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Category Archives: Millionaires Row

The Four Millionaire’s Row Mansions Still Standing

Uncovering the decadent past of Euclid Avenue

Mather Mansion

Euclid Avenue was Millionaire’s Row, with some 250 mansions extending a 4-mile stretch. Some of the homes were as large as 50,000 square feet with lots consuming 6 acres of land in Cleveland. One of the grandest estates owned by Samuel Andrews employed 100 servants to keep the mansion running on a daily basis.

Today, there are just four original mansions left.

Continue reading The Four Millionaire’s Row Mansions Still Standing

Winter Sleigh Racing on Millionaires’ Row

Did you know… Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue, “Millionaires’ Row,oldsleighcard img” enjoyed the grand event of winter sleigh racing between the years 1875 & 1905.

These races were rather informal and were held on Thursdays, Friday & Saturday afternoons. Never on Sundays, the Sabbath. Cleveland’s finest including Rockefeller, Perkins, Hanna and Edwards along with some 50 other of Cleveland’s premier dealmakers showed up to race each other.

Many rivalries developed over the years each man wanting bragging rights for the fastest horse in town. Trotting horses were used here and thus the entire trotter racing industry had its roots in Cleveland, Ohio.

The sleigh races took place between East 9th and East 40th Streets. Early on Euclid Avenue was over 60 feet wide with no trollies to obstruct the roadway. The city would detour traffic around this portion of Euclid Avenue for the races as well as lift the 5mph speed limit. Literally thousands of people would line the Avenue to watch these famous Clevelanders show off.

Jeptha Wade owned the best sleigh I have read about – a bright red vehicle that was made special in Russia. Although these races lasted for over 30 years, there are very few pictures and even less written about them.

The sleigh races contributed to Cleveland’s unique character at this time “Millionaire’s Row” was so much more than just a gathering of mansions. It was a very tight neighborhood which Cleveland’s public could enjoy and admire. The Avenue served to motivate the creation of future wealth as many would dream, work hard, take risks and aspire to one day becoming part of the most famous Avenue in the world.

A John D. Rockefeller Story – Teenager in Charge of Building the Family Home

Eliza & William Rockefeller, parents of John D. Rockefeller
Eliza & William Rockefeller, parents of John D. Rockefeller

Cleveland, Ohio home to John D. Rockefeller, the world’s richest individual at one time, was a man made from many experiences afforded him as he grew into manhood. Each experience was a stepping stone of sorts building the stairway to his Standard Oil Company. The glue that held Rockefeller together I believe was a work ethic of unbelievable proportion coupled with a self discipline that boarded on beyond remarkable. Those who knew Rockefeller at the time also knew that Standard Oil was no accident.

John D. Rockefeller was raised by a devoted mother, Eliza, and an often times absent father, William Avery Rockefeller. Because of his fathers long absences John D in many respects became the head of the household at a relatively young age. This experience proved a good one for John. At one point, John age 18 was given the task of building the new family home on Cheshire Street, East 19th, in Cleveland, Ohio. John’s father assured his son that funds were available and that he would not be there for planning or construction. John thus began organizing the planning and building of the new brick home for the family. Estimates for the work were received from at least 8 contractors. Obviously the low bidder got the job and it is said when the home was completed the builder actually lost money as John meticulously reviewed all invoicing. Upon completion this house served the family for many years.

Now, I believe one could ask, what might todays 18 year old do when faced with a similar task to John’s? In an age when we all think our children are growing up all too fast, I believe measured against Rockefellers result most of today’s generation may not succeed in a similar endeavor. Truly we may suggest that John D. Rockefeller was a superior individual with talents far, far above the average. I believe the point here is that although John achieved something less than a high school education, his father knew that a big part of real education did not take place in school. John’s father believed in both formal education and practical education forged together with the creation of responsibility in the real world.

Education in real life experiences may even ellipse the classroom on occasion. The point of this story seems to be, do parents today give their children enough real world experience? Do we educate them to use one of the most important senses they have, common sense? I would lean to the side that says, “No”; thus my story of John D. Rockefeller. The building of the family home made him responsible for outcome, an outcome of great importance to his family. John also learned what he was capable of and this experience remained with him for the rest of his life.

John’s home building experience led to the building of a grand company housed in a grand city, Cleveland, Ohio. During John’s time Cleveland, Ohio, by many accounts was the greatest city in the world. In sports terms of today it would be like winning the World Series, Super Bowl and NBA Championship all in one year. You know, Cleveland was just that great.

Credit: Photo from the book John D. Rockefeller, The Cleveland Years, by Grace Goulder, courtesy of the Western Reserve Historical Society