amazing Small House Design Wyatt Road, Forest Hill Historic District, East Cleveland, OH
These Norman Revival-style houses, built in 1929-30, are located in the Forest Hill Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, and are the remnants of a failed upscale housing development that fell through due to the Great Depression. This area was originally home to the Forest Hill Estate, the site of the Rockefeller Family’s summer home. It was intended to become a large, upscale, Norman-style development known as Forest Hill; however, it instead saw only a small number of buildings constructed to the original plan. Designed by Andrew J. Thomas, only the Heights Rockefeller Building, the street grid, and 81 Norman-style houses of the planned 500+ houses, an inn, apartments, and other commercial structures were built, leaving the area rather sparsely populated throughout its early years. The land intended to become the development’s country club, over 200 acres west of Lee Road and straddling the border with East Cleveland, were donated by John Rockefeller, Jr. in 1939, becoming Forest Hill Park, owned by the City of Cleveland Heights. In 1948, the undeveloped lots were sold to George A. Roose, who developed the area as a more typical suburb, abandoning the aesthetic direction of the original plan, and constructing a series of more modest and less ornate houses on the lots. Today, the Heights Rockefeller Building and the remaining original houses, as well as the street grid, are the legacy of a big dream that, unfortunately, did not pan out due to the Great Depression.