A rare glimpse into Cleveland’s past is offered by the distinctive Morris A. Bradley Carriage House—an 1887 Tudor building near Euclid Avenue on East 73rd Street in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood.
Originally, the structure served as a carriage house to the 1885 manor built for Bradley and his wife, Anna A. Leininger Bradley. Bradley was one of Cleveland's largest real estate owners in the 1880s and boat builder—owning as many as 26 ships sailing the Great Lakes.
Bradley's Euclid Avenue Tudor manor was one of last remaining homes on Millionaires Row before it was razed in 1998 after suffering years of neglect. Today, the plot is the home of One Midtown townhomes. But the Bradley carriage house on East 73rd Street remains standing.
The Euclid Avenue manor house was designed by an architect whose name has been lost to time. It was completed in 1887, withthe carriage house following in 1890.Changing styles and tastes over the following 20 years led to an extensive renovation of the main house in 1907, converting it to the popular Tudor Revival style.
Morris A Bradley Carriage House Street CardOriginally, the carriage house provided shelter for animals and their food, in addition to storage for the horse-drawn vehicles of the era. It later became an automobile repair facility, an artist’s studio, and is currently an artisan’s workshop. This structure has served many adaptive roles in its life and its role in Fairfax’s history.
The Bradley carriage house is a three-story structure that incorporates a variety of significant design elements—including stucco over brick, a sandstone foundation, decorative woodwork, a steeply pitched roof, and a copper sheathed cupola.
The second level exterior features decorative wooden corbels at the ends of the gabled roof and a ribbon of six double hung windows with shutters.
The building is currently owned by local artisan Carlo Maggiora, who creates bases and backdrops used to display museum exhibits. Heuses the carriage house’s three floors as multiple workstations for different materials used in building the bases and backdrops.
Morris A Bradley - Queen Anne HouseMaggiora is carrying on the rich legacy that extends back to 1885.
In 1885 Morris A. Bradley purchased land on Euclid Avenue to build house in Queen Anne style architecture that was befitting of his status as a successful owner of the Great Lakes Bradley Fleet.
Made up of bulk freighters like the Steamship William G. Mather, the fleet carried loose tonnage of cargo like coal, iron ore, wheat, or limestone. In later years, Bradley’s company was well known for hauling limestone—a vital component of steel production.
The Great Lakes Bradley Fleet company did not exist without tragedy. In 1958 a Bradley Fleet steamer, the Carl D. Bradley broke in half in a storm in Lake Michigan. There were only two survivors. Most of the crew were from a small town called Rogers City, Michigan which was devastated by the loss of life.
The Bradley family retained the East 73rd Street house until 1921, then joined the migration east to the Cleveland Heights and into Elandon Hall.
Collections from the Cuyahoga County Archives indicate that in 1931 the carriage house was converted into an auto shop as part of a used car lot.
John PuskasThen, in 1951, famed enamel artist John Puskas purchased the carriage house to use as his studio. Puskas had the largest privately-owned kiln in the area and the federal government commissioned him to design a commemorative enamel-on-silver plaque to mark the Apollo launch in 1967.
Puskas created a series of works involving his preferred subjects: Cleveland inspired landscapes, musical instruments, and Cubist inspired still life. Puskas held weekly salons on the third floor of the carriage house that he converted from a hay loft into an apartment.
Puskas' outstanding artistic reputation adds him, along with Alva Bradley II, the eldest son of Morris A. and Anna A. Leininger-Bradley, to the list of more notable people associated with the property.
Bradley II is remembered as a longtime owner of the Cleveland Indians during an eventful era in the team’s history—1927 to 1946.
Bradley II was an enthusiastic supporter of a new stadium on the lakefront, believing it would draw fans from around the country and boost revenues at the downtown hotels and restaurants.
Cleveland Municipal Stadium opened for baseball in 1932 but the Great Depression sabotaged Bradley’s dreams of massive crowds on the weekends and holidays.
In his 21 years of owning the ballclub, Bradley brought some outstanding ballplayers to Cleveland, including signing pitcher and 1962 Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Feller at the age of 17, Satchel Paige, Earl Averill, Hal Trosky, Ken Keltner, and player-manager and 1970 Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau.
Still going strong in the 21st Century, the Bradley Carriage House provides a great illustration of Cleveland’s ability to adapt and thrive as conditions all around it have changed over the years.
Based on its intricate past, who knows what the future holds for it.
Sports historian Scott Longert contributed to the baseball portion of this article.