by guest blogger Carol Shamakian

Steele Mansion – back from the Ashes

Steele Mansion in Painesville, OH

Steele Mansion in Painesville, OH

Steele Mansion was built in 1867 for George Steele, a wealthy and powerful man of the era. An 1867 newspaper article declared that it was the grandest home in Painesville! The French second empire home had 8 Italian marble fireplaces, front windows imported from France and ornate walnut wood doors and trim. The entire third floor was a ballroom. The Steele family lived in the front portion of the building. A two story rear wing housed the servants.

The Steele family lived in the home until early in the 1900’s, when it was sold to Lake Erie College, to serve as the President’s Home. It also housed several college offices and housed college students. Important guests visiting LEC would stay in Steele Mansion. In 1936, Amelia Earhart slept there after lecturing to the Aviator’s Club.

In the 1980’s, the Mansion passed into private ownership, and was converted into an apartment building. While the home was still magnificent, it was showing its age.

A leaking roof covered by a large icicle led to the disastrous fire in 2001. Attempts to melt the icicle sparked a flame which burned off the mansard roof and ballroom. The building was not repaired. It stood open to the elements for nearly ten years!

We (the Shamakians) purchased the property in Dec., 2010, knowing that a demolition decree had been issued for March, 2011. Very little of the structure, except for the brick walls, still stood. That first year of ownership was a desperate race to save the structure. The front part of the Mansion was successfully rescued. Unfortunately, the servant’s wing collapsed. It has been rebuilt.

Steele Mansion will begin its new life as a Historic Inn in Painesville, OH. It is now on the National Historic Registry, insuring that it will never again be in peril of destruction!

Join us on our journey as we rebuild one of Painesville’s most remarkable historic structures!

About Carol Shamakian

Carol is the owner and historian for the Steele Mansion in Painesville, OH. The Steele Mansion is on the National Register for Historic Places and is currently being renovated to its original glory as being the most "exquisite residence in Painesville."

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4 thoughts on “Steele Mansion – back from the Ashes

  1. Rod Winkler

    So delighted…my Dad and Mom were faculty at LEC late ’50’s on…and we stayed in the mansion briefly upon arrival. Recall the room to the right, upon entering front door, was a beautiful library . To the far left upon entrance was a lovely open-windowed room with plants…black and white tiled floor. Son Paul David Weaver occupied the bedroom basically extending out over the driveway…windows three sides. And I recall touring the deserted ballroom . Can recall bounding up the grand staircase chasing daughter Susan Weaver. So very delighted this special place has been rescued.

  2. Elizabeth Wantz

    Thanks, Rod! I have sent your comment to the owners who I’m sure will be glad to hear it. Best wishes,

  3. Liz McMahon Wozniak

    I am so glad to read all about the loving restoration of the gorgeous “Mentor House” as it was known by Lake Erie students in the 1970s! Sincere thanks to the new owners for taking on such a challenge. I recall the amazing woodwork and doors, fireplaces, dignified and lovely spaces downstairs (where the Alumnae offices were housed with Maxine Y. Haberman in charge), while the second floor housed Garfield Senior College students (men). Please keep posting stories – and pictures!

  4. Elizabeth Wantz

    You are so welcome! I’m so glad you are enjoying. Have you gone over to check out the progress yourself yet?

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