2163 Harcourt (1979, 1986, 1990)


A stately Georgian-style house designed by the noted architect Abram Garfield (son of the President), this house has a long history as a focal point in the social and cultural life of Cleveland. It is now owned by Case Western Reserve University and is the official home of the CWRU President.


The house was built in 1906 for Jerome Brainard Zerbe, a local coal industrialist, who sold it to Samuel and Blanche Halle in 1916. (Samuel and his brother Salmon established the famous Halle Brothers department store.) It remained the Halles' house until after Samuel Halle's death in 1954. WRU bought the house in 1987. Approximately one year was spent redecorating and remodeling it.


The popular name "Halle Mansion" is a fitting one, for it was the Halles who made it one of the best known of Cleveland's residences. Many illustrious people have been guests here, including Cole Porter, Sinclair Lewis, George Gershwin, and Sir Winston Churchill. The bedroom Churchill occupied when he stayed here as a house guest in 1932 is open to Tour visitors.


In the process of redecorating and remodeling this 19-room brick house, all the walls and ceilings on the first and second floors were refinished, acoustic tile was removed from the ceilings of the great hall and the living room, and the linoleum that had covered the floor of the hall was removed to expose the original oak floor.


One bathroom on the second floor was remodeled and the lavatory on the main floor was moved and redone, in conjunction with the remodeling of the kitchen. In the kitchen, walls were stripped down to expose the underlying brick, a work island was removed, and new cooking appliances were installed against a wall.