Between 1915 and 1917 Harold Hays Brown, secretary, treasurer, and manager of the H. W. Brown & Son General Contracting Company, bought and developed, with architect Edward G. Hatch, the piece of land on the south side of Euclid Heights Boulevard (then called Euclid Boulevard) between Berkshire and East Overlook roads.
The ten homes which he built constitute an example of early tract housing, a development essentially unknown in this neighborhood and thus imaginatively disguised. Although the structural similarities are unmistakable, there are major variations in the attached/unattached garages, the character of the main staircases and second floor hallways, and the size of the front porches. In addition, there is variation in the facades — Dutch Colonial, Prairie Style, Georgian, Tudor — which is echoed in interior details of the fireplaces and front window construction. With the substantial price tag of $30,000 in 1917, these houses were built as homes for upper middle class (H. H. Brown himself lived the middle of the block)
At the eastern end of the block1 is one of the homes with an attached garage and a terrace-like front porch. When the current owners moved in, they were looking for an old place to fix up, and they certainly met with a challenging prospect! Almost invisible from the street because of the neglected, overgrown lawn, this was a "haunted house on the way down," with no operable heating system and no running water. There were huge holes in the living room and bedroom ceilings. Today, six years later, the house has been transformed with care taken to preserve and highlight interesting architectural detail and the lovely finishing touches which are featured in these homes.
As you walk into the center hall, notice the floors. The narrow wooden flooring with accent detail can be seen both upstairs and down. The dining room, with the original wainscoting, the oil on canvas mural, the crown moulding, the original folding doors with beveled glass, and the wooden floors, is perfectly preserved. The mural, probably done early in the house's history, is an unsigned work and assumed to have painted by more than one artist because the brush strokes on the tree trunk are not consistent, a discovery made when the current owners had it restored.
The most striking feature of this house is the wide, freestanding center staircase, with the accompanying circular structure of the second floor hallway and stairwell. The staircase leads to a charming room at the landing, and then to the second floor. Notice the steps and how the accent detail in the flooring is worked around the circular stairwell on the second floor. The moulding over the doors to the two main bedrooms is curved to follow the circular pattern.
1 For the house at the western end of the block, see 2524 Euclid Heights Boulevard, which was also on the 1983 House Tour.