C Cleveland

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I've always been an avid reader. When I was a little girl, I would keep my book bag in my lap all through dinner every 14 days, knowing that once we ate, my father and I would venture to my favorite home away from home, the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Library.

The South Euclid-Lyndhurst Library was one of 28 in the Cuyahoga County Library System. Lucky for me, it was also the one closest to my house because the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Library wasn't like the other libraries which were housed in the backs of schools or in fancy new buildings.

This is the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Library.

As you can see, it's not like your ordinary library. It's housed in the former Telling Mansion and has a total of 26 rooms and 20,000 square feet.
Young William Telling started selling strawberries and milk from his father's farm before he got a job at the local quarries. Money he earned there was used to buy a milk wagon to start a milk route. One thing led to another and William Telling found himself sitting at the helm of the largest dairy operation in Cleveland and surrounding northern Ohio communities.
Telling also became the director of Standard Trust Company, formed as a merger of smaller banks. The financial crash of 1929 caused the demise of Standard Trust and Telling's net worth of $16 million plunged to just $16,000 in less than 10 years.
The mansion was liquidated and sold, becoming housing for war brides, apartments and eventually, home to the South Euclid Library, which later merged with the Lyndhurst library. I spent many hours sneaking into the upstairs and basement "off limits" areas, pretending that this grand home was mine.


Even it's place on the National Register of Historic Places can't save it from it's current struggle. The Cuyahoga County Public Library has decided to close this branch and sell the property. I'm glad my father isn't alive to witness this, because it would break his heart.

They site that the mansion has three floors and no elevators, making it inaccessible to the handicapped but surely they could find a way to put in elevators that would cost less than the $12 million they are spending to build a new library just a stone's throw down the road. The debate has a community rallied to save its prized possession.

I belong to the Save the SE-L Mansion Library Facebook page and I commend the efforts of the organizers to try to save this gem. Each weekend, they protest in front of the library but I fear that their protests are falling on deaf ears.

 At least the one thing the library Board can't take away from me are my memories.

If you're so inclined, here's a history of William Telling and the library. It's about 20 minutes long but views of the library start at 5:00



  1. What a lovely building and brilliant place to have a library. It is a great shame that the library authority can't (won't) find a way to carry out alterations to keep the building as a library. What will happen to it?

  2. What a fascinating read about this building, Chrissy!

    And holy cow...what a STUNNING building it is. Both the exterior and interior photos are amazing!

    Anytime you share the history of Cleveland, it reminds me so much of the beautiful architecture here in Philadelphia.

    Sure hope they find a way to save the building.

    "At least the one thing the library Board can't take away from me are my memories.'

    You're right, girl!


  3. @Mark Clough,
    It's very sad. The property is listed for $895K and we're hoping that whoever purchases the property decides to keep it open for public use.

    Isn't it a gem? I wish I could buy it myself! Like I told Mark, I hope that the new owners appreciate the love the community has for this landmark and that whatever it becomes allows it to still be enjoyed by the public.


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