A Unique Cleveland Heights Neighborhood Once Known as the Development of "Mayfield Heights"
"The area bounded by Coventry Road, Mayfield Road, Superior Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard, often referred to as "Coventry Village.""
Mayfield Heights Origins
In 1898, real estate developer Marcus M. Brown named his new allotment Mayfield Heights because it was close to the streetcar line running up Mayfield Road from Euclid Avenue. Brown hoped the streetcar would attract to his development home buyers who worked in downtown Cleveland, but yearned to live in this distant, almost rural, setting. (On a clear day, there is a magnificent view of downtown buildings from the corner of Hampshire and Cadwell Roads.) Farmers like Charles Wilder Taylor, Peter Rush and Seth Minor had first settled the area; city streets still bear their names.
Brown bought his land from Mary Preyer Hellwig and Emil Preyer, the children of John Peter Preyer, who in 1864 had purchased the stone house on Superior Road still known as the Preyer House. Emil Preyer owned an orchard and vineyard and ran a cider and grist mill on Dugway Brook, which ran through what is now Cumberland Park. To the west of Preyer's mill on Mayfield Road was Lake View Cemetery; to the east, the dairy farm of Orville A. Dean. At the intersection of Mayfield and Superior Roads, several homes clustered around the general store, which also housed the post office for what was then call Fairmount village. John D. Rockefeller owned land nearby. The Superior Road Schoolhouse stood where it stands today. Next door was the Fairmount Methodist Episcopal Church, built in 1878.
New streetcar lines and energetic developers, like Brown, Patrick Calhoun, William Ambler and B. V. Deming, rapidly transformed this small farming community into a thriving suburb. In 1903, Cleveland Heights was incorporated as a village. Government business was conducted in the Superior Road Schoolhouse until 1909, when a new town hall opened at Mayfield and Ridgefield Roads. In 1916, Cleveland Heights purchased the acres that would be developed as Cumberland and Cain Parks.
In contrast to their wealthy neighbors to the west in Calhoun's Euclid Heights development, Mayfield Heights' first families were headed by white collar, middle-income men: salesmen, bookkeepers, managers and bank clerks, according to the 1910 federal census. Mayfield Heights was designed to appeal to those upwardly mobile families.
Most homes in this picturesque, but hilly, rocky site were built between 1900 and 1916, reflecting the period's imaginative, eclectic tastes in domestic architecture. Buyers could choose a towered Queen Anne Shingle Style home, a skillfully crafted bungalow, or a stately Colonial Revival structure.
Recognizing the historic and architectural importance of the Mayfield Heights neighborhood, public agencies and private individuals have worked to preserve its past. The Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission has landmarked several sites, and two are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Homeowners have invested money and sweat equity in their properties, thoughtfully maintaining and handsomely renovating them in historically sensitive ways.
Preservation & Progress
Preservation efforts have paid off. Despite the encroachment of car dealerships and six-lane traffic on Mayfield Road, old Mayfield Heights retains much of its charm, and its property values remain high. As Marcus M. Brown would have wished, this neighborhood, now a century old, remains a vibrant, economically viable community.
For more information, call the Cleveland Heights Department of Planning and Development at 216-291-4878, email them, or stop by Cleveland Heights City Hall:
40 Severance Circle
Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118