Higbee Estate, Foxboro Road, Gates Mills, Ohio


From Higbee Cottage to the big house. Let's take a look at the main house on the estate we toured last week: Higbee House, or, as it was known in the Cleveland social register, West Hill Farm. (Or, as I've been unofficially tagging the photos, Big Higbee.)

Like the cottage, it was built in 1929 and has lots of wine storage in the basement. Unlike the cottage, it sits on 9 acres and has 3 reflecting pools. That's a lot of reflection.

Also unlike the cottage's 2,921 square feet, Higbee Estate measures 6,239 square feet. That's not including the pool house or carriage apartments above the garage.

I like the fact that Big Higbee's recent owners have a fondness for little model houses. 

The house was renovated in the 1990's.  I like that the kitchen has an apron front farmhouse sink. Despite its estate elegance, it's still West Hill Farm, a house in the country.

In keeping with a country estate, there's a keeping room off of the kitchen:

If it were mine, it would look like this:

Now it's more in keeping with the rest of the house. Believe it or not, the nectarine painting and nectarines on the couch were just a happy coincidence.  

Continuing our tour, there are four bedrooms (not pictured) in the former maid's quarters up on the 3rd floor:

The remaining 4 bedrooms are on the second floor. The house has 7 bathrooms (5 full, 2 half) and the master suite has two of them. His and hers, just like its two closets.

That's a lovely room, but I like these 2 bedrooms even better:

Please tell me that ginormous dollhouse is a model of Big Higbee. It sure looks like it.

Meanwhile, by the pool...

is an even bigger architectural model:

This one is a bit more elaborate with living and dining spaces, a full kitchen, and two bathrooms:

As we learned last week, these two Higbee properties were owned by Edwin Converse Higbee (grandson of Higbee's Department Store's Edwin Higbee) and his wife Katharine Holden Higbee Thayer.

Before their marriage, Katharine lived at her family home, Katewood, on Lake Shore Blvd. in nearby Bratenahl. Katewood was built shortly after she was born in 1898 and named for her mother.

It's an 8,600 square foot "summer cottage" overlooking Lake Erie, and was built on Katharine's grandfather's former cow pasture.

And guess what? You can tour it in person. (Usually-- it looks like it may be closed currently.) It's available as a short term rental. People like to stay there and make videos about it. 

After their marriage in 1918, Katharine and Edwin lived in this 5 bedroom, 4,438 square feet home:

Then, wanting more room, in 1921 they moved to this 8 bedroom home: 

Shortly after Higbee Estate was built in 1929, Katharine divorced Edwin and married Basil Thayer in 1932. Edwin re-married the following year, and by the 1940's, it appears that neither of them were living in Higbee Estate. (And I flipped through a lot of old phone books.)

Katharine was living here:

Moreland Courts are luxury apartments that were built in the 1920's. Advertised as "where the wealth of the world resides," the apartments offered separate live-in servants quarters and elevators. 

Apparently, eventually Katharine also kept Higbee Estate as her summer country home, and listed  it as her address in 1956. Edwin passed away in 1977, and Katharine in 1985.

That concludes our promised peek into some Holden and Higbee homes. Big Higbee is not currently on the market, but it was featured here.

Popular Posts