Friday, April 13, 2012

Ghosts of Euclid (Avenue): A Rockefeller Connection?

Your chest being stepped on by a small child.

That's how I felt the first time I saw this beautiful hulking dwelling immediately marred with a fire sale price staring at me.

Before I get into it, let me put it to you this way: 7,190 square feet of living space.
5 bedrooms. 7 bathrooms. A living room and a family room. A library and an office.

Now have a look at her:

13204 Euclid Ave Rockefeller Rudd House
Can't get a real feel for her enormous footprint? Give this a look, and be sure to turn the corner.

The listing states, "This 7200sq.ft. property was previously owned by Rockefeller's sister and Rudds pharmacy."

Because a gorgeous, 111-year old mansion isn't fucking awesome enough, it was once a part of the Rockefeller family.

Curiosity mildly aroused I head to the Cuyahoga County Auditor's website, sadly I can only get ownership information about the current owner, and a not-for-profit children's group that owned it starting in 1989. Not anything past 1975. If you're interested, the parcel number is 67216004.

I know the current address, 13204 Euclid Ave, cannot have been the original address. I check to confirm Euclid Ave. was still Euclid Ave. in 1906 when so many streets were renamed. It was. So it's just the house number that is "new".

So backwards we go. The Cuyahoga County Recorder has deeds since, I kid you not, 200+ years ago.
Skeptical of the Rockefeller claim I work my way backwards.

The deeds get older and the computer fonts make an unnatural regression to typewriter, jittery but legible. Then there's a deed, handwritten 3 pages long, the very first deed for the very first owner. The house, built by Windermere Realty in 1901 is sold to a woman named Annabell Wilson Nobles that same year. A new house to accompany a new century. A fresh place ready to see Cleveland rise fast and fall hard in the next 100 years.

13204 Euclid Ave Rockefeller Rudd House Deed

Annabell Wilson Nobles has a husband named Newman. They own the house until 1905. It's then sold to a woman named Mary Rudd. I did a quick search for the Nobles and I found an interesting Ellis Island link about a ship from Glasgow in 1924 for both Newman Nobles and Annabell Nobles. Obviously this must have been a trip for whatever reason, as they are listed as US citizens living in Cleveland, and they owned property in Cleveland 23 years earlier.

13204 Euclid Ave Rockefeller Rudd House Deed
Now where the hell do you think the Nobles moved to that could possibly trump casa de awesome? I don't know either.

Ready for some sad stuff? Mary Rudd passes away in 1925, outliving her husband William Cullen Rudd by 10 years, who died September 9, 1915.

For rich people (Rudd pharmacy) they didn't update the will much, as William Rudd is still in the probate paperwork for Mary.

13204 Euclid Ave Rockefeller Rudd House Deed
The above document is essentially giving the children, Frank Rudd and Beulah Roberts the property.

The document below is Beulah turning it over to her brother, Frank.

From the date Frank gets the house he owns it until his death in 1966. Frank Rudd has an executor for his will by the name of Edmund Durkin, Jr.

13204 Euclid Ave Rockefeller Rudd House Deed

The house is sold to a not for profit called "Children's Guild" by November of 1966.

13204 Euclid Ave Rockefeller Rudd House Deed

Children's Guild uses the house as a home for girls. A sign of the times, to be sure.

That will bring you roughly up to what is searchable on the auditor's website linked above.

I figured I'd disproved the Rockefeller claim for sure. I thought I had it nailed down to a human error. You see, both John and Franklin Rockefeller had real estate dealings with Mary Rudd, however the property is not the Euclid Avenue house.

13204 Euclid Ave Rockefeller Mary Rudd Connection

Then my genius husband says, "What was Mary Rudd's maiden name?"

Well hell, why didn't I think of that? Rockefeller it is! Sister of John Davison Rockefeller (1839–1937).

You'll probably also notice, if you looked through the deeds and probate paperwork above, the original house number is in there.

It's also in the 1912 Hopkins plat map, although difficult to read, it confirms what's written in the probate paperwork inching quickly towards its 100th birthday.

The old address of 13204 Euclid Avenue is 13176 Euclid Avenue.

13204 Euclid Hopkins 1912 Plot Mapat East Cleveland Ohio 13176 Euclid Ave

I haven't even gotten around to googling the old address yet, but you should be able to tell by how much fun I'm having that I'm pretty excited to see what turns up.
Oh, one quick thing, Mr. William Cullen Rudd, brother-in-law to John D. Rockefeller, died in the house in 1915.

William Cullent Rudd dead 13176 Euclid Ave
Here's a whole bunch about William Rudd and even a picture. Thanks to my friend Andrew for a heads up on a Mrs. Mary Ann Rudd-Rockefeller photo.

As evidenced by the 1921 Cleveland directory (below), the address was already it's present 13204... so the switch was between then and 1912, but I don't know when or even why. Interesting to see that Mary's son Frank already lived there.

Now the part that should make your heart flutter a little - the house is on the market for $40,900.

We're looking heavily in the Cleveland Heights area, and this sleeping gem is in East Cleveland. If you're from around here you know what that can mean. It's also very close to Bratenahl, but on the flip side of that, only about 2 miles from the houses we've looked at in Cleveland Heights.

I look at a house like this, to see it still standing, to know how steeped in it's own history it is and the fact that it is in just about anyone's price range is a mixed bag of emotions for me. This place was new, was wanted, housed a few of the affluent and many of the poor. It's beautiful.

I can only hope it can breeze through another 100 years and that somebody will love it then, as I bet somebody did before.


If you're inclined, here's the listing:

And some pictures from the inside:


  1. Love this Jen! Very well written and researched. You amaze me! Your talent and drive are endless. I miss you on Fb. We need to chat soon.