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The Hall Family in Lakewood
Drive down any number of streets in Lakewood and you are connected to a piece of our community’s history. Hall, Ethel, Edward, Arthur, mathews, McClure, Maile and Lauderdale are all streets named in honor of Hall family members. The history of the Hall Family in Lakewood provides a fascinating window into the growth of our community. The activities of the first, second and third generations of the Halls typified the changes happening in Lakewood.
Joseph C. Hall and son Matthew
The Early Years
Joseph and Sarah Curtis Hall arrived in Rockport Township (Lakewood) with five small children and one on the way. Lured away from Chatteris, England by the
Berry Pickers, Hall Fruit Farm
enthusiastic letters of a friend, Joseph and Sarah were a bit dismayed by the wilderness that greeted them but set to work establishing a new life. Joseph purchased a strip of land on Detroit at Marlowe. He built a stone house, completed before winter set in but not before the birth of his sixth child. One year later, their last children Mary was born in the house. All seven children were raised in the stone house, which was about the same size at the Oldest Stone House.
A very successful farmer, Joseph acquired property throughout Rockport. Maps of Cuyahoga County from 1874, 1892 and 1903 show Joseph C. Hall owning three parcels in Rockport: forty acres from Detroit to Madison at Marlowe, where he built his stone house; about 17 acres from along Marlowe from Detroit almost to the lake; and 16 acres from Detroit to Hilliard between Lakeland and Arthur. Joseph gifted eighty acres to each child upon their marriage. Oldest son Joseph Jr. received the original homestead, sons Curtis, Mathew and John received property on the western side of Lakewood and daughters Anna, Sarah and Mary received land outside of the community.
The Second Generation in Lakewood
Joseph Jr. married Patience Wetherby, living on the family homestead at Detroit and Marlowe. Joseph and Patience had one son, Albert, born in 1842. Joseph was listed as a butcher in 1850 census. His descendants lived on the original family land until about 1915.
Upon his marriage to Emma Patchen, Curtis received eighty acres stretching north of Detroit between Hall and Cranford. He built a brick home at the northwest corner of Cranford and Detroit. Their four children, Tom, Fred, Alfred and Clara, grew to adulthood in this house, which still stands today.
Curtis Hall House, 16104 Detroit
Mathew owned land west of his brother Curtis, extending north from Detroit and he built his first home during the Civil War. This house still stands at 16906 Detroit.
Matthew Curtis Hall
Mathew built a much larger brick home in 1879 just across Edwards Avenue, in what is now Edwards Park. Mathew and his second wife Margaret raised their two children Ethel and Edward in this house. Among his many business activities, Mathew served as the superintendent of the Plank Road. Like most members of the Hall family, Mathew traveled extensively.
John Curtis Hall
John married Elizabeth Maile and they first lived with their two children Arthur and Laura in a small house across from Mathew. Their property stretched south from Detroit between Lauderdale and Larchmont. The most prosperous of Joseph and Sarah’s children, John Hall made his money through fruit farms, dairy products, wise investments and realty allotments. He also served as the president of the Rocky River Bank, which later became part of National City Bank.
When Joseph and Sarah Hall first arrived in Rockport there were just 350 people in the whole township and “Detroit Avenue was little more than a trail through the woods where almost anywhere wild turkey and small game could be had for the hunting.”
Sarah Curtis Hall
But by the turn of the century, Lakewood was a booming town. A 1904 Plain Dealer article proclaimed Lakewood “a prosperous village with a bright future” with “important improvements completed, under way and contemplated” making the suburb a “delightful residence section.”
A 1906 Cleveland News article stated that the “pretty village [is] a striking example of upbuilding of a suburban town.” A great building boom occurred when a “tide of city dwellers turn[ed] to pure atmosphere, fine lawns and trees.” The article continued, “In the early 90s, and simultaneously with the final extension of the car line to Rocky River in ’94, the real allotting of farms began in sure business-like manner…Figures and facts tell the rest of the story. In 1886 there were probably not 500 people in what is now Lakewood. In 1896, there were not over 1,500. Today the Lakewood people say they have 8,000 souls within their village lines, and more are yet to come.” Improvements to the schools, a new electric lighting plant, plans to build its own waterworks and other infrastructure improvements laid the groundwork for a building boom in Lakewood.
Berrypickers, Hall Fruit Farm
The Hall children did not let this opportunity pass them by. John C. Hall worked with his son-in-law Herbert Mathews to develop the majority of his farm south of Detroit. The realty company Mathews & Gilbert allotted and sold the land. A 1902 advertisement for the “John C Hall’s Fruit Farm: Mathews & Gilbert Sub-Division” offered two lots for just $480 in “Beautiful, Smokeless Lakewood.” The development included Lauderdale, Winton, Cordova and Larchmont. The advertisement assured potential buyers that the “if any one tells you we will not put in improvements AND PAY FOR THEM HE LIES. We put in curbing, sidewalks, trees, and proper grading. Water and sewer will be put in shortly… We have the means and reputation of HONEST DEALING. WE HAVE HONESY OF PURPOSE! WE ARE NOT LAND SHARKS!” The ad proclaimed “it is a land investment that defies the world!” Mathews & Gilbert were also involved in the development of Hall, Mathews, Maile and Arthur avenues.
Laura Hall Mathew
John C. Hall developed family land and opened “Lakewood’s Arts and Crafts Street” in 1906. Although it took over three years to develop, Arthur Avenue was touted as “copied from the streets of St. Louis.” The Arts and Crafts designation probably grew from the “finesse of the grade and dignified entrance,” which originally included large stone pillars.
Ethel Hall McClure
A 1902 Cleveland Leader article stated that Mathew C. Hall “about a year ago…sold seventy acres of this property to J.C. Lower. This subdisvision is now Richmond Park, and is destined to be one of the finest allotments in Lakewood.” Richmond Park included Ethel and Edwards avenues, named for Mathew Hall’s children.
Mathew C. Hall house, 16718 Detroit
In 1907, Joseph and Patience Hall sold much of their family’s land to The Genck Realty Company (later Lakewood Realty). Genck Reatly helped to develop Lincoln and Marlowe avenues.
The Hall Houses
The Joseph and Sarah Hall stone house stood at the southwest corner of Marlowe and Detroit. Joseph passed away in 1855 and Sarah died twenty years later. Son Joseph lived on the property with his family for a number of years.
Genck Realty, former Joseph Curtis Hall Home, 14419 Detroit
The house served as the allotment office for Genck Realty in 1907 and then housed the West End Art School for a number of years. Miss Anna Pfenninger created the art school so that local students wouldn’t have spent hours traveling to the east side. The Plain Dealer declared in 1909 that “drawing, designing, painting and modeling began to be the order of the day in the old Hall house.” The stone house was torn down in 1916 to make way for the expansion of Lakewood Hospital. A January 1916 article stated “The oldest landmark in Lakewood must make way for progress…It is being razed because the land surrounding it is valuable and the day of the old homestead has vanished….They builded [sic] solidly in those days. The walls of the old home are at least two feet thick. Rocks were carried from the foot of Cranford avenue, near the lake, to build the foundation. It was a laborious process, but the men who are tearing the old framework apart say that it is as strongly constructed as a fort.” The Lakewood Hospital expansion was completed in 1917.
John C. Hall house 16913 Detroit
John Curtis Hall’s stately home at 16913 Detroit was the talk of the town when it was completed in 1875. Set back from Detroit, the Victorian included floor to ceiling windows, curved arches, a triple bay window, a front portico with Corinthian pillars and an elaborate balcony above the porch.
Arthur W. Hall
Margaret Butler wrote that “the high, spacious rooms were heated with marble fireplaces. Scrolled ceilings, parquet floors, heavy brocaded wallpaper, velvet drapes and European treasures of other generations created a feeling of past splendor. The furniture was massive, intricately carved.” The surrounding grounds outdid anything else on Detroit Avenue, “a floral paradise with winding paths, a sunken garden, hundreds of unusual trees, shrubs and flowers. It was one of the show places for visitors from Cleveland.”
John C. Hall lived in this beautiful house with his wife and children until his death in 1921. John Hall and his family traveled extensively, and the furnishings reflected their varied interests. Daughter Laura and her husband Herbert Mathews lived on the property until they moved to the Carolinas in 1938. And son Arthur Welling and his wife May French lived on the property probably into the early 1940s. In addition to maintaining the family property, Arthur pursued his interest in books. An avid collector, he acquired over 4,000 rare books over his lifetime. He also worked as a book binder and made book cases out of lumber from the property. Arthur moved to Indiana when he was seventy years old.
The City of Lakewood purchased the property in the 1946, renting the first floor of the home to Margaret McClure Holtkamp, granddaughter of Mathew C. Hall. The city turned the property into a playground. The John C. Hall house was torn down in about 1956 to make way for the new (now demolished) YMCA.
Site of future YMCA, former site of John C. Hall house
Mathew C. Hall’s first home stood at 16906 Detroit, where it still stands today. The simple frame house has three original rooms downstairs, a modified summer kitchen and two low bedrooms upstairs. The floors are wide planks and the upright beams in the basement are the trunks of young cedar trees with the bark still attached.
Hixson's Victorian Cottage, old Mathew C. Hall house 16906 Detroit
The Hughes family acquired the property around 1903 and the last of two maiden Hughes sisters died in 1970. The house stood vacant until Hixson’s Flower Barn purchased it in May 1973. After renovations, Hixson’s opened a gift shop in the home. Later, the building was home to an antique shop and most recently Teacups in Time. The home is currently vacant.
Mathew C. Hall home, 16718 Detroit
Mathew C. Hall’s second home stood at 16718 Detroit. Completed in 1879, the imposing brick structure equaled the grandeur of the John C. Hall home. Mathew and his second wife Margaret raised their two children, Ethel and Edward, in this house and lived there until their deaths. Mathew C. Hall died on March 30, 1913. One interesting feature of the property was a six hole privy that stood between the house and the carriage house. Later, the home served various purposes until it was purchased in 1939 by the Lakewood YMCA. The Y occupied the house until the late 1950s.
Lakewood YMCA, old Mathew C. Hall house, 16718 Detroit
At that time, the Y and the City of Lakewood essentially swapped properties. The Y acquired the John C. Hall property, looking to build a new structure. The City of Lakewood tore down the Mathew Hall house sometime after this new Y structure was completed in 1957. Edwards Park now occupies the site. The original carriage house is still on the park grounds.
Mathew’s daughter Ethel married Dr. Albert Edward McClure on Dec 3, 1896.
Albert McClue house, 16702 Detroit (1902)
A handsome bachelor from Canada, Dr. McClure came to Lakewood to take over the practice of Dr. Henry Sook. Apparently it was love at first site. A newspaper announcement stated that “The couple will take up their residence in the newly finished home on Detroit Street.” This home still stands at 16702 Detroit. Ethel and Albert raised their children, Edward and Margaret, in both this home and her parent’s home. Records indicate that they lived in both houses, although the 16702 house was their primary residence.
Curtis Hall house, 16102 Detroit
The Curtis Hall house was located at 16102 Detroit, on the northwest corner of Cranford. This brick house still stands, hidden behind a commercial building. The Lakewood Historical Society owns two paintings of this house, showing the beautiful farm that stretched to the lake.
Curtis Hall’s oldest son Thomas built a lovely home on the northeast corner of Hall and Detroit, where he lived with his wife Ida and their four children. Ida and daughter Helen lived at this house until 1914. Family history states the house was moved to 1382 Hall and underwent extensive modifications.
Other houses throughout Lakewood are connected with the Hall family. 1420 and 1424 Marlowe were owned by Joseph and Albert Hall, grandsons of patriarch Joseph. 1630 Rosewood, 1344 Edanola, row houses on Ethel and Edwards, commercial buildings on Detroit and several houses on Hall are linked to Hall descendents. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn of even more houses that have a connection to Joseph and Sarah Curtis Hall, some of the earliest settlers in Rockport Township.
Albert Hall house, 1424 Marlowe
Curtis Hall house, 16102 Detroit
Thomas Hall house, 16506 Detroit
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