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October 26, 2012

Hudson to Cleveland: Constructing the New Buildings - Year 1

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 July 1881 to July 1882 construction efforts.

July 1, 1881
“The new buildings are not yet begun, but I do not see why they may not be begun soon. Mr. Stone is a man who does not at all appreciate statements of reasons: nothing short of a collision would show him that two trains cannot pass each other on a single track. Owing to this deficiency, it takes a great while for him to take some very short steps. Hence endless delays. The division of the land has not made any delay: that is settled: we have the eastern half of the lot.”

September 1, 1881
“Things are going on well at Cleveland. They are now a little ahead of what is called for in the contract. If they suffer no delay in getting stone, things will move rapidly. The other day they were doubtful about getting stone, but found that nine car loads were on the way, so that there was no delay.”

November 10, 1881
“The buildings at Cleveland are getting on slowly, on account of delay in getting the iron for the fire proof floors. They will only get up to the second floor this season, instead of getting the roof on, as was called for by the contract. Mr. Smith was out there a few days since, and reports the building as very fine in its appearance and workmanship.”

December 18, 1881
“The buildings of the college at Cleveland are now getting along pretty well. There was a delay of ten weeks waiting for a few pieces of iron beams which did not come with the first lot. They have now come, have been laid, and the walls are now going up again.”

January 16, 1882
“The buildings are getting along pretty well. The weather has permitted the men to keep at work almost every day so far. The main building is now up to a point beyond the tops of the second windows. I think it will be done in time.”

March 19, 1882
“During the summer, Mr. Cutler and I shall have to buy the furniture for the new building. The amount of salary to be paid after we go to Cleveland was not fixed at the meeting, but a committee was appointed to consider the matter, with power to act, and this committee will probably meet during the present week, and may be able to settle the matter at one sitting. The point to be settled first is, the probably amount of income. This can be decided only when we know what securities Mr. Stone in going to make over to us. The committee contained among its members the son-in-law of Mr. Stone, Colonel John Hay, who was to get light on this point.”

April 6, 1882
“Mr. Cutler is busy trying to write a circular announcing the future of the college, and the point now to be settled concerns the course of study. It gives us a good deal of trouble to settle it. he is coming in here in a few minutes, to work at it with me. Mr. Smith has such a disposition that he does not add much to our resources in settling such a matter, and Mr. Potwin is a weakling, and is moreover unwilling to go outside of his routine of work.”

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Charles J. Smith and Lemuel S. Potwin

July 8, 1882
“I have been out to the college buildings for two or three days, to correct errors of the workmen, or, more likely, of the architect. They have things all right now, I believe. The work is going on fast now; whether fast enough to get through it yet remains to be seen.”

July 21, 1882
“I have been detained somewhat by the necessity of looking after some things in the college buildings. The treasurer is away, and Mr. Cutler is gone up the lakes to take some rest which is very necessary if he is to do any work in the autumn... Dr. Bushnell the new treasurer of the college, promised to see to some of these things, but he seems to be so occupied with removal, and some such matters that he is in danger of putting them off too long.”

July 26, 1882
“... now almost every thing is done which I meant to do before going east. We have got the range selected for the college building; which Dr. Bushnell and I had to select.”

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Ebenezer Bushnell

Mr. Amasa Stone provided $500,000 to move the college from Hudson to Cleveland. Mr. Smith was Perkins Professor of Material Philosophy 1870-1882 and Professor of Mathematics 1882-1913. He was also an alumnus of Western Reserve College. Mr. Cutler was president of Western Reserve College. Colonel John Hay was diplomat, statesman, U. S. Secretary of State and son-in-law of Amasa Stone. Mr. Potwin was Lemuel S. Potwin, Professor of Latin 1871-1892 and Professor of English Language and Literature 1892-1906. Mr. Bushnell was Secretary-Treasurer of Western Reserve University 1882-1901. He was also an alumnus and a member of the Board of Trustees, 1861-1901.

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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.

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.

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