Sunday, November 22, 2015
Coulallenby -- today known as Wickliffe City Hall.
The mansion and gatehouse on the 54-acre estate was built by Harry C. Coulby. Coulby began working for Picklands Mather in 1886, a company which owned a fleet of steamship cargo vessels on the Great Lakes. By 1905, Coulby was running the company and was known as the "Czar of the Great Lakes" for his scheduling expertise. He founded his own firm, the Interlake Steamship Co., in 1913, and then purchased Pickands Mather and its company fleets of various names. His wife died in 1921. He died on January 17, 1929, at the age of 64.
Coulby was Wickliffe's first mayor, serving a single term in 1916. The mansion served as the city hall.
Coulallenby was designed in the Italianate Revival style by architect Frederick W. Striebinger, and was built by W.B. McAllister & Co. of Cleveland. The name of the estate is a conflation of the last names of Harry Coulby and his wife, May Allen Coulby.
Construction began in 1913 and was complete in 1915. The $1 million mansion included 16 rooms with seven fireplaces, a formal gardens, a pond, a cow barn, a gatehouse (now the Wickliffe Police headquarters) and a park.
The exterior is of white terra-cotta imported from Italy. Palladian windows provided each room of the ground floor with abundant natural light. The main entrance was originally in what is now the rear of the building. A round foyer here is topped by a skylight designed by the Tiffany firm. A living room occupied the south extension of the west wing of the first floor. The north and south walls of the living room featured carved built-in cabinets, Tiffany chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and the marble fireplace mantel was imported from Italy. A library, also in the west wing, contained extensive built-in bookshelves, hand-carved wood panels from Bohemia, and another Italian marble fireplace mantel. A morning room occupied the slight extension on the west side.
A dining room, breakfast room, butler's pantry, and kitchen occupied the east wing. The breakfast room extended eastward and was semicircular, providing a vast amount of morning light at all times of the year.
The second floor above the west wing contained May Coulby's bedroom, dressing room, sitting room, and bath. The second floor above the east wing contained Harry Coulby's bedroom and two guestrooms. Coulby's room faced Lake Erie, and he kept the trees on the north side of the house trimmed so he could watch his ships sailing on Lake Erie. Over the kitchen on the south side of the building, slightly lower than the rest of the second floor, were the tiny servants' rooms.
In June 1929, the Sisters of Holy Humility of Mary purchased the Coulallenby and turned it into Marycrest, a girls' school. The mansion also was the site of the Convent of the Good Shepherd, which provided housing for the nuns. In 1954, the City of Wickliffe purchased Coulallenby for its city hall. It has remained the city's mayoral and council offices ever since.
Coulallenby was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
Coulallenby received no major renovations or alterations until 2010, when the roof over the wings was replaced. The following year, the remainder of the roof was replaced, and a protective cover was placed over the Tiffany skylight. current work involves restoring the structure's glazed terra-cotta exterior. In 2013, the city began restoration and conservatioin of the exterior's terra-cotta tiles, replacement of modern windows, refurbishment of original windows, and the removal of exterior additions (such as metal conduits). Minor improvements to the entrance and entrance steps, and the addition of energy-efficient lighting, were made in 2014, bringing the total cost of repairs and improvements to $1.7 million.
The Wickliffe Police Department occupies the estate's former gatehouse. The kind, extent, and number of changes to this structure are undetermined.