Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Second Empire house in Glenville

Second Empire house

I found this little Second Empire style house at 706 Lakeview Road, in the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland. Lakeview is one of the old roads in the area - I thought my drive might reveal some interesting historic gems.

The Second Empire style was never very popular in Cleveland. When used, it is found mostly in three and four story houses. I wrote about another one, on Lexington Avenue, which I noted was small for the style, at about 2000 square feet. This one, with the addition, isn't even quite 1500 square feet.

The house does not appear on the 1858 Hopkins map of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, though the land where it sits had been subdivided at that point into a relatively small parcel. It is visible on Lake's 1874 Atlas of Cuyahoga County. I can't be sure of a date beyond this range. It's unlikely that it would have been built between 1861-1865 - little construction occurred during the Civil War.

This historic home has the curious notoriety of having been the first house I've seen with aluminum siding installed on top of slate. I've seen it on wood, brick, and concrete, but slate, slate is new. Surprisingly, the slate doesn't seem to show much damage.

The house is owned by one Aesha L Johnson. The address listed for her by the County Auditor, 972 Nela View, is no longer correct - she appears to have lost that house to foreclosure. She has not paid taxes on this house since 1999. Back taxes, combined with board-up and grass cutting fees, total more than $20,000.

It's unlikely that anyone is willing to pay what is owed to the county at this point. The property will likely be taken for back taxes at some point in the future, though exactly when is unclear. At that point, we must be sure that this house isn't bulldozed.

It's a small house, so it wouldn't be as crazy as some projects. It's a good example of a style of house not common in the Cleveland area. It needs to be saved.

Update: As of July 21, 2010, the house had been demolished.


  1. What a fantastic looking structure! I am not extremely familiar with this area, so I don't know how safe or unsafe it is, but what are your thoughts on a buyer moving this structure (or any other endangered structure for that matter) to a different property?

  2. Found an A Piece Of Cleveland post with some great info on a house they were part of "upcycling".

    Something as unique and beautiful as this Glenville house should certainly be restored. But if houses are going to have to be removed, an obituary and testament like this is the way to go.

  3. Keri,

    I'm generally dislike moving houses unless it absolutely cannot be avoided. When you move a house, you lose some of the original context. This house is nicely sited on a good sized (15,000 square foot) lot, with a nice presence over Lakeview - here's another view.

    It sits with a couple other older houses, on a block that seems well-maintained. It seemed like a good neighborhood. The lack of additional photographs can be attributed mostly to my laziness - there wasn't any parking available on either side of the street.

  4. Slate being coverd with aluminum or for that matter Vinyl, is quite common in Cincinnati, but then we have thousands of second empire cottages.I am writing a book rigt now on Second Empire Architecture of Cincinnati and I've found dozens of Second Empires with the slate covered over by everything including insulbrick!

    This one looks like it would have been interesting. I suspect arched top windows on the dormers windows. The front porch is obviously not original. The side addition is probably later but I can't tell. Is their slate on the roof facing that side?

    There likely was a nice banding right below the roof with decorative brackets.

    This was probably an elegant house in its day. Rare style for your part of the state and definitely should be saved! I wonder what the inside is like and if any "high style' details survived? We uncovered original stenciling from 1871 in our Second Empire in Cincinati.