Higbee Cottage, Foxboro Road, Gates Mills, Ohio


Last week we toured a grand lake house on a Great Lake. This week let's visit a little cottage with some pretty grand connections of its own.

This is the 1929 Higbee Cottage in Gates Mills, Ohio. Remember Higbee's Department Store from the movie A Christmas Story? It's that Higbee. Well, sort of. The cottage is more connected to his granddaughter-in-law, Katharine Holden Higbee Thayer.

If you're thinking that a 2,921 square foot cottage seems a little small for a department store heiress, it's because you haven't seen the big picture. This is Higbee House proper, just down the road from the cottage. 

(It's neat inside. I'll give a tour of it soon!)

Both houses were put on the market in 2019, and the larger house sold pretty quickly. I have a feeling the cottage's odd room layout might be why it's still available.

As you might guess from these photos, it was recently renovated:

The dining room is across from the kitchen, in the front of the house:

The dining room needs to look like this:

There's a heated, four-season sunroom (one of two) off of the dining room:

The other sunroom is to the left of the kitchen:

To the right of the kitchen is the laundry room? Butler's pantry? I'd call it the flower arranging room. (I'm not sure where the laundry room is and I've watched the video tour twice.)

There's also a half bath:

Across from the front door...

...is the first of the two bedrooms, with its own bath:

Here is the second bedroom, with a beautiful fireplace and adjoining dressing room and bath:

Nice to see some of the original 1929 details. Speaking of original details, this is the room that sold me on this house:

If it were mine, it would look like this:

What's neat about the room is that it's open to the porch on both sides:

From the front of the house (left of the front door)...

...through to the side:

That's the garage on the right. There's also a very large basement with lots of living area, a half bath and wine storage:

Gates Mills was founded by a guy named Gates who had a sawmill. Go figure. A suburb of Cleveland, it served a summer retreat for wealthy businessmen. With the advent of cars and roads in the 1920's, those summer cottages became year-round homes, and got some pretty fancy neighbors. 

It was a suitable environment for Katharine Holden Higbee Thayer. Her grandfather Liberty Holden was a businessman on par with the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts. Among other accomplishments, he owned The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Hollenden Hotel (which was so fancy that it had telephones at each of its barber chairs in the barber shop), and helped create the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Her father Albert created Holden Arboretum near Cleveland as a memorial to Katharine's sister. 

{google street view}

There's also a center there in Katharine's name.

I've shown you my grand plans for the cottage. Next week we'll peek at a couple of grander homes associated with the Holden and Higbee families. (I haven't forgotten I promised to show you the Apothecary House, too. I'm like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter over here.)

The listing is here.

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