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October 12, 2012

Hudson to Cleveland: Planning the Buildings

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 plan the new college buildings.

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.”

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.”

April 22, 1881
“The plans for the college building are mostly in. The building committee is to meet tomorrow to examine them.”

The map below shows how the land was divided between Reserve and Case. Larger versions of the image are available.
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May 2, 1881
“Matters are in good shape as to the college. I wrote a letter last week, in which were enclosed five hundred dollars, being the first payment out of the half million promised to the college; which gives a sort of air of reality to the matter. Today I go to Cleveland to look over the plan with the architect, to give direction about details as may be needed. Mr. Cutler will also go up to see about the division of the forty-three acres which have been bought for us and the Case School jointly. There was a meeting for the purpose, but there was so much delay on the part of our side that nothing was accomplished towards the actual agreement of the two parties. The division will very likely be made today. In case agreement is not reached, the committee of arbitration will be called on to act; they say the way to decide the question of size of the shares must be determined by asking the subscribers to whose site they gave their share of the money; this course will give us what we claim, namely two thirds or three quarters of the land. A railroad is to run across the rear of our lot, cutting off about three acres. Perhaps this may give us rapid transit into the city; but the station would be at least two thousand feet from the college.”

May 30, 1881
“Matters at Cleveland drag at present. It is ten weeks since the vote to remove and the architect is not quite done with the specifications; though I suppose we could not have expected any quicker dispatch on this part of the business. Now we have to call for bids, to make a contract, and to wait. The lot is not yet divided, but that matter is now committed to Mr. Stone, and I presume he will have it done in time: he is brother to the man who built a bridge across the Schuylkill for the Pennsylvania Railroad in thirty days from the burning of the previous bridge. ... The Hudson people have given up all purpose of doing anything to oppose the removal of the college. As they cannot do anything, this seems a wise resolve.”

June 12, 1881
“Things are going on very slowly at Cleveland. Mr. Stone told me yesterday, as I met him on the street, that he thought some of the delay was unreasonable. I hardly think Mr. Cutler has kept the matter pushing as he ought. Still we may get to Cleveland by the beginning of February of next year, which is what has been planned for the last two months, and what has been announced to our students as our expectation.”

June 22, 1881
“I enclose a cutting from a paper which has a description of the proposed buildings for the college. To day the papers contain an account of the donation by Mr. Wade of a hundred acres just opposite the lot on which we are to build, for a public park for the city of Cleveland. The Council took action on looking towards accepting the gift and expending one or two hundred thousand dollars in beautifying it. This is of course very acceptable to us.”

The Mr. Stone who features so prominently in Morley’s letters was Amasa Stone, who provided the $500,000 to move the college from Hudson to Cleveland. Mr. Cutler was president of Western Reserve College. Mr. Wade was Jeptha Homer Wade, Cleveland industrialist and philanthropist.

Posted by jmt3 at October 12, 2012 01:41 PM

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