The Floating Fuller House

The Irene Lawrence Fuller house was once located on the site next to the Washington Lawrence Mansion (now Cashelmara Condominiums). The house was moved from its original location on the shores of Lake Erie on August 29, 1984 to make room for condo expansion. To help accomplish this, the home was loaded on a barge and floated down the lake for 2.5 miles. It now rests at the BAYarts complex in Huntington Park and serves as a site for exhibitions, events and community gatherings. It was last remodeled in 2010.

The following photos chronicle the move of this still very much used and vibrant old home which celebrates over 130 years in Bay Village. Enjoy!

The Irene Lawrence Fuller home in its original location, 2021.P.FIC.102

The Fuller House days before the big move August 27, 1984, 2021.P.18A

A crowd gathers to watch the move on August 29, 1984, 2021.P.FIC.216F

Loading Fuller House onto the barge, 2021.P.FIC.216W

Fuller House sails Lake Erie, 2021.P.FIC.216Z

Fuller House is placed at its new home at BAYarts on September 5, 1984, 2021.P.18G


Want to learn more about this important home in Bay Village history and how this 120-ton house was transported to its current location? Join us at Rose Hill Museum on Sunday, July 9, 2023 at 2:15pm for a Porch Talk program about the Fuller House with developer Robert Corna. Guests are asked to bring their own lawn chairs.

Dream Mansion Turned Hospital / Bay View Hospital

by Michele Yamamoto

October 1948 marked the opening of the new Bay View Osteopathic General Hospital in the old estate of Washington Herbert Lawrence (b.1840, d. 1900). It was a dream home of this early investor in the new field of electricity and president of The National Carbon Company, which manufactured, among many products, the first “D” cell battery. Lawrence died in 1900, before the mansion was fully completed to house his seven daughters and their families.

William H. Lawrence Mansion (now Cashelmara Condominiums)

In 1948, monies to buy the old mansion and turn it into a hospital were advanced by the Sheppard Family, including new Bay View Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Richard A. Sheppard and his two sons Dr. Richard N. Sheppard (senior surgeon and obstetrician) and Dr. Stephen A. Sheppard (director of hospital practices and urologist). A third son, Dr. Samuel H. Sheppard, who was a specialist in neuro-traumatic surgery, joined the staff later in 1951.

Drs. Sheppard: Samuel, Stephen, Richard (Sr.) and Richard N. circa 1940s
Nurses listed as Miss Hodges, Marie Greckle and Mrs. Humphrey
stand in uniform in front of a giant azalea at the Bay View Hospital, May 1951

The hospital’s needs soon outgrew the old mansion and a wing was added in 1953 to increase the capacity to 96 beds. By 1963, 15,300 square feet of two more floors and 30 additional beds had been added above the newer wing and the hospital was able to provide an emergency room, X-rays, surgeries, lab work, a treatment center for alcoholism and a pharmacy, among other services and amenities for patients.

Bay View Hospital Brochure detailing the expansion and new facilities added in 1963
A nurse with a pediatric patient from a 1965 Bay View Hospital brochure cover

By 1971, the hospital needed to expand again and applied for permission from the Metropolitan Health Planning Commission to build to the west of the hospital building. Permission was refused with limited land space, cramped parking, building age and the need to care for more underserved areas and work with other hospitals listed as reasons for the refusal. As a result, there was a move toward developing the Westlake Health Campus with St. John’s and Fairview hospitals. At the end of its life, Bay View Hospital included nearly 100 doctors, 300 employees and more than 200 volunteers. The old home and hospital was converted into condominiums in the early 1980s and today is known as Cashelmara.

Photographs and objects from the Bay View Hospital are now on display in the “Crime Room” at the Osborn Learning Center at Cahoon Memorial Park.  In a related display are pictures and news articles about the well-publicized 1954 murder of Marilyn Sheppard, wife of Dr. Samuel H. Sheppard, resident of Bay Village and physician at the Bay View Hospital.

You will also find a new display about former Bay Village resident Eliot Ness, the famous leader of a team of law enforcement agents nicknamed “The Untouchables,” courtesy of collector Kevin Killeen.

Rose Hill Museum and the Osborn Learning Center (next door) are now open to the public every Sunday from 2-4:30 p.m. Closed on holidays.

Dover Bay CC Golf Course

Bay Village resident Washington Lawrence indulged his family’s and friend’s wishes and developed the oldest golf course in Cuyahoga County. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, golf was played at Dover-Bay prior to 1895. The golf course greens were located on the south side of Lake Road, east of Clague Road. The large frame clubhouse was on Lake Road northeast of Clague Road. In 1951, after the last of the Lawrence family had sold their Lake Road mansion, their lakeside property was split into lots for sale and the clubhouse was torn down. The Dover-Bay Country Club members built a new clubhouse on the south side of Lake Road. This meant changing all of the hole numbers so that they started and finished at the clubhouse. The nine-hole golf course operated through 1956, when the property was sold for development.

Cashelmara / Lawrence Estate

The Cashelmara condominiums, located on the shores of Lake Erie in eastern Bay Village, boast a rich history beginning in 1898 with a mansion built by Washington Lawrence, a pioneer in the manufacturing of electrical and carbon products. The property was later purchase by the Sheppard family and converted into the Bay View Osteopathic Hospital. The early 1980s brought the final transformation, when architect and developer Bob Corna created a 110-unit condominium conplex out of the closed hospital and surrounding area. It was named Cashelmara, meaning “stone house by the sea” in Gaelic.

Fuller House at BAYarts

The Irene Lawrence Fuller House was part of the complex of homes built by industrialist Washington Lawrence in the 1870s. Lawrence had seven daughters and built a house for each.

The spacious historic home was moved from its past location on the eastern end of Bay Village adjacent to the Cashelmara condominiums to its current location at on Lake Road in the Huntington Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks via a two-mile barge ride on Lake Erie in the late summer of 1984.

For the next 25 years, the house sat vacant while supporters raised money for the renovation, which started in 2009.
Renovations cost about $375,000. The money came from grants by the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission, the Cleveland Metroparks, Mapleleaf Landscaping and local donors. Funds also came from naming rights to help complete the project.

The home itself – a Queen Anne Victorian structure — has an interesting history. In 1947, the Cleveland Osteopathic Association bought the land and buildings. The mansion was renamed the Bay Osteopathtic General Hospital and the Fuller House became the nurses’ residence.

In 1954, Dr. Richard Sheppard Sr., wife and his wife made the Fuller House their home. His infamous son, Sam Sheppard, was arrested by Bay Village police on the Fuller House porch for the murder of his wife, Marilyn. In 1955, the Sheppard family moved out of the home.

In 1981, then Baycrafters director Sally Price was instrumental in saving the house, which she wanted for galleries and studios. Baycrafters decided to move the house by floating it on the lake because the trip was shorter and cheaper.

Former Baycrafters board member Pat Heinke and her husband Lowell backed a bank loan that helped pay for the estimated $30,000 move to float the Fuller House to its present location. In comparison, the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company wanted more than $100,000 to drop electric lines so the home could be towed 3 1/2 miles down Lake Road.

The Irene Lawrence Fuller House finally reopened on the campus of BAYarts in January 2011.

The renovated home features new flooring, windows, roofs, gutters, heating, venting and air conditioning, floor-to-ceiling window walls, a wrap-around deck, a second gazebo and an indoor and outdoor drawing and painting studio.

It also includes are a third floor office and first floor gallery space with moving art panels around decorative columns.

Bay Village’s Back-yard Playground

Location, location, location. The following two stories began with a lake at the back door.

Golf!!! It all began with Washington Lawrence, president of the National Carbon Company, purchasing three farms along the lake at the eastern border of Dover Township. Washington had seven daughters and six of them married men who enjoyed the new game called golf. He indulged his sons-in-law and developed the oldest golf course in Cuyahoga County and the State of Ohio.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Golf Played at Dover Bay Prior to 1895: Although not the first incorporated club in Cleveland, it is probable that the first golf was played where Dover Bay now stands.”

Golf Retold reported, “August 22, 1896: To anyone who has had the good fortune to be a guest at Dover Bay Park, it must seem astonishing that there are not more such places around Cleveland. Each family has a house of its own. The clubhouse makes a rallying place… It is certainly a community of clever people.”

In 1899, Chisholm Beach was the golf champion having won over Mr.’s Chase, Dodge, James, Matthews and Bourne.

Opening day, 1903, saw a reorganization, and a new name, Dover Bay Country Club. Public members were welcome. The golf pro was Alex Miller and the manager, Jack Quinlan. Members rented rooms in the club house for the summer season. For awhile, Mickey McBride, of the Cleveland Indians, owned the property. He sold it in 1956 for residential development. Union Carbide was interested in building their research laboratory on the property, but the city voted to keep Bay Village a city of homes.

In Bay Village, Lake Erie is our backyard playground. Hobo, Loafer, Restless and Bum – such names don’t usually find their way into a sailing story – but add to them Vagabond, Wanderer, Tramp and Roamer and attach them to eight home-made sailing dinghies, and you have the nucleus of the Bay Village Yacht Club, the youngest yachting organization in the area in 1940.

The Biloxi dinghies were owned by Bay High School boys with the names of Smith, Hruby, Sims, Asher, Sutliff, Miller, Nyerges and Brueggemann. The boys ranged in age from 13 to 18 years old.

All the boats were home-made either by the boys and their parents or Henry Wischmeyer. Henry was the caretaker of the old Wischmeyer Hotel on Lake Road. At times he needed workers to pick peaches and strong backs to cut down and haul away trees and brush. He would hire high school boys who lived on the streets near the hotel to do chores around his property, and they became friends.

Henry’s boat house, no longer in use, was offered to the boys as a yacht club to store their boats and equipment. Almost every day during the summer months, the boy’s boats could be seen catching the warm summer breezes off the Cahoon and Wischmeyer beaches.

World War II began the breakup of the sailing fleet as seven members joined the Navy, four on the same day. When the war ended, and the boys came home, they found they had different interests and the club disbanded.

The one thing that stayed constant was the lake which still pleasures us today.

The Washington Lawrence mansion

Washington Lawrence, who was born in Olmsted Township in 1840, attended Baldwin University in Berea, Ohio. He was an associate of Charles F. Brush, the inventor of the arc light and the lighting of Cleveland’s Public Square in 1879.

By 1886, the National Carbon Company was founded by Myron T. Herrick, James Parmalee and Webb Hays. A large plant was built on Madison Avenue near 117th St. on the west side of Cleveland. Washington Lawrence became president of the company and served until his death in 1900.

Washington married Harriett Collister and reared seven daughters. In the 1870s, he and his family enjoyed coming to the Dover-Bay Colony in Dover Township to summer in the fresh air. Washington decided to purchase three farms east of the Dover-Bay Colony. They were situated along the lake from Clague Road east to the township line and south to the railroad tracks. In 1880, he came into the possession of the Dover-Bay Colony next door and invited several prominent citizens of Cleveland to erect cottages on the park grounds.

By the summer of 1892, life was going strong at the Colony with the addition of a golf course. In 1889, Washington built a clubhouse so the group had a place to congregate.

Washington decided to build himself a fine home on his property. He chose to build his mansion in the Romanesque style popular from 1870-1890. This was a romantic imitation of the past that combined classic and gothic revival. From mid-century on, this style, with its stunning visuals, was a metaphor of great wealth and sudden success that they could create.

The address was 23200 Lake Road. The Cleveland Plain Dealer in “Cleveland Town Topics” reported, “The Washington Lawrences have for several weeks been occupying their splendid new mansion at the Bay… April 29, 1899.”

The mansion contained three sitting rooms, a library, a beautiful dining room, a kitchen, and a massive hall and stairway that led to eight bedrooms on the second floor. The third floor featured a ballroom, two bedrooms, an enormous linen closet, and the servant’s quarters. A section was reserved as a sewing room for the people who came a few times a year to make the family wardrobes. On the opposite corners of the house were two octagonal rooms. The sunroom was on the first floor, and the sitting room off the master bedroom was on the second floor.

The home, unfortunately, was not completely finished before Mr. Lawrence’s death in 1900. While inspecting the workmanship of his new home one day, he fell from the second floor. Having survived this fall, he died months later from an illness. Mrs. Lawrence remained at the house with one of her daughters, Ella, and her husband, William Matthews. It remained in the family until the 1940’s.

In October 1948, the Cleveland Osteopathic Association purchased the old Lawrence mansion to accommodate its growing hospital. They moved from Cleveland to Bay Village and operated an 85-bed hospital with modern facilities. The Richard Sheppard Sr. family was in charge of the hospital. In 1952, a west wing was added. This was a successful business for many years. The hospital closed about 1979, and the mansion building was converted into the main building of the Cashalmara (“Stone House” in Gaelic) condominium complex.

The Lawrence Mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places.