Cleveland owes much of its growth to its earliest and most influential industrialists, including John D. Rockefeller and John L. Severance. Not only did these intellectual men bring industry and philanthropy to the city, but they also brought with them an elite culture of glamour and elegance. Such beauty once lined Euclid Avenue in the form of breathtaking mansions, exquisite gardens, and lavish lifestyles. These 11 photos will take you back in time and make you long to see such splendor in the city once again:
1. A Sunday stroll along Euclid Avenue, circa 1910.
In its heyday, locals compared this lavish lane to the Parisian Avenue des Champs-Élysées. European travelers considered it a must-see American destination, and locals immortalized the coveted beauty of their town in photos and postcards.
2. The abandoned home of Samuel Andrews, 1917.
This 1885 Victorian Gothic must have been stunning throughout its five floors. This home was said to have been so large that the servants could not perform their jobs well because it took so long to get around (and can you imagine trying to keep so much space clean?). By the time it was razed in 1923, the home had already sat vacant for 25 years.
3. Euclid Avenue in its heyday, circa 1875.
The wealth in this neighborhood was unparalleled. The area touted as the most expensive neighborhood in the nation, exceeding even New York's Fifth Avenue. Its decline began in 1910, when an increase in population led to a rise in taxes.
4. The Daniel P. Eells Mansion, 1880s.
Constructed in 1876, this grand Victorian Villa was among the last remnants of Millionaires' Row to be razed. It lingered until 1959, perhaps waiting to witness the expansion of the many colleges at which Eells was a trustee.
5. The colorful beauty of Millionaires' Row, circa 1912.
By the 1910s, Cleveland's commercial district was moving east and encroaching on the cozy residential neighborhoods. Families who had moved in for the peace and quiet began feeling uneasy with the increasing activity, and many began looking east toward "The Heights" for a suburban escape.
6. The Sylvester T. Everett Mansion, circa 1934.
Following the Great Depression, the decline of Millionaires' Row was rapid. Many owners converted their mansions into boarding houses, which only furthered the decline of this stunning neighborhood. This mansion, a stunning Romanesque Revival, was constructed from 1883 to 1887 and was razed in 1938.
7. The historic home of Mayor Tom Johnson, circa 1920.
Johnson served as the Mayor of Cleveland from 1901 to 1909. His family (namely his father, a wealthy cotton planter) had formerly lost their wealth in the Civil War, but one of their former business connections would be Tom Johnson's savior. A.V. and Bidermann du Pont gave him a job working on their newly acquired Louisville railway, and Johnson found that he had an inclination for mechanical work. After several patents and an investment in the street railways of Indianapolis, Johnson was able to move to Millionaires' Row in 1883. His home was razed in 1926, fifteen years after his death.
8. The elm lined yards of The Avenue, date unknown.
The earthy environment of this neighborhood made it a local favorite. Many of the residents of this area engaged in philanthropy, improving the city as they grew their respective businesses. This goodwill, however, was not universal; Euclid Avenue's most infamous resident, con artist Cassie Chadwick, was a Canadian-born woman who defrauded banks out of millions of dollars by passing as the illegitimate daughter of Andrew Carnegie.
Chadwick worked as a clairvoyant in her earliest years in The Land. After her first U.S. fraud trial, a brief stint in prison, and her third marriage, she opened a brothel. It was there that she met her fourth husband, Dr. Leroy Chadwick. He was well-respected in the elite social scene of Cleveland, but his wife was not. She spent lavishly to impress her Euclid Avenue neighbors, but it was to no avail. She was once again convicted of fraud and sentenced to 14 years in the Ohio State Penitentiary, where she died in 1907.
9. The shaded beauty of Millionaires' Row, date unknown.
This postcard demonstrates locals' infatuation with the famous neighborhood. It was frequently printed on postcards, its spacious and lavish grounds elegantly painted. Many advertisement photos for products (such as cars) were also taken on this street, making Cleveland famous for its unrivaled elegance.
10. The lingering beauty of the Francis Drury Mansion, 1941.
Built around 1910, this stunning Tudor mansion was among the last to be built in the Millionaires' Row neighborhood. Francis E. Drury, its owner, is said to have created the first internal-gear lawn mower. He also spearheaded the use of kerosene stoves. Despite his wealth, Drury was also known for his kindness and generosity, treating his servants like family and even allowing them to host weddings in his home. He would eventually sell the home in 1924 and move into a larger replica in Gates Mills. Today, this Euclid Avenue stunner still stands and is managed by the Cleveland Clinic as the Foundation House.
11. Bliss Hall, circa 1946.
James Jared Tracy Jr. held at least 28 patents, many of which were rooted in Cleveland's bustling automotive industry. Following the decline of Millionaires' Row, his home was acquired by Fenn College. The school converted it into a women's dormitory from 1943 until it was razed in 1951.
Though this gorgeous neighborhood is mostly gone these days, a few artifacts and buildings from its heyday still remain. Most of its storied past is preserved solely in photographs, which have the power to take us back in time to see the nation’s most expensive neighborhood of yore.