Some Gates Mills connections

Circa 1835 Holsey Gates home, converted first to the Maple Leaf Inn and then to the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club. Historic photograph courtesy of the descendants of Willis Leiter.

It has been one year since my wife and I moved from Westlake to Gates Mills to be closer to grandchildren. As a parting gift to Bay Village, I have been working on preparing a walking tour of Lake Road with Bay Historical Society member, Dean Brennan. She and fellow Historical Society member Tom Phillips have faithfully staffed the Osborn Learning Center (located in the Reuben Osborn house next to Rose Hill) on Sundays for a number of years. Dean had assisted me with a booklet on Bassett Road century homes and has been cajoling me for years to do something similar for Lake Road.

This past summer I identified and photographed over 100 century buildings and “artifacts” on or near Lake Road in Bay Village. “Artifacts” include the Huntington estate mounting block and water tower and the piers in Huntington Park that used to support one of the Interurban trestles.

The target date for publishing it is 2025, so homes likely constructed in 1925 or earlier may be included. The plan is to do a short (150 word) Observer article on each of the sites, publish them in the Observer with a photograph and then the Bay Village Historical Society can compile them together into the walking tour which would begin and end at Rose Hill. My plan is to start with the oldest building or artifact and work forward to 1925. Therefore, I set my sights on doing the first article about the Reuben Osborn house.

This brings me to the second connection between Bay Village and Gates Mills – Tom Phillips. Tom, a lifelong resident of Bay Village and 2019 Citizen of the Year, is a direct descendant of Holsey Gates, the founder of Gates Mills.

It is my understanding that Tom Phillips was instrumental in saving the Reuben Osborn house and having it moved to its current location next to the Cahoon house at Rose Hill in Cahoon Park. It is the oldest existing frame structure between the cities of Cleveland and Lorain. It was threatened with demolition because of its former prime lakefront site.

Thankfully the owner, a builder who was planning to build a new home on the site, the city administration at the time and the Bay Historical Society were willing to move it to save it. Except for the tiny possibly circa 1810 smoke house behind Rose Hill, it is the oldest known existing structure in Bay Village.

Over the past year I have become acquainted with Marcia Anselmo, the president of the Gates Mills Historical Society. Like Bay Historical Society's president Cathy Flament, she is a former teacher and a dedicated organizing dynamo, getting Gates Mills records and artifacts preserved properly. She helped me personally scour the primary source records of the Gates Mills Historical Society and along with records I found on, I can confirm unequivocally, that Holsey Gates was Tom Phillips' great-great-great-grandfather.

Holsey’s 1834 home later became an inn and then the home of the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club. It seems that Tom inherited the same civic mindedness of his ancestor who built the first church and the first school in Gates Mills.

William Krause

William R. Krause, AICP, retired as the Assistant Planning Director of the City of Westlake in 2020 after over 30 years with the city. He also served on the Bay Village Planning Commission for 5 years. He was a trustee for the Bay Village Historical Society from 2020 to 2021 and a former board member of the Westlake Historical Society. He was chair of their Lilly Weston Committee and was a member of the Reuben Osborn Learning Center Steering Committee. He is currently a Trustee of the Western Reserve Architectural Historians and the Gates Mills Historical Society. He has been married to Debra for 41 years and is the father of three grown children, grandfather of six and co-owner of a Yellow Lab named Sadie.

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Volume 14, Issue 24, Posted 11:22 AM, 12.20.2022