3381 Hollister Road (1995)


This unique residence is located in the Forest Hill development. Once the summer estate of the legendary founder of Standard Oil, John D. Rockefeller, the Forest Hill neighborhood now includes more than 950 homes.


In 1873 Rockefeller bought his first piece of property in what was then East Cleveland township, hoping to operate a sanitarium in this scenic wooded area with a view of Lake Erie in the distance. When this business venture failed, Rockefeller used the sanitarium for a summer home and eventually acquired 700 acres of land in the area bounded roughly by Taylor, Mayfield, Superior, and Euclid. Here he built a 9-hole golf course, trails, and the lake which remains. After 1917, when fire destroyed the main house, he never returned to the "Homestead."


John D. Rockefeller Jr. donated portions of the property to Huron Road Hospital and Kirk Junior High School and 266 acres to East Cleveland and Cleveland Heights for Forest Hill Park. Hoping to develop a 600-home planned community, John D. Rockefeller Jr. built his first homes in the French Norman style in 1925. In 1930 the Heights Rockefeller Building at Mayfield Road and Lee Blvd., intended as the community's commercial cornerstone, was finished. Rockefeller's grand plans were dashed by the Great Depression, but later developers and today's Forest Hill Home Owners, Inc. have maintained his vision of an architecturally homogeneous, meticulously maintained residential neighborhood in a parklike setting.


Completed in 1940, this traditional home conforms to the development's deed restrictions in its exterior use of brick and wood, its attached garage, and its slate roof. Decorative details such as the paned windows and the dentils over the garage door add charm and individuality.


The traditional exterior is in dramatic contrast with the home's eclectic, elegant interior. Each room sets off the striking furnishings and art gathered from five continents. In the dining area hangs a Capo di Monte chandelier from Italy. In the living room stands a handsome black gesso chest created in 1941 by Cleveland artist Ernestine. The bathroom medicine chests are finished with etched glass from the Philippines. The white jade figurines come from mainland China.


To create an appropriately formal setting, the owners removed pine panelling in several rooms and repainted the walls and woodwork a striking white, removed built-in book cases in the living room, restored the hardwood floors, and installed ornate medallions under each ceiling light fixture. The completely redesigned kitchen is both functional and dramatic, with a Sardinian granite counter, an Italian ceramic floor, and a second elegant dining area.