As I mentioned on Tuesday, the community garage sale that we worked at last Saturday was held at Greenwood Farm in Richmond Heights. Richmond Heights is the next city over from where I grew up. My grandparents lived there for a while so I spent many summers enjoying the public pool and parks of the city but the one place I wasn't allowed to go was the big old house on Richmond Road.
My parents just assumed it was someone's big old house and you couldn't just go knock on the doors of people's big old houses that you didn't know. I made my father slow down our silver Buick LeSabre as we drove by and my dreamy, little girl mind would envision the glamorous parties and huge Christmas tree that would surely be displayed in the front parlor for the holidays. We all lived in bungalows or ranches so the third floor of this home must be something magical like a ballroom but alas, I never found out.
I don't have much occasion to drive past the house anymore but when I saw that the community garage sale was going to be on the grounds of the house, I told myself that I would find a way to sneak in and take a look around. Well, when I realized that they were going to be giving tours, I was beside myself. I wouldn't have to risk criminal trespassing, after all!
And now it had a name.
I decided to do some research and this is what I found.
The property itself can be traced back to 1798. After a series of owners, George and Maude Phypers purchased it in 1908 and named it Greenwood Farm, after the family farm where Maude grew up in Massachusetts. George Phypers was known not only for his land holdings but for his civic involvement and his part in developing Cleveland's insurance infrastructure.
The original house was a 19th century farmhouse that the Phypers planned to enlarged but it was destroyed in a fire and the current home was built in its place. The land consisted of almost 19 acres which weren't split until 1994 when one son took ownership of seven acres and renamed it Deerhaven for the many deer that frequently emerge from Euclid Creek which runs through the property.
Sadly, even in this economy, developers are always looking for land to build residential housing and the Phypers property is no exception. There were a number of developers sniffing around, hoping to turn this beautiful green space into the next subdivided neighborhood. I applaud the city for making the offer to purchase the Greenwood Farm in 2004 and I thank the Phypers family for accepting their offer. The purchase price was somewhere in the mid-600's which is likely a small amount compared to what a developer would offer. However, the purchase by the city ensures that the land won't be developed.
The newly formed Greenwood Farm Historical, Cultural & Arts Association, Inc. hopes to renovate the home and grounds for the enjoyment of the community and many generations to come.
Here are the current photos. It was heartbreaking to see the current state of the home. As you can see, it has a long road ahead. The last remaining child lived on the property until a few years back but she lived in the groundskeeper's home so the main house fell into quite a state of disrepair.
the front of the house
front with view of veranda on the left
This is my ballroom. It turns out it's one big room that was used as a playroom.
Beautiful ironwork around the veranda
the front entrance
Back stairs from the second floor that lead to the kitchen
Dining room built ins
Many of the original doors and fixtures were stolen by vandals
This is the exact paneling that was in my parents' family room when I moved in!
This makes me cry
View to the back of the house
Steepest and shortest steps ever.
Can't believe I didn't flip flop down on top of the woman in front of me.
Bedroom view. The creek is off to the right.
the groundskeeper's house
rear of the barn
Check out this short little power line pole. It was about 6' tall.
I don't care what anyone says. I see the Christmas tree in the corner. Don't you?