Henry B. Spencer House, 23924 Lake Road, c. 1872

Henry B. Spencer House, 23924 Lake Road. Photo by Ginny Peterson and Sally Price

The 15th in a series of articles to be published as a walking tour of Lake Road by the Bay Village Historical Society in 2025.

Henry Spencer bought a 41.5-acre parcel in this location in 1869 or earlier. The tax records are missing for 1870 and 1871 and by 1872 the value of the property more than doubled indicating that the existing Victorian Italianate style house was constructed c. 1872.

W.H. Lawrence purchased the property and house after 1892, probably as a summer home for one of his seven daughters. Lawrence developed the Dover Bay Country Club east of Clague Road in 1890 and built the mansion now known as Cashelmara in 1899.

There is no evidence suggesting that W.H. Lawrence himself occupied the house. Lawrence died in 1900 but the property remained part of his estate until the late 1920s. It was surveyed into a smaller lakefront parcel in 1929 and purchased by a relative of the current owners in 1930.

Bay’s 1939 Directory lists Mary and Leo Dewitt occupying the house with their 12 children. When Mary died in 1973 the property was deeded to her husband and surviving children. Through time the lot was reduced to about one-third acre. It transferred to the current owners in 1998.

William Krause

William R. Krause, 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 9 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 42 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 15, Issue 16, Posted 9:13 AM, 09.06.2023