This was the home of Adella
Prentiss Hughes, the founder of the Cleveland Orchestra. Active in Cleveland's
music community, she recounts her life in music, Cleveland society and the
building of this house in her autobiography "Music Is My Life" (World
Publishing Co., 1947). She resided here from the time the house was finished in
1912 until her death in 1940. She lived there with her husband, Felix Hughes, a
prominent baritone singer whom she divorced in 1924.
Mrs. Hughes states that she
visited many homes of her Cleveland friends accompanied by a notebook to record
ideas to be incorporated into the house she was planning in the Heights. The
architects of record for the house were Bohnard and Parsons who designed many
well-proportioned stucco homes throughout northeastern Ohio in either a
Mediterranean style, like this one, or in a modified Prairie School style. This
house, named "Villa Hughes" by its builder, reflects many features of
the Mediterranean style including the entrance courtyard and sun room and
terrace at the rear. The sculptural panel on the facade of the house is in the
style of Della Robbia, the well known Renaissance sculptor.
The side entranceway leads to a
very large sunken living room designed for parties and receptions. Spanning the
front of the house is the dining room with its attractive bay window. The
several levels and columns in this area must have provided the perfect setting
for dramatic entrances and visibility at Mrs. Hughes' gatherings for Cleveland
society. Leading international and national figures of the musical world were
also entertained at this home. During the early 1920s a frequent guest was
Felix Hughes' nephew, industrialist and film-maker Howard Hughes.
The present owner has restored
many features of the house. The landscaping is an effective treatment of the
several levels surrounding the house. Originally, the garden included formal
plantings and tennis courts.