Charles Schweinfurth

(1856-1919), whose four iconic stone and concrete bridges span Martin

Luther King Boulevard, with a  majestic swirling stone staircase descending into Rockefeller Park (1897­–1900), was the first Cleveland architect to rank with those of national stature. Trained in New York, he came to Cleveland to design mansions, institutional buildings, and churches for the wealthy, especially in association with Samuel and Flora Stone Mather. His first architectural assignment in Cleveland was a great stone mansion on Euclid Avenue  for financier SYLVESTER T. EVERETT, which has since been demolished. By 1910, Schweinfurth had completed at least 15 residential designs for prominent and wealthy Clevelanders on Euclid Avenue between East 12th and East 40th streets, when the thoroughfare was popularly known as “Millionaires’ Row.” Still standing is the SAMUEL MATHER house at 2605 Euclid Avenue, built in 1910, which is now part of CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY. Schweinfurth also designed Samuel Mather’s residence “Shoreby” (1890) in Bratenahl: the MARCUS A. HANNA house (1890) on Lake Avenue; his own home on East 75th Street between Chester and Euclid avenues; and the Gordon Morrill residence (1915) on Magnolia Drive in University Circle. (The late Piet van Dijk considered him an important figure.)


Significant church commissions included the remodeled interiors of the 

OLD STONE CHURCH (1884) on Public Square;  CALVARY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (1890) at East 79th Street and Euclid Avenue; the Ursuline Convent (1893) at East 55th Street and Euclid Avenue (since demolished); and TRINITY CATHEDRAL & Parish House (1907) at East 22nd Street and Euclid Avenue, which many critics and historians deem his finest work. Schweinfurth had a long and productive relationship with Samuel and FLORA STONE MATHER, which led to designs for the UNION CLUB OF CLEVELAND (1905) in downtown Cleveland, as well as several buildings on the early Adelbert and Mather college grounds. Three structures still stand on the CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY campus: the Florence Harkness Chapel (1902) and Haydn Hall (1902) on Bellflower Road and the former Backus Law School (1896) on Adelbert Road. —ECH  His early work was in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, but his masterpiece is generally agreed to be the Gothic Trinity Cathedral (1901–07).



Schweinfurth’s majestic staircase in Rockefeller Park (Copyright 2013, Lauren R. Pacini, Photographer. All rights reserved.)


Cleveland Public Library, Charles Schweinfurth