Monday, December 10, 2012

Kirtland Hills and Leonard C. Hanna, Jr.

In the history of Kirtland Hills, perhaps the most famous estate is that of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr.  Its story dates back to 1492.  In 1923, the John Wanamaker store in Philadelphia arranged the purchase of three stone houses in England.  The homes were disassembled and imported to America. One of these stone houses found its way to the County Line Road estate of Edmund S. Burke.  Burke, a wealthy Cleveland industrialist and Chairman of the Fourth Federal Reserve District used the former Philadelphia structure as a guest house.  The stone house, which dates to 1492 was reconstructed in 1925 and eventually found its way to its current location when Hanna purchased and re-erected it for a third time it in 1945.  The Kirtland Hills Hanna estate occupied 300 acres and was laid out in the style of an English feudal village.  A pool, covered bridge, guest houses, sheep barns, caretakers cottage, gate house and numerous other out buildings were also constructed.  Most faced Little Mountain Road.  Leonard Hanna and his family were one of Cleveland's wealthiest.  His fortunes were based on iron ore, coal, and Great Lakes shipping interests.  Hanna, a known philanthropist donated in excess of $100,000 to charitable causes. Hanna entertained many of his closest friends at his Kirtland Hills estate.  Their names are a Who's Who of American Entertainment - Cole Porter, Gene Tunney, Gloria Swanson, and Joan Crawford.  Hanna even let local families swim in his pool on Sunday afternoons.  Hanna's passing in 1957 resulted in the estate being subdivided by Gerald Wearsch.  New homes now dot the former Hanna property.  The original stone house, circa 1492 still remains and is privately owned.

Information was gleaned from Janet Murfey's 1988 compilation  - A Brief History of Kirtland Hills

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