Thursday, November 20, 2014

Remarkable Lake County -- Lantern Court

A hidden gem of Lake County may be found on Kirtland-Chardon Road in Kirtland.  It is a Georgian style country house surrounded by over 25 acres of informal gardens as well as a pond.  This country house served as a weekend / summer retreat up until WWII before becoming the primary residence of the family and their five children thru 1966.  The home is situated within the 3600 acres known to many as The Holden Arboretum. The house is known as Lantern Court and was formally acquired by the arboretum in 2007.  It is open to the public for much of the year and I can attest that my visit as part of the Northeast Ohio Intermuseum Council some years back left a lasting impression.  Here is a mini-chapter on this truly unique residence.

Mr. and Mrs. Warren H. and Maud Corning were married in 1928.  Mr. Corning made his fortune in investment banking.  The newlyweds purchased land in 1929 and their country home  began to take shape.  They lived in the gatehouse while much of the country house and its classic gardens were built throughout the 1930's.  The blend of architecture, horticulture and interior decor took its inspiration from the Civil War estates era that prevailed until nearly 1940.  Lantern Court as it was known totaled 17 rooms, eight of which are open for public viewing today.  The family settled in the home full time after WWII and remained there until 1966 when their last child moved away.  The Cornings then took up residence just down the road on another property.

 The Corning family and Lantern Court are intertwined with a well-known landmark - The Holden Arboretum.  The history of the arboretum began in 1931 and its story has been told previously to our readers.  What remains to be shared is this.  Mr. Corning was one of the original pioneers of the arboretum's genesis.  He served as the first unpaid executive administrator.  He helped facilitate many of the land purchases that resulted in the 3600 acres it now boasts of.  Mr. and Mrs. Corning donated their private collection of horticultural classics that comprise a library collection second to none.  Their former residence now serves the arboretum as an educational setting and the 25 acres of informal gardens are shared with all who visit.

If you have a chance to stop by this holiday season, do so.  If not, make Lantern Court a top priority for 2015 - it is a hidden gem and a part of our county history not to be missed.

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