Andrews’s Folly: Classic Cleveland Ingenuity

21Oct09

Andrews's FollyAndrews’s Folly

Yesterday I attended the last session of Regionalism in Practice as part of Spaces Plum Academy.  The session was hosted by the wonderful Tom Orange who took on the dubious task of extracting something useful from late 20th century art theory.

For the meeting I put together some of my thoughts on what Cleveland’s regionalism might be.  In doing research I stumbled across “Andrew’s Folly”, a gigantic mansion built in 1882 by Samuel Andrews.  The house was located on 30th and Euclid as part of Millionaires Row.  The house boasted over 80 rooms and 5 apartments.

So what makes it classic Cleveland?  Well the manor was left vacant  in 1898 just 15 years after it was built.  The reason being that the floor plan of the building made it impossible for the servants to function efficiently.  Seems a shame that a house so grand couldn’t find some way of fitting in to the city.

This is another case of Clevelanders who value quirky individuality over practicality.  My impression is Andrews felt he needed to be unique in order to be recognized as great.  Unfortunately glamor is not enough.  The need for function was too powerful.  It makes sense that  the architect was Geo Smith who designed the Cleveland Arcade, another structure of grandeur that seems to be too beautiful to function.

One last thing: Spaces is having its wrap up party to Plum Academy this Friday October 21st. It should be a blast and I’ll be sure to be there.

Andrews’s Folly entry at the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

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