Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Mathews House

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Institution Name: Lake Erie College
Original/Historic Place Name: Dr. John R. Mathews residence
Location on Campus: corner of W.Washington St. and Gillett St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1829original construction Goldsmith, Jonathan
Designer: Jonathan Goldsmith
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Greek revival (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Walls: wood
ca. 1829private residence
ca. 2004-present (2006)alumni center (also used as guest house, and for social gatherings such as teas and receptions)

Mathews House was designed by Jonathan Goldsmith and built in 1829 as the home of Dr. John R. Mathews, a local physician. It was built in the Classic or Greek Revival style, with beautiful woodwork both inside and out, Doric pilasters, Ionic columns, leaded glass sidelights, and carvings around doorframes.

In the 1870s a daughter-in-law of Dr. Mathews opened a preparatory school for young ladies in a room added to the back of the home. This school prepared the girls for admission to Lake Erie Female Seminary. The home was moved from its location in downtown Painesville to the Lake Erie college campus in the 1950s. At that time the schoolroom was razed because it was not part of the original Goldsmith design.

The house was listed with the U. S. Department of the Interior, which in March 1934 had photos and complete plans prepared by the National Park Building and Reservation Committee. In 1938 American Home magazine featured the house. It won two awards for outstanding architecture by the Cleveland chapter of the American Institute of Architects as a significant piece of local architecture, and it was the first of five pieces of architecture honored by the Legislature of the State of Ohio. The house is also listed in Frary's Early Homes of Ohio.

Mathews House now serves as the alumni and guest house for Lake Erie College. Alumni and other college visitors are offered overnight accommodations in the upstairs bedrooms, while the downstairs rooms are used for receptions, showers, and parties.


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Last update: November 2006