At the turn of the century, many wealthy Clevelanders had homes in the city and beautiful estates in the country. Huntington Reservation, on the shores of Lake Erie, was the former country estate of John Huntington (1832-1893), a prominent Cleveland industrialist and philanthropist.
John Huntington was born in Preston, England. His father was a mathematics teacher in the English school system. He made sure John had a good education. In 1852, John immigrated to the United States and Cleveland, Ohio.
He went into the roofing business with his brother, Hugh, and was successful. He soon became a respected Cleveland businessman, and his company was contracted to roof an early oil refinery by John D. Rockefeller. Mr. Rockefeller offered the brothers payment in cash or stock, and John, daring to adventure a little, accepted part payment in stock. He acquired considerable wealth by this venture and eventually a partnership in the Standard Oil Company.