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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

GOLDSMITH, JONATHAN - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

GOLDSMITH, JONATHAN (1783-1847), a master builder active in Lake County and Cleveland between 1819-43, was born in Milford, Conn., the son of Jonathan Gillett and Anna (Beers) Goldsmith. After a brief apprenticeship as a shoemaker, he apprenticed himself to a carpenter-joiner at age 17 . He worked in Hebron, Conn., and Berkshire County, Mass., before moving to Ohio in 1811. Goldsmith's known buildings include 30 homes and commercial buildings in Painesville, another handful around Lake County, and 10 houses in Cleveland. The Cleveland residences, none of which are extant, were all built between 1830-37 on Euclid Ave. when it was a prime residential street, and were built for prominent citizens such as SHERLOCK J. ANDREWS†, PETER WEDDELL†, Samuel Cowles, and TRUMAN P. HANDY†. All were executed in the current late Federal and early Greek Revival styles; some, especially Handy's and Judge Thos. Kelly's homes, were mansions with colossal Ionic porticoes. Goldsmith's apprentice and assistant in Cleveland was his son-in-law CHAS. W. HEARD†, who continued to practice architecture in Cleveland until 1876. Goldsmith is better-documented than most early 19th-century master builders, because many of his drawings, as well as account books, contracts, and letters, have survived and are in the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. His drawings were included in the Metropolitan Museum's exhibition "The Greek Revival in the United States" in 1943.

Goldsmith married Abigail Jones ca. 1808. They had ten children: Caroline, Eliza, Lucia, Frank, Anna, Gillett, Delos, and Augusta, two other children died in infancy. Goldsmith died in Painesville and was buried in the Painesville Township Cemetery.

Hitchcock, Elizabeth G. Jonathan Goldsmith, Master Builder in the Western Reserve (1980).

Last Modified: 16 Jul 1997 02:33:23 PM

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