Henry W. Cleaveland

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Original Palace Hotel in San Francisco

Henry William Cleaveland (1827 – May 29, 1919)[1] was an American architect based in New York, New York, and then San Francisco, California, and Portland, Oregon. He was one of the founding members of the American Institute of Architects, and several of his works have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. His works include Ralston Hall, a National Historic Landmark in the San Francisco Bay Area, the original Palace Hotel in San Francisco, and the Bidwell Mansion in Chico, California.


Cleaveland was born in 1827 in Massachusetts. His father was an academic at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. In the 1840s, Cleaveland moved to New York City to study architecture. In the 1850s, he was a practicing architect in New York in partnership with brothers Wiliam and Samuel Backus.[2]

Cleaveland is said to have been a "disciple" of Andrew Jackson Downing, who published highly influential architectural patternbooks.[3] With his partners, the Backus brothers, Cleaveland co-authored a patternbook of his own, Village and Farm Cottages,[4] which was published in 1856 and, as of 1990, had last been reprinted in 1869.[5] It is now available on-line.[4] Cleaveland's book, and another by Gervase Wheeler, were credited with having "flashed the Stick look far and wide" and having "inspired local builders to erect Stick houses, or incorporate their details, on a truly national scale for the first time, from the established Northeast to the burgeoning cities of the West like San Francisco."[6]

In February 1857, Cleaveland was one of 13 architects who met to form an organization to "promote the scientific and practical perfection of its members" and "elevate the standing of the profession."[7] The organization became the American Institute of Architects.[7]

In 1859, Cleaveland moved to San Francisco, California. Along with S & J Newsom and Bernard Maybeck, he has been credited with playing an influential role in the transition of California's architectural style from Spanish-Mexican influence to "the state's unique Victorian style."[8] While in San Francisco, Cleaveland designed some of his most notable works, including Ralston Hall in Belmont, California, which has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. He also designed the original Palace Hotel, built in 1875 and destroyed in the fire that followed the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.[9] He also worked for a time as an architect in Portland, Oregon.[2][10]

After retiring, Cleaveland moved to Poughkeepsie, New York. He died at age 96 in May 1919 at the home of his nephew, Manning Cleaveland, in Poughkeepsie.[2][11]

Several of Cleaveland's works are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and at least one has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.[12]


Works include:


  1. ^ "Henry William Cleaveland (1827-1919)". American Institute of Architects. Archived from the original on 2013-02-23. 
  2. ^ a b c "Henry Cleaveland". Pacific Coast Architecture Database. 
  3. ^ a b Giovanna Jackson and Michele Shover (September 15, 1981). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: A. H. Chapman House" (PDF). National Park Service.  and accompanying photos
  4. ^ a b Henry W. Cleaveland, William Backus and Samuel D. Backus (1856). Villages and Farm Cottages: The Requirements of American Village Homes Considered and Suggested With Designs for Such Houses of Moderate Costs. D. Appleton and Company. 
  5. ^ a b David Gusset (March 12, 1990). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: A. V. Peters House" (PDF). National Park Service.  and accompanying photos
  6. ^ Gordon Bock (May–June 2003). "The Stick Style". Old House Journal. p. 90. 
  7. ^ a b "History of the American Institute of Architects". The American Institute of Architects. 
  8. ^ Kristie Haller. "Architecture in California". 
  9. ^ a b "Ralston Hall, HABS No. CAL-1674" (PDF). Historic American Buildings Survey, National Park Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-01-16. 
  10. ^ Arthur W. Hawn (May 1977). "Two Portland Houses by Henry Cleaveland". Journal of Interior Design. 
  11. ^ "Died". The New York Times. June 3, 1919. 
  12. ^ a b c National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  13. ^ "Bidwell Mansion, HABS No. CAL-1317" (PDF). Historic American Buildings Survey, National Park Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-22. 
  14. ^ "Bidwell Mansion". Bidwell Mansion Community Project. 
  15. ^ Steve Brown (October 15, 2006). "But This is Chico: Little Chapman Mansion shows centuries of architecture". Chico Enterprise-Record (Chico, CA). 
  16. ^ "It was gleam in architect's eye by 1856". Eugene Register-Guard. October 25, 1990.