Caledonia, Oxford & Noble Neighborhoods Tour
A Bungalow Tour of the Caledonia, Oxford & Noble Neighborhoods
Bungalows enjoyed great popularity during the 1920s, years of dramatic growth for Cleveland Heights. In 1920, the city had 15,396 residents and by 1930, the number had escalated to 50,945. Reflecting this population surge, the village of Cleveland Heights became incorporated as a city on August 9, 1921, with an appointed City Manager and a Mayor elected by City Council. Frank Cain served as Mayor, a post he held from 1914 to 1945.
In 1920, the city's older neighborhoods on the city's western boundaries were well established, but the area east of Taylor and north of Mayfield was sparsely settled. Three large estates stood at the intersection of Taylor and Mayfield Roads: Longwood (1911), the home of John L. Severance, now the site of Severance Town Center (see Commercial Districts); Ben Brae (1913), the home of Julia Severance Millikin, now the site of Fire Station Number 1 and Council Gardens; and Glen Allen (1915), the residence of Francis F. Prentiss, now the site of the new housing development called “Bluestone” (also former site of the Jewish Community Center) and Lutheran High School East. Nearby on what had been farmland were almost empty housing developments, grandly named Crestwood and Parkhill Subdivisions, Maple Villa, Noble Heights and Yellowstone Estates.
During the 1920s, as public transportation and private automobiles made this northeast quadrant of Cleveland Heights accessible, this once-distant area rapidly developed. Noble Elementary School (1922) and Oxford Elementary (1927) were built to serve the growing neighborhoods. The Noble Neighborhood Library was built in 1936. The Noble Road Fire Station (now home to the Cleveland Heights Police Academy) was completed in 1929; Monticello Junior High School (now Monticello Middle School) in 1930. Neighborhood churches included Noble Road Presbyterian (1922) on Noble Road, Landmark Community of Living Hope (formerly Church of the Cross) (1925) on Caledonia Avenue, and Gethsemane Evangelical Lutheran Church (now Mt. Olive Evangelical Lutheran Church) (1926) at Noble and Yellowstone Roads.
In order to accommodate the population boom, shops, including some of the city's first chain stores, clustered along major thoroughfares. At the intersections of Mayfield, Noble and Warrensville Center Roads were three groceries - Kroger, Fisher Brothers and Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A and P); there were also two butchers, two beauty parlors, a barber shop, two banks and two auto dealers. Along Noble from Helmsdale to Warrensville Center Road were two Fisher Brothers, a Kroger and an A and P, as well as butchers, delicatessens, barber shops and bakeries. Taylor Road also boasted Kroger (at Caledonia), Fisher Brothers and A and P stores at Helmsdale Road and Nelaview Road. (Shops on the west side of Taylor were removed for the Forest Hill development.)
By 1929, developers and real estate companies had built and sold hundreds of homes that reflected the period's eclectic tastes in domestic architecture. Many of these homes can be described as Colonial Revival, and there are numerous Tudor, Revival-style houses.
Bungalows are also especially prevalent in the Caledonia, Oxford and Noble Neighborhoods. The majority of the homes there were constructed in the 1920s and often exhibit Craftsman-style elements, which were common in that period. In most cases, bungalows are scattered in these neighborhoods, but Lecona Drive and Middleton, Nobleshire and Selwyn Roads have rows of bungalows.
The Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission has put together a self-guided walking tour of bungalows in the Noble, Oxford and Caledonia neighborhoods. The bungalows described in the brochure are only a small representation of the numerous bungalows in these Cleveland Heights neighborhoods. To obtain a copy of the bungalow walking tour, call 216-291-4878, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by Cleveland Heights Planning Department, 40 Severance Circle.
More information on Cleveland Heights' past can be found on the Cleveland Heights Historical Society website.