Ambler Heights Historic District

Residential Development Area

The Ambler Heights Historic District is an early twentieth century suburban residential development of approximately 73 acres, platted in its current form in 1900. Development began about 1903 and was largely completed by 1927. The District is located mostly in the southwest corner of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, an inner-ring suburb of Cleveland; a small portion of the District is located within the boundaries of the City of Cleveland. It is an example of the successful marketing of “garden city” living to the wealthy during the first stage of the suburbanization of Cleveland.

The area consists today of 66 original, single-family, architect-designed private homes, one original home which has been converted to use by a retirement community (but continues to be a contributing resource) and 14 non-contributing homes. The original homes and the District are well-preserved and have experienced relatively little alteration since their construction; they therefore may be said to have integrity in terms of:

  • Association
  • Design
  • Feeling
  • Location
  • Materials
  • Setting
  • Workmanship

Location & Land Type

The District is located approximately five miles east of downtown Cleveland. It is bounded by Cedar Glen Parkway (north), South Overlook Road (east), North Park Boulevard (south) and Ambleside Road and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard (west). It is located on the rise of a gradual hill leading from the City of Cleveland at its lower elevation to the various “Heights” suburbs (including Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights) at its higher elevations; this ledge of land forms the western limits of the Portage escarpment of the Allegheny Mountains. The District includes all of:

  • Chestnut Hills Drive
  • Denton Drive
  • Devonshire Drive
  • Elandon Drive
  • Harcourt Drive
  • Numbers 1625, 1803, 1815, 1821, 1835 and 2289 North Park Boulevard

History & Styles

The Ambler Heights area is named after Dr. Nathan Hardy Ambler (1824-88), a dentist who amassed considerable wealth during the California Gold Rush and subsequently entered into real estate development in Cleveland. Originally farmland, Ambler Heights began to be developed about 1903 by Dr. Ambler’s adopted son, Daniel O. Caswell, and his nephew, William Eglin Ambler. Gracious homes of 2, 2-1/2 and 3 stories, ranging in scale from about 3,000 to more than 8,700 square feet, were built to the specifications of some of Cleveland’s leading families and designed by well-known architects of the period. They mostly exhibit period revival styles such as Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival, but often in interpretations typical of the Progressive Era. As a whole, they consistently exhibit characteristics typical of upper-class domestic suburban architecture of the time.