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September 28, 2012

Hudson to Cleveland: Financing the Move

We continue our description of Western Reserve College’s move from Hudson to Cleveland 130 years ago. Faculty member, Edward W. Morley, chronicled the event in letters to his parents. Extracts from those letters describe the efforts to finance the move.

November 14, 1880
“The matter of moving the college stands still chiefly for lack of a man of affairs to attend to it. Mr. Cutler has absolutely let whole weeks pass without doing anything whatever. It is no wonder that a report has been started that there is a hitch somewhere. There is no hitch, but things which might have been done quickly are done so slowly that it looks just as if there were a hitch, which is about as bad for the present interests of the college. From what Mr. Cutler said to me last week, I judge he has only just now got to the point which he ought to have reached three years ago. The delay in settling things with Mr. Stone will make it impossible to get to Cleveland next autumn. This is a great pity; we shall be likely to have no senior class at all next year, as the members of the junior class think that they would stay out a year, or go elsewhere rather than graduate in Hudson after a year from the vote of removal. There is some talk in the papers of getting an injunction against moving the college, but it is hard to see who is going to move the matter to the extent of giving security for the costs if the case goes against the application.”

November 30, 1880
“Things about the college are not quite so bad as I judge you thought. The thing is moving on slowly; Mr. Stone has asked to see our plans for a building as soon as we can conveniently make them, and I have been at work at them for a day or two. I made one last Friday which Mr. Cutler took up to show Mr. Stone, and the report is that he was pleased well with it. There is now some chance that we may get there next autumn.”

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December 6, 1880
“I am just about through with the plans for the college building. Mr. Stone is rather troublesome to deal with, I judge, and the thing goes slowly. But it now looks as if delay was about ended, and as if the getting money for a lot would not be as difficult as we had feared. That work is to be begun at once, I believe.”

January 21, 1881
“The removal is in good shape now. The last agreements are made, and the committee went to work yesterday to raise the money. This will not take long; as they are greatly interested in the matter at Cleveland. One man, who is worth a few millions, a Mr. Wade, saw on the table of a Mr. Everett, who was one of our committee, a note to Mr. Cutler, saying that he was greatly interested in the removal, but was so very busy, that he thought he must withdraw from the committee, and Mr. Wade said to him, No, no, stay on the committee, and if you get in a tight place, I will help you out. So Mr. Everett staid, and told the story. The committee have made a list of the men who are to be asked to give towards the site, and divided the work among themselves.”

January 30, 1881
“The matters preliminary to the work of our committee in raising the money are successfully ended. The papers binding the different parties are made out and found satisfactory. The committee is a strong one, composed of some twenty prominent business men, well disposed to the college, and to the plans for its future. I think the money may perhaps be raised in a week. The committee begins work on Tuesday next, and I hope they will be able to report substantial progress by Tuesday the eighth of February. At which time there is to be an alumni banquet of our alumni at Cleveland.”

February 3, 1881
“The committee have got two subscriptions of five thousand dollars each towards the lot for the college. Things are all right apparently.”

February 23, 1881
“The removal business gets on all right, as far as I know. Mr. Cutler went up to Cleveland on Monday to see how matters stood then, but I have not seen him since that time. Last Thursday they had thirty thousand dollars secured, and the Case School men had signified that they would see the thing through by giving towards the end of the subscription. The thirty thousand came from some men whose names had to come first on the list; some were trustees, and others were also in such position that the committee thought that they must get these subscriptions before they could even approach others. As soon as they got these names they approached several men at once, and expect a lot of subscriptions almost at the same time as the result of such efforts. I think they will get the money now in a couple of weeks, or so. Mr. Cutler does not now think that the college will be opened at Cleveland till the summer of 1882; which seems to be the most likely time, as far as we can judge. The putting up the buildings will certainly take more time than to permit the removal this year, and if we begin next year here, we may as well finish, as students would not like to have to get rooms ready here, if they were to stay but part of a year.”

March 3, 1881
“There was a meeting of our trustees on Wednesday, at which things were satisfactory. Mr. Cutler was very blue on Tuesday; he had gone to see Mr. Upson on that day, and Mr. Upson does not take quite the right view of the removal business, I am inclined to think. But on Wednesday, Mr. Lee, who is a little inclined to see all the objections to any proposal, seemed not to find any difficulty with any matters proposed.”

March 15, 1881
“They have seventy-six thousand dollars raised out of the eighty-five which are required; and there is a man who is certainly good for six or seven thousand who is reserved for the last. So there is no danger of the whole matter falling through now.”

Mr. Stone was Amasa Stone (pictured above) who provided the $500,000 to move the college from Hudson to Cleveland. Mr. Upson was William Hanford Upson, trustee 1860-1910. Mr. Lee was John Calvin Lee, trustee 1874-1891. Mr. Wade was Jeptha Homer Wade, Cleveland industrialist and philanthropist.

Posted by hxy2 at September 28, 2012 03:57 PM

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