In total, the Van Sweringen Company built 21 houses in 1924 at a cost of
over $16 million in 2020 dollars. The Bloodgood Tuttle and Howell & Thomas
homes cost generally $20,000 to $25,000 to build, or between $525,000 and
$650,000 today. Yet another cluster of homes was designed by Philip Small
for South Woodland Road at a cost of $50,000 each, or $1.3 million today.
All of these 1924-era houses are on the Shaker Heights Landmark
Properties list, along with seventeen others. The designation is made by the
Landmark Commission after it receives a nomination from the homeowner
or from the City with the agreement of the homeowner. The nominees must
meet criteria that demonstrate the “special historical, community
or aesthetic interest or value” of the property, which can also be
commercial, governmental, or a work of art.
The designation recognizes the importance of the property
to the community and reinforces the role of the homeowner as
the property’s steward.
“It’s an honor and responsibility if you are fortunate enough
to live in a Landmark Home,” says Cleveland Restoration Society
President Kathleen Crowther. “It’s like living in a monument, so
you want to pass it on better than you received it.”
This special status also comes with additional resources,
as well as requirements, to protect the historic features. Free
technical advice is available from the Cleveland Restoration
Society. (Every Shaker Heights homeowner with a house that
is 50 years old or older can access these services.) Moreover, the Landmark
Commission keeps a list of contractors who specialize in the materials and
services a landmark homeowner needs to maintain the status.
Exterior changes to a landmark property are reviewed by the City’s
Landmark Commission, a group of architects and historians who work with
the homeowner to ensure the work is consistent with the historic nature of
the house. The City’s Architectural Board of Review assesses and approves
The Demonstration Homes are nearing their centennial, and time and
the elements continue to exact their toll. The plaster, roofing, and wrought
iron artisans are fewer and harder to find. Homeowners, looking to balance
historic integrity with modern convenience, search out resources on the
internet or from their neighbors and friends, and then have to navigate often
conflicting advice and wildly different prices.
harder to find.
58 WINTER 2021 | WWW.SHAKER.LIFE