The William H. Hunt Estate
By Eric C. Olson
During the last two weeks I’ve had the great pleasure of learning about one of Cleveland’s unsung civic heroes, William H. Hunt. Hunt was a huge entrepreneur in Northeast Ohio, who got his start working at what would eventually become First Merit Bank in Akron, and eventually becoming the president of the Cleveland Life Insurance Company. Hunt is an uncredited funder and supporter of the Hiram House, the first settlement house in Ohio, and a prominent founder of the St. Luke’s Hospital in Cleveland. Hunt was also selected as the president of the Cuyahoga County Centennial Celebration of 1910. I had the opportunity to go to the Western Reserve Historical Society and read Hunt’s letters to Teddy Roosevelt and Glenn Curtis. Roosevelt declined, in a very presidential way, to attend the ceremony, but Glenn Curtis personally spoke in Cleveland and had the first airplanes land in Cleveland thanks to William Hunt’s efforts.
I could go on about how interesting William Hunt was, but the estate itself is an amazing historic mining landscape that William Hunt transformed into his millionaire’s estate, Terraced Lakes. I have hiked around the estate several times and photographed the contributing elements of this National Register (NRHP) eligible property. I have been working on writing the NRHP nomination form for Terraced Lakes these past two weeks, among other projects. The mining landscape is just as incredible as the twin lakes and dam that William Hunt erected to manage the water on his property in the 1920s. I did not figure I would see “pyramids” in the Cuyahoga Valley, but some of the spoil piles from the mining operations of H. C. Currier in the 1870s are twice my size composed of waste sandstone that never made it to out of the quarry. These quarries were among the many of Independence, Ohio, that literally formed the foundation stones of Cleveland’s first buildings.
In the coming two weeks I hope to finish my first draft of the NRHP nomination form, with all of the data I have collected on the historic quarry and the Terraced Lakes Estate.