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May 5, Experience the Great Estates of Wickliffe and The People Who Lived In Them

Photo by Tim Evanson

The Gilded Age is known for the rich lifestyles, pomp and circumstance for the booming economy, innovation and a time between the Civil War and World War I when business and industry was filling the purses of leaders like Rockefeller and Ford, who in turn used their wealth to build renowned mansions.

Who would expect that Lake County is the home of a couple dozen Ohio Historic Sites? And, Wickliffe was home to many millionaire businessmen, including Harry C. Coulby, Fergus B. Squire and Frank Rockefeller.

Join The Cleveland Storyteller on Friday, May 5, at 6 p.m. at one of Wickliffe’s historic treasures, the (aka Coulby)-the 54-acre property that is Wickliffe City Hall and park. Dan Ruminski will transport you back to time with captivating stories and surprising details about the mansion, its owner, the guests, parties and past-times that marked the era.

Step into the white-glazed, terra cotta mansion, which was home to a Catholic girls’ school until 1954, when Wickliffe purchased the property. (Coulby was actually the city’s first mayor.) The building had been mostly untouched, retaining features like the bell chime system used to summon a butler or main, and carved wood panels that hide a wall safe. (It’s still there.) Peek inside Mrs. Coulby’s second-floor boudoir. Take in the ornately carved wood cabinets, Palladian windows, Tiffany skylight and Lake Erie views.

Coulby launched Interlake Steamship Company, merging Picklands Mather’s fleets with his own. He was known as the Czar of the Great Lakes, managing more than 100 ships. IN 1927, a 631-foot, 16,000-ton freighter was commissioned in his honor. It was named the Str. Harry Coulby.

Learn more about the people and the past in Wickliffe, an unassuming sweet spot of historic homes and sites. Ruminski’s stories make the mansion and its history come alive. The stories, told in a fireside chat manner, become palpable-you’ll feel as if you are gathering at a party during the early 1900s.

Wickliffe Great Estates: Save The Date on May 5

Make your reservation for Great Estates of Wickliffe and the People Who Lived In Them by calling 440-943-7100. Tickets are $25, including a boxed dinner by Vittorio’s Buon Appetito (roast turkey or roast beef, coffee and tea). The self-guided tour of Coulallenby Mansion begins at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and Ruminski’s presentation at 7 p.m. Make checks payable to Wickliffe Historical Society and mail to 28730 Ridge Road, Wickliffe, OH, 44092. (Note your food choice on the check.)

Up Next: Hear The Cleveland Storyteller at Mather Mansion

Hungry for more history? Listen to the Cleveland Storyteller reveal the Famous & Infamous Women of Millionaire’s Row on May 13, with a cocktail reception and hors d’oevures from 3 to 6 p.m. Contact Dan Ruminski at 216-326-7700 or Visit

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