabel Shields Andrews died on January 7, 1963 at the age of 94.   She is buried next to Matthew and her two children at Lakeview Cemetery.