Monday, April 27, 2015

A LOSS OF GREAT MAGNITUDE

It is with what, in perhaps melodramatic contexts, is known as "a heavy heart", that we must report the loss of one of northeast Ohio's more architecturally significant structures.  Apparently constructed in 1898, it was built as the summer residence for John Gehring, then the President of the Gehring Brewing Company of Cleveland, Ohio.  Located in Avon Lake (Lorain County), with the rear of the property overlooking Lake Erie, Gehring commissioned Cleveland architect Frederick Baird to provide a "Swiss Chalet" design complete with an expansive porch and balcony framed by that style's visually prominent, pierced balustrades.  As was the practice in times gone by in regards to 'country' residences, Gehring called his summer home "Green Gables".
1900

1905































1911

This lakefront property has a street frontage of 200 feet and a depth of over 600 feet.  Someone with apparently more money than he knew what to do with somehow acquired the property in late-2013 -- with no intention of making any use of this spectacular house.  It was demolished sometime within the past twelve months.  A house approximately three times the size is presently [April 2015] under construction at the site.

The Swiss Chalet style had not been hugely popular and most examples were built, briefly, between 1900 and 1910.  Therefore, this was a very early example, of a generally rare architectural style. The house's exterior had been essentially unaltered, with the only obvious change being the screening-in of some sections of the porch and balcony.
 
1999
The Swiss Chalet style had not been hugely popular and most examples were built, briefly, between 1900 and 1910.  Therefore, this was a very early example, of a generally rare architectural style. The house's exterior had been essentially unaltered, with the only obvious change being the screening-in of some sections of the porch and balcony.  Reportedly, a complementing Swiss-style beach house was also built, although no image of such a building is known.  A Swiss-style coach house was definitely built.  It was positioned very close to the street.  Added across the entire 200 feet of street frontage was a wrought-iron fence, with two sets of grand gates.  Both the coach house and iron fence were still present at the time of this post, but it should be only obvious that the "modern-minded" new owner will soon eliminate them, as well.

Public records reveal that the new owner purchased this property at a price of over a million dollars.  The house presently under construction appears as if its final cost could approach yet another million dollars.  With this sort of wealth, the new owner could have easily afforded the cost to move the Gehring House, preferably to another property, where its architectural magnificence could have lived on for many more years.  But, instead, yet another grand historic building has been callously tossed aside, like yesterday's garbage.

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