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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

DUNHAM TAVERN - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The DUNHAM TAVERN, one of Cleveland's oldest buildings and a representative Colonial farmhouse of pioneer days, is still standing in its original location at 6709 Euclid Ave. Believed to be the first building constructed on Euclid east of E. 55th St., the tavern was originally the home of Rufus and Jane Pratt Dunham, a young couple who came to Cleveland between 1819-23 from Mansfield, MA. Completed in 1842, the present structure was located near the old Buffalo-Cleveland-Detroit Rd. and became a popular stagecoach stop and hostelry. In 1853 the Dunhams sold the tavern and accompanying buildings, and it was eventually converted into a private home used by a succession of families, including Dr. and Mrs. Jas. A. Stephens, who lived in the house from 1886 until Dr. Stephens's death in 1930. During the 1930s, the transformation of Euclid Ave. to a business area threatened the survival of the building until A. DONALD GRAY†, a Cleveland landscape architect, encouraged a group of concerned citizens to establish the Dunham Tavern Corp. in 1936. Funds came from many individuals and groups, notably the Society of Collectors, Inc., which assumed responsibility for the tavern in 1941 and has continued to restore significant features and to furnish it with appropriate antiques. The building, listed in the Natl. Register of Historic Places, was designated a Cleveland landmark in 1973. In 1982 Dunham Tavern, Inc., and the Society of Collectors, Inc., merged into one corporate entity, the Corp. of Dunham Tavern Museum. In 1990, the tavern inaugurated the Heritage Trail, an educational walking path which roams the tavern's property between Euclid and Chester avenues. The trail, designed to educate visitors about life in early Cleveland, is composed of assorted garden plots, informational placards, and silhouette cutouts of period items such as trail wagons and farm animals. Many of the gardens are maintained by community groups and the CLEVELAND BOTANICAL GARDEN. In 1995, Raymond L. Cushing served as president for Dunham Tavern's 205 members.

Last Modified: 15 Jul 1997 04:12:15 PM

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